Reading: William Gibson — The Peripheral

Last of the great, white men of sci-fi. Since I began reading skiffy again, courtesy a combination of China Miéville and Iain M. Banks, there has be an inexorable depletion of this genre of writers who I read. Neal Stephenson was I think the first to go, partially from the tedium of Anathem, and confirmed with Reamde which to me indicated the fatal Zero Dark Thirty-isation of mainstream science-fiction.

Contra that was the undeniable rise of phenomenally good writing from women, non-US, non-white authors who in the last ten years have remade sci-fi and fantasy. I want to read sci-fi and fantasy that looks not merely as the world in fact does, but imagines futures or worlds that are in some way worth aspiring to. This is what Iain Banks’ Culture rests on. This is what Anne Leckie’s Ancillary Justice does also, despite being a totalitarian empire. It’s how identity exists, how lives may be lived that I want to see in these genres, and quite simply, straight, white, male authors are in the majority in showing a fundamental lack of imagination in this, or simply not caring that the world does not and has never resembled their particular (and unfortunately dominant) genre.

The last I read of Gibson was Zero History, which put him on my list with Stephenson of “formerly enjoyed; moved on” authors. So why did I buy this? Ah, you know, Gibson. Neuromancer, Cayse … it’s like an old friend you can’t let go of, but feel embarrassed to be out drinking with. I’m going to try and enjoy it though.