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On the Most Basic Level

12 February 2019

On the most basic level, computers in my books are simply a metaphor for human memory: I’m interested in the hows and whys of memory, the ways it defines who and what we are, in how easily memory is subject to revision. When I was writing Neuromancer, it was wonderful to be able to tie a lot of these interests into the computer metaphor. It wasn’t until I could finally afford a computer of my own that I found out there’s a drive mechanism inside — this little thing that spins around. I’d been expecting an exotic crystalline thing, a cyberspace deck or something, and what I got was a little piece of a Victorian engine that made noises like a scratchy old record player. That noise took away some of the mystique for me; it made computers less sexy. My ignorance had allowed me to romanticize them.

~ William Gibson

Books in General, Quotes

6 Comments to “On the Most Basic Level”

  1. SSD FTW!

  2. Never could read Gibson because his take on computing was so gaga.

    • Too bad. You missed a lot. ‘Fragments of a Hologram Rose’ is a gem.

      • He’s a skilled writer, but for me, his stories ring like cracked bell. I know many technologists who like his work. I’ve read a number of his books, even worked on an anti-virus project named after something he imagined (ICE, I recall), but he always throws in stuff that ruins it for me. Haven’t read Fragments of a Hologram Bell, but the summary thuds on me. To each his own taste.

  3. Did anybody else around here have a Commodore 64 with a 1541 disk drive? It was an amazing piece of technology. It made so much noise you really knew it was working hard. And each disk sounded different.

    A high-end game would take 3 minutes to load, with the disk drive singing to me the entire time.

    • A buddy bought one when the C64s first came out, died in less than a week, the replacement was DOA. Since I knew a little about computers I went with him back to the store (KMart or Target as I recall.) The no-nothing store clerk made the mistake of agreeing to let us test the next replacement on their store’s demo booth. We went threw a dozen of them, DOA, no sound, keyboard issues … (We were on dud number five or six when we realized we were drawing a crowd – I have to wonder how many sales they didn’t get with others watching us trying to find a good one? 😉 )

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