I abruptly stopped reading.
That… fuck, that was… unexpected.
Well, to give you some context, I was re-reading ‘Count Zero’, for the second time in my life. William Gibson is a sci-fi writer of great renown, and although I’ve re-read many of my favorite books in my day, there are times that I consider something simply too well crafted to be sullied by familiarization, such as in the case of the ‘Sprawl Trilogy’.
The first in the trilogy: ‘Neuromancer’, is truly masterful work, which I finished over the weekend. It was ahead of it’s time, certainly, and explored many facets of technology and mankind’s affinity with technology that wouldn’t be widely recognized for decades. It weaves together a complex narrative through a single character’s viewpoint, and it lays the foundation for the two subsequent books in the trilogy.
‘The Sprawl’, mind you, is a place.
I read the series when I was 19 years old.
Looking back… I was so young. But also so… unskilled. It didn’t take much to impress me. I knew after I’d read the Sprawl Trilogy, though, that I would need to revisit the series at least a decade later, if not more. For one thing, I knew it was a great work of fiction, and by my reckoning, something akin to Arthur C. Clark’s “A Space Odyssey”, which was also ahead of it’s time.
One thing about sci-fi: it’s intrinsically different than other genres.
Because it’s conjecture.
It’s one writer, sitting alone, and imagining what the future will hold. He/She is attempting to divine how our world will change, and in what ways it will impact our society, and then striving to scrunch together a storyline that unfolds somewhere within all those layers of guesswork.
Not an easy task.
When last I saw my young niece, I witnessed her attempt to crawl inside a book. As she sat in the lap of a family member, with the book in front of her, she leaned as far forward as she could, and tried to pull herself into it.
I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
The fish, on the page, were that real to her.
Experience, of any type, jades us. Numbs us. We become progressively more desensitized through the many years of our lives.
At times, though, certain stimulus can circumvent our thick hides, and wind it’s way past our many barriers.
That’s exactly what happened as I read page 3 of ‘Count Zero’.
Something fought it’s way through me.
I’d planned to read in my bed until my eyes grew tried with sleep.
Instead, I stared up at the ceiling, and wondered a great many things.
If you’d like you can read page 2 here…
…and page 3 here.