I was losing a sense of how weird the real world was

From The Guardian:

In 2016, William Gibson was a third of the way through his new novel when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. “I woke up the day after that and I looked at the manuscript and the world in which the novel was set – a contemporary novel set in San Francisco – and I realised that that world no longer existed. That the characters’ emotional basis made no sense; that no one’s behaviour made any sense. Something of this tremendous enormity had just happened and I felt really lost – and sort of mournful. I was losing this book.”

The great chronicler of the future had been overtaken by events. This had happened once before. Gibson had been 100 pages into Pattern Recognition – the first of his novels set in a near contemporary version of reality – when the Twin Towers fell, forcing him to rewrite that novel’s world and the backstories of its characters. His future had to catch up with the present.

. . . .

Probably the most influential living writer of speculative fiction, his best known aphorism is “the future’s already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed”. Two or three generations of readers have now seen the futures he envisaged in his three trilogies of novels coming dismayingly into being around them. Virtual digital spaces, artificial intelligence, corporations superseding nation states, extreme body modification, and the insane metastasis of the marketing and branding industries … Gibson was on to all these things when Black Mirror’s Charlie Brooker was still in short trousers. And his influence endures. Just last week, Dominic Cummings – a fan – referenced Gibson’s character Hubertus Bigend in a Downing Street job advert.

This latest twist in reality – Trump’s election – meant Gibson had to go to back to the drawing board with the new book, just as he had with Pattern Recognition

Link to the rest at The Guardian