Roughly Speaking podcast: Halloween special: Best of horror movie music (episode 168)

Chicago Humanities Festival

William Gibson's work anything but 'Peripheral'

William Gibson's work anything but 'Peripheral'

The golden age of science fiction was the 1950s, which was also the golden age of the American middle class. Writers then could brace themselves against the monolithic certainties of their society, shoot off into other worlds, be back to the suburbs in time for dinner. But then came the moon landing, the computer, and a little while later the smartphone — and now, in this frictionless wondrous age of ours, what is there to brace our dreams against?

The great artist of this tension is William Gibson. Since he began writing science fiction in the 1970s, he has perceived all the ways in which science was bound to catch up to fiction, probably in his lifetime, and worked inside...