William Gibson w Ken Goldberg, at JCCSF

Back in 2012 William Gibson sat down to chat with Ken Goldberg, craigslist Distinguished Professor of New Media, UC Berkeley.

I recently watched and Tweeted these quotes;


Also, love how he explains why his last three (at his time) novels “are science-fiction”?

They are set in “speculative novels of very recent past…they are…made out of the stuff of science fiction…picture’s of our world made out of the stuff of science fiction“…

Back in August, Business Insider published a fairly extensive interview with him.


re: L.A. as the “capital of science fiction.”

Also – “Some of the early LGBT leaders were also active in early sci-fi reading circles, and they used the genre to explore possible futures where they would find acceptance for their sexuality… I’m always interested in how science fiction or speculative fictions refers back to the moment in which it’s created. We tend to think of it as pie-in-the-sky fantasy, but there’s a strong strain of social commentary. A lot of dystopian or apocalyptic writing about Southern California – much of which blurs the line between pop culture and literary culture – seems to grow out of science fictional tropes.


L.A.’s Bonaventure Hotel, photographed by Wayne Thom in 1978. Courtesy of the USC Libraries – Wayne Thom Photography Collection.

Via kcet.org, featuring thoughts from Christopher Hawthorne, William Deverell and David Ulin instigated/edited by Nathan Masters.

Restoration sedimentology and synthetic Bayou Urbanism

As illustrated here by a hypothetical diversion of the Mississippi River, growth rate of land in the domain is determined by the balance of sources and sinks, including contributions from organic and inorganic processes and the interactions between them.

Over at Nature Geoscience Douglas A Edmonds, reviewed the topic of Restoration sedimentology.

Specifically, how “River regulation and sea-level rise have damaged deltaic ecosystems as well as the sedimentological processes that support them“. He then argues “rapid advances in the developing field of restoration sedimentology are crucial to protecting the world’s river deltas“.

On a related, note Brian Davis speculated on the possibilities of ‘Land Making Machines‘ in the recent publication Making the Geologic Now, available digitally here. He proposes a future synthetic Bayou Urbanism, characterized by a New Orleans in which “new urban landforms-constructed from timber pilings harvested from the provisional urban forest and sediments deposited in the Bonnet Carre Spillways would provide high ground where social, economic, and educational resources could be clustered. The cellular nature of the constructions would allow them to spread and agglomerate over time as more forest matures and the Land Making Machine deposits more sediment“.

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