THE BIG PICTURE: at once more unforgivingly brief and unprecedentedly elastic

“This perpetual toggling between nothing being new beneath the sun and everything having very recently changed absolutely is perhaps the central driving tension of my work. Our now has become at once more unforgivingly brief and unprecedentedly elastic; the half-life of media product grows shorter still till it threatens to vanish altogether. Everything into some weird quantum logic of its own. The Warholian 15 minutes become a quark-like blink. Yet once admitted to the culture’s consensus pantheon certain things seem destined to be with us for a very long time indeed. This is a function in large part of the rewind button, and we would all of us, to some extent, wish to be in heavy rotation.”

“If it has been our business as a species to damn the flow of time through the creation and maintenance of mechanisms of external memory, what will we become when all these mechanisms—as they now seem intent ultimately to do—merge? The end point of human culture may well be its single moment of effectively endless duration. An infinite digital now.”

“Naturalism is like a 19th century avant-garde form, and it appalled me that at the end of the 20th century a lot of science fiction didn’t even have any.”

“I’m not actually myself much of a believer in the big picture. I’m not much of a believer in the heroic modeling; not the heroic model of science and not the heroic model of literature. And I actually have more—I identify more easily with a set of obsessive hobbyists than I do with scientists. The obsessive hobbyists for me are not a stretch [laughter]. The scientists—the master hackers—the genius prostitutes of the 21st century—I have to make that shit up [more laughter].”

William Gibson at The Booksmith, reading from his new collection
Don’t Trust That Particular Flavor on Thurs Jan 19 12.

The above quotations are from Gibson’s readings as well as the subsequent Q&A, both of which you can watch here or listen to here.