A tall cool drink of water...
[Posted to Random Bytes on February 2, 2003 07:12 PM| Links to this post ]

I met William Gibson in early '95 when he was pushing Mnemonic. I was the principle behind the Canadian version of the film's promotional website, so there were a few perks that went along with the job.

He was an interesting cat - "singularly peculiar" to use a phrase of his. Intense, insightful, funny - and unusually Canadian, for an American. I marveled at the time that it was amazing that the same man that coined the term cyberspace, fathered the cyberpunk movement and gave us the beginnings of a lingua franca to help us describe our brave new world didn't even have an email address. "Only my agent needs to talk to me that urgently. I have a phone - and a fax machine - and he has the phone numbers. I really don't want an email address" I recall him saying.

Shortly before this, he noted in an interview that people had long since stopped being disappointed by him but that "...the expectation at one time was that I would be this leather clothed guy with a mohawk and pins through my cheeks, who used some sort of computer that looked like a stealth bomber with the serial number numbers filed off."

It was at least a year between the time that he said this and the time that I met him and I can't say that was even remotely close to my expectations.

In fact, I was only expecting to meet an author, a science-fiction author to be precise. You know exactly the type of chap that I'm describing.

Instead, he rather blew my mind. Tall, thin, dressed completely in black and hiding behind John Lennon shades, he was an imposing figure. And the originator of much of the myth that I held sacred at the time. Someone who looked as if he had just stepped out of the Stephen King's "potential bad guys for books I haven't written yet" file. Not necessarily mean or threatening, just - dark, interesting, lilting. First impressions can indeed be a funny thing.

He was at least imposing enough that asking him to autograph my copy of the Mnemonic script took more nerve than Johnny had bundled into his entire spinal column. I think it was the fact that he claimed not to have an email address that allow me to summon up the courage. After all, if he wasn't online, he could only be a demigod at best. Now, only a few short years later he has a blog.

I wonder if he files his entries by fax machine.

Just a reminder, his latest, "Pattern Recognition" hits the shelves tomorrow. Pick up a copy.

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