Friday, September 10, 2010

William Gibson Book-Signing at U Village B&N

Before I arrived, I think I expected to see what I had seen at the last booksigning I attended. It was at the University Bookstore, where Jacqueline Carey was doing a signing for Naamah's Kiss. There was a small crowd of about 50 or so people.

For some reason, I forgot that William Gibson is just a wee bit more popular and well-known than Jacquline Carey. Just a bit. So it was a little surprising to see a more than a hundred people lined up outside the Barnes and Noble auditorium. Even though I didn't line up in time to get seated, I still had a good enough view in the back to see Mr. Gibson (his whole head!). The B&N soundsystem was good too, bless their little souls.

W.G. read more slowly than I read his books in my head, so the rhythm of the text was different than I was expecting. Then again, it would take a very bad reader to ruin the first chapter of a Gibson novel. I appreciated the most what he said before he started reading. It was that he only really got to read the first chapters of his novels when he first read them while on tour, to an audience. So during the first few stops on the book tour (like this one), he and the audience were both experiencing the book for the first time.

I liked the Q&A better. Even though I couldn't hear most of the questions, it was still lovely to hear him answer them. The quotes that I caught via Twitter are below.

"I'm not really writing about the future...I'm just trying to create mini fugue states that help us make sense of our alien present."

"I'm more interested in travelling to the same place repeatedly...I'm reluctant to add another city to the capitals of my imagination"

He is one of the most quotable people I have ever met in person. When I got "Zero History" signed (see left), I mentioned that I appreciated his tweetability. He said that he thought it was the technology training him to speak in soundbites. Perhaps, but it's also that he's quite clever and has a lovely way with words. He also has a nice measured cadence to his voice, so I have time to catch up with his thoughts while I'm twiddling away on my cell phone, talking to the Internet.

Though I know he's been writing for more than 30 years and I've seen his recent book jacket pictures, W.G. was unexpectedly old...especially his voice. It was clear, it was strong, and he's obviously as sharp as ever. It just had that timbre to it, of wearing thin. This must be the arrogance of youth, but it's strange, realizing that someone so bleedingly current is an old man.

No comments:

Post a Comment