William Gibson on how to (not) predict the future

Basically anything even Gibson-adjacent gives my 17 year old self hard nipples, so here he is talking to local boy Tom Power while still pounding home the message that science fiction isn’t about the future, it’s about the present.

“I decided that science fiction is never about the future because it can’t be, because that’s impossible. It’s only really about the moment in which it’s written. And if it stays in print long enough, that’s totally apparent to everybody,” says Gibson, who studied English Literature at UBC and released his groundbreaking debut novel Neuromancer in 1984, in a q interview with Tom Power.

“Like when we read Jules Verne today, it’s about what the 19th century thought about itself. It’s not about what actually happened. So I had completely forsworn the prescient prophet junk before I began to write,” says Gibson with a laugh. “But, you know, it’s still there culturally, that expectation.”

Gibson says it doesn’t surprise him when people say he’s prescient. What does surprise him is when they don’t understand that he’s really looking at the here and now.

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