RARA-AVIS: William Gibson and noir

From: Vince Keenan ( vpkeenan@yahoo.com)
Date: 22 Aug 2007

The AV Club has an interview with author William Gibson (NEUROMANCER, PATTERN RECOGNITION) that touches on his use of classic noir images and themes in a science fiction context. The money quote, as they say:

AVC: You've continued to set your books in kind of a noirish world. When you walk through real life, do you see the world that way? In terms of dark shadows, shadowy figures and things like that?

WG: I think there's quite a bit of that around. I don't much live my life as if I was living in a Raymond Chandler novel, which is probably a good thing. [Laughs.] But there are moments when-depending on what neighborhood I'm in, or what city I'm in, or what channel on television I'm watching-my eyes get really wide and I go, "Chandler wasn't even close. This shit is truly dire." We live in pretty extreme times. Some pretty dark stuff.

I don't know what constitutes "noir" in 2007. I mean, would The Wire be noir? I don't think so. Actually, noir-I was taught in college-is a kind of baroque pop version of literary naturalism. Anyway, that's the way some critics have looked at it. I think that a show like The Wire is the closest we come these days to naturalism. It's a genuine, authentic attempt at naturalism. I've never really attempted naturalism before, but I value it a lot, so all of its more baroque forms have been very valuable to me. One of them, I think, is noir.

I haven't thought about stuff like that since I was an undergraduate. [Laughs.] I'm amazed I can still do it.

The interview can be found here:


Vince Keenan

http://www.VinceKeenan.com Pop culture, past and present, high and low. One day at a time.

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