I went out to supper tonight on my own, with a couple of books to remove my attention from this unwelcome fact: the penguin Nietzsche Reader, and Idoru.
Some years ago I interviewed William Gibson, and liked him hugely:
he told me then that you could not write a truly contemporary novel that was not science fiction, because the present and the past are both interdigitated with the future now. There is no standard baseline for the present, the way there was in Fiftie America, when the future also seemed self-evidently distinct. I tried this line out, years later, on Brian Aldiss, who was not impressed. But then Aldiss has a low opinion of Gibson. I can see why such a protean writer as BA would think little of so immediately distinctive a stylist as Gibson, who is as recognisable and as easy to parody as Graham Greene. I can see why; but I think Gibson has grown into his style in recent books.
But the point of this ramble is to sya thet Gibson time is now found everywhere. it;ps not just on the West Coast, or in the Sprawl, or Bangkok and Tokyo. Even in Saffron Walden, where I sat reading something written in 1886, and idly watching the mobile on my table, what really drove it home were the wall decorations: jazz 78s bolted to the wall, one of them by “Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaian Serenaders”.