Thursday, April 10, 2008

William Gibson: Dystopia an Optimistic Scenario

Somehow, this piece of dated matter crossed my desk, so I gave it a quick scan. Nothing earthshattering, overall, but one thing jumped out at me:

"We've forgotten that a whole lot of smart people used to wake up every day thinking that that day could well be the day the world ended. So when I started writing what people saw as this grisly dystopian, punky science fiction, I actually felt that I was being wildly optimistic: "Hey, look — you do have a future. It's kind of harsh, but here it is." I wasn't going the post-apocalyptic route, which, as a regular civilian walking around the world, was pretty much what I expected to happen myself." (William Gibson: The Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary Interview)

Same here. Those of you born after 1980 might not be aware of what a euphoric sense of relief many of us felt after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Many young people I've spoken with have never heard of the Soviet Union or the Cold War!) Back then, I thought that The Road Warrior was a far more likely outcome than Blade Runner.


downtown guy said...

It's true, though I hadn't thought about it quite those words. When I was a little kid, doing bomb drills in grade school, we used to talk about whether the human race would make it long enough for us to turn 21. Now I'm 31, and we're still clipping along. I used to think apocalyptic fiction reflected our future - now I suspect it's more the dystopias that pre-echo our path.

John M. said...

Hi d.g.,

I think you're probably right.

Now, I guess it's a matter of how much 'dys' there's going to be in the 'topia'!

downtown guy said...

My guess is more 'dys' than 'u', honestly.