Virus 23 : William Gibson and Tom Maddox – Interview

Darren Wershler-Henry and Bruce Fletcher met Gibson and Maddox in Edmonton, where they were guest writers at ConText 89. The starting place was the Summer 1989 issue of the Whole Earth Review, “Is the Body Obsolete?” and the participants went on to discuss a wide range of oddities–gomi–that Gibson is so fond of.

Asking Bill if this thesis about women’s bodies is true to his work is asking him to be the interpreter of his own text, in which case he’s just another interpreter. Now if you what he meant by something, well, that’s legit, but he can’t validate or invalidate a particular interpretation, and in fact, to ask him to validate or invalidate a particular interpretation is like asking him to betray the possibilities of his own work. Umberto Eco wrote a book called A Postscript to The Name of the Rose, in which he said that in writing his postscript he was betraying the novel. He said, if I wanted to write an interpretation, I wouldn’t have written a novel , which is a machine for generating interpretation….TM: Nobody who ever writes a book thinks about this shit…But in science fiction itself, which is enormously conservative in these matters, his stuff generates a lot of resentment because they don’t want to know, and they don’t want to experience what the late twentieth century is like, they want to experience what some fifties version of the future is like. Most of the stuff he thinks about, in terms of structure and all that, the visual artist immediately gets, bang bang bang. Whereas people who do straightforward literary criticism wheel out these creaky old novelistic categories that don’t apply worth a fuck.

Original source: Virus 23 #0 [Fall 1989, 28-36] via Ian Kaplan here


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