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11-22-14: A 2014 Interview with William Gibson

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interview Plus reading excerpt.

"...recalibrate my yardstick of weirdness..."
—William Gibson

While I was walking with William Gibson through the atrium at KQED to talk about his latest novel, 'The Peripheral,' he was telling me about the reviews the book had garnered and his tweets about those reviews. On one hand, the reviews were good, but the reviewers had decided to give away massive plot points. Gibson's work is to my mind, like revenge — best served cold.

As is my habit, I avoided reading the DJ going in, and I was glad I had done so, as it fearlessly spoils one of the great aspects of the reading experience of 'The Peripheral.' It's dense, at first, in that "the future is a different country" way that marks the best science fiction.

This novel partakes equally of past, present and future, and when you reach the point where you understand the relationships that at first seemed opaque, the satisfying wow factor is astronomically high. And there would be none of that if I had read the DJ. What a disservice to the readers and the writer.

So, going in to the interview, I had already vowed to try to talk about the book in a manner that would enhance readers' experiences of the book, not spoil them. Gibson is in top form these days, both in his writing and in person. He's recalibrated those weird-generating engines to perfection.

Afterwards it occurred to me that the conversation we'd had earlier, about the tweets, would have been unimaginable when I first met him. He was signing a limited edition of 'Neuromancer' at Change of Hobbit on Santa Monica Boulevard in, I think, 1989? That's a to-die for book, really nicely done in the best manner of the 1980's small press. Phantasia did great work on that one, with a wonderful cover illustration.

After our long interview, I pitched Gibson the lightning round, otherwise known as Time to Read, and we had a lot of fun in that little chat. I'm publishing all of them at the time for a change. See below ....

Walking out, I asked him about movies. The only one he mentioned as being seriously in the works was an adaptation of 'Pattern Recognition,' by a well-received director. Alas, the name of said director eludes me, as does his most recent acclaimed movie.

I've divided the interview into three versions. When I asked him to read, Gibson agreed to read the entire first chapter. It's about 10 minutes long and you can find a standalone version of that reading here.

I have a rather long (over an hour) version of the reading plus the interview, which you can find by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

And finally, I have a version of the interview with a one minute excerpt from the reading, followed by 50-something minutes of Mr. Gibson, which you can find by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

Happy listening, and be thankful for great, generous writers like William Gibson!




11-22-14 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 184: William Gibson, 'The Peripheral'

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Here's the one-hundred eighty-fourth episode of my series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read.

I've been worjking for more of a live format lately, and to this end in this Time to Read "lightning round," I've included some of the banter beforehand, to give a feel for the atmosphere when we run these little mini-interviews. The boom line: THey're a fun way to finish off the gig.

The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.

My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.

The one-hundred eighty-fourth episode is a look at William Gibson and 'The Peripheral.'

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Time to Read, Episode 184: William Gibson, 'The Peripheral'.




11-19-14: A 2014 Interview with David Greene

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"It was very easy to literally just tell their stories..."

—David Greene

David Greene is as genial over the ISDN line as he sounds on NPR. He was on an assembly line schedule to discuss his book 'Midnight in Siberia.' I imagine a book tour condensed into a series of ten-minute conversations and my admiration for the man who sat through the permutations of questions with such a generous tone knows no bounds.

My sensibilities are a bit odd, so perhaps he hadn't heard my questions quite so many times, but the sheer quality of the writing in 'Midnight in Siberia' makes it clear why he can sound so great day after day on NPR.

I'll let readers hear him speak for himself, and you will know that voice, if you follow this link to the MP3 audio file.




11-17-14: A 2014 Interview with Azar Nafisi

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"I wanted to show how close reality and fiction are..."
—Azar Nafisi

You won't be able to tell from this interview, but Azar Nafisi was losing her voice when she arrived to speak with me about her new book, 'The Republic of Imagination.' I met her at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz, where she was going to be speaking later in the evening for Bookshop Santa Cruz. Her wonderfully protective driver brought her some hot tea, and we sat down in a tiny room behind the pulpit and spoke as the sun set behind us.

Effusive is hardly the right term to describe our conversation, and as we spoke (or mostly her), the term rabble-rousing kept coming back to me. That was how I felt when I first read her book, and she brought that sort of spirit to our conversation. She was intense and passionate, but also precise.

That precision went a long way to helping her elucidate her takes on education, democracy and freedom to read as iut relates to freedom of thought. We discussed 'Babbitt' as a rather science-fictional novel, in that Lewis apprehends well the Things to Come that are not for the benefits of most of us. She also spoke to the power of reading to create memories not unlike those created by actual experience.

Nafisi expertly unpacked the themes of her book without spoiling the reading experience of the book. She's funny and low-key with regards to her own abilities, keeping her eye on the bigger picture. You can hear Azar Nafisi earn your vote for her as a leader of the Republic of Imagination by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



New to the Agony Column

11-22-14: Commentary : William Gibson Connects 'The Peripheral' : Time Life Books

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with William Gibson : "...recalibrate my yardstick of weirdness..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 184: William Gibson : The Peripheral

11-19-14: Commentary : David Greene Catches 'Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia' : The Character(s) of a Country

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with David Greene : "It was very easy to literally just tell their stories..."

11-17-14: Commentary : Azar Nafisi Resides In 'The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books' : Choose Your World

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Azar Nafisi : "I wanted to show how close reality and fiction are..."

11-15-14: Commentary : Cary Elwes Delivers 'As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride' : Re-Reading and Re-Viewing

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Cary Elwes : "...an unwise decision on my part..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 183: Azar Nafisi : The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books

11-10-14: Commentary : Dana Cowin 'Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen' : Learning to Cook — and Live

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Dana Cowin : "...so I add a little more citrus..."

11-09-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 182: Dana Cowin : Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes

11-06-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Paolo Bacigalupi and A. S. King : "You're handing us all the problems..." Paolo Bacigalupi "That gray area is so important for readers..." A. S. King

11-05-14: Commentary : A. S. King Foresees 'Glory O'Brien's History of the Future' : Halls of Mirrorsr

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with A. S. King : "How much do we really change?"

11-04-14: Commentary : Paolo Bacigalupi Believes In 'The Doubt Factory' : Thrills Matter

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Paolo Bacigalupi : "...these are perfectly nice people..."

10-30-14: Commentary : Brian J. Showers Opens 'The Green Book, Issue 4' : 200 Years of Le Fanu

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 181: Paolo Bacigalupi : The Doubt Factory

10-27-14: Commentary : Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers Recall 'Dreams of Shadow and Smoke: Stories for J. S. Le Fanu' : New Stories for an Antiquary

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Brian J. Showers : "I have a lot reference materials on my desk..."

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