Distrust That Particular Flavor

Distrust That Particular Flavor

by William Gibson


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A collection of New York Times bestselling author William Gibson’s articles and essays about contemporary culture—a privileged view into the mind of a writer whose thinking has shaped not only a generation of writers but our entire culture...

Though best known for his fiction, William Gibson is as much in demand for his cutting-edge observations on the world we live in now. Originally printed in publications as varied as Wired, the New York Times, and the Observer, these articles and essays cover thirty years of thoughtful, observant life, and are reported in the wry, humane voice that lovers of Gibson have come to crave.

“Gibson pulls off a dazzling trick. Instead of predicting the future, he finds the future all around him, mashed up with the past, and reveals our own domain to us.”—The New York Times Book Review  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425252994
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 597,514
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Gibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of Count ZeroBurning ChromeMona Lisa OverdriveVirtual LightIdoruAll Tomorrow’s PartiesPattern RecognitionSpook CountryZero HistoryDistrust That Particular Flavor, and The Peripheral. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Date of Birth:

March 17, 1948

Place of Birth:

Conway, South Carolina


B.A., University of British Columbia, 1977

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A provocative, surprising look at the lesser-known parts of a sci-fi superstar's writing career." —-Kirkus

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Distrust That Particular Flavor 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
GordonF More than 1 year ago
I remember reading a lot of these articles in the original context of their time frame. Now, years later, the paint a picture of a society that was so excited about the future of social technology that it ran headlong into a kind of guarded curiosity. Gibson's collected articles and insights here point us at a weirdly optimistic past that was simultaneously mildly frightening. On the other hand, it is only one science fiction authors view of the idea of the future, not any actual predictions. Which is some relief. Whether you're looking back at your own recent history - as I am - or grew up towards adulthood (you'd only be 22 if you were born the same year as the oldest article in here) and are using this as a little window in a slightly manic 1990s, it's a great collection of information and thoughts on the then presents view of right now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though it's non-fiction, not his normal modality, you will still find the dense prose, wry humor, and tech smarts we've come to know and love and expect from William Gibson.
DRFP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A grab-bag of William Gibson's non-fiction that demonstrates why he's probably not better known for this sort of work.The pieces themselves are, overall, quite well written but there are times, as Gibson admits, when he is plainly uncomfortable with the format. On occasions there are paragraphs where one wonders quite what exactly Gibson is talking about as he indulges himself and drops in some technobabble that only serves to sound vaguely futuristic (an expectation I believe he feels a need to live up to) and to obscure whatever point he's trying to make.Probably the biggest issue with this book is the fact that many pieces divorced from their original context and lacking any sort of copy are bereft of an anchor in the reader's mind. On some pieces this is fine: for "Disneyland With The Death Penalty" we all have some idea of Singapore in our heads; but when faced with an introduction to the photographs of Greg Girard or the work of Stelarc I, personally, am lost and such pieces are rather devoid of meaning as a result.There are certainly positives - Gibson can be insightful and it's fun to see where his predictions have turned out right or wrong. That's not enough though to recommend anyone read this book except for the Gibson enthusiasts.
mmtz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a hundred or so books, mostly novels, stacked around my house, waiting to be read, but as soon as Gibson's new collection of nonfiction arrived, I cracked it open and couldn't put it down. His travelogues and insight into our Borgification are fascinating. An amazing writer.
arjacobson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson (New York: G.P. Putnam¿s Sons, 2012. 259pp)Born in 1948, William Gibson is an American-Canadian science fiction writer. His debut Novel, Neuromancer (1984) effectively predicted the internet. He has also written for TIME, Wired, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. He has been awarded the Hugo, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, Ditmar, Seiun, and Prix Aurora awards.Science Fiction: A Future TruthThe future is always something that has amazed me. What¿s coming next? How will humanity change for the better? Or for the worse? All these questions find potential answers in the realm of science fiction. Though, I¿m not a hard-core science fiction fan by any means, I¿ve been known to dabble in shows like Star Wars and Star Trek from time to time. As a science fiction writer, William Gibson has made several predictions about the future, including coining the term ¿cyberspace¿. While successful in the world of science fiction, Gibson¿s Distrust That Particular Flavor serves as a collection of essays and journalistic articles compiled over the years. These articles are presented amidst the backdrop of a savvy retrospective, much like a postscript, which Gibson paints at the end of each chapter; he recollects with either distain or contentment the articles he wrote seemingly long ago. As a science fiction writer, he is often asked ¿What do you think will happen?¿ Gibson states, ¿The day I reply with anything other than a qualified `I haven¿t got a clue,¿ please shoot me. While science fiction is sometimes good at predicting things, it¿s seldom good at predicting what those things might actually do to us. For example, television, staple window dressing for hundreds of stories from the Twenties through the Forties, was usually presented as a mode of personal communication. Nobody predicted commercials, Hollywood Squares, or heavy-metal music videos¿ (15).The Nostradamus QualityA careful investigation of Gibson¿s writing and articles through this collection provides evidence that Gibson has a certain Nostradamus quality about his predictions regarding technology and the future (the best example would be his prediction of the internet). But, he also has incredible insights about the current state of today¿s affairs. Take this quotation as an example:¿People my age are products of the culture of the capital F-Future. The younger you are, the less you are a product of that. If you¿re fifteen or so, today, I suspect that you inhabit a sort of endless digital `Now¿, a state of atemporality enabled by our increasingly efficient communal prosthetic memory. I also suspect that you don¿t know it, because, as anthropologists tell us, one cannot know one¿s own culture¿ (44).Will We Have Computer Chips in Our Heads?Gibson seems to view the world, both present and future, with the fresh eyes of a child. As a result, Gibson¿s writing is able to make countless predictions, as well as intriguing commentary. When asked ¿will be have computer chips in our heads?¿ he writes in TIME magazine,¿It won¿t, I don¿t think, be a matter of computers crawling buglike down into the most intimate chasms of our being, but of humanity crawling buglike out into the dappled light and shadow of the presence of that which we will have created, which we are creating now, and which seems to me to already be in process of re-creating us¿ (218).So, if these quotes seem a little arrogant to you, let me caution you. I¿ve cherry-picked these out of an entire book, so they are a little out of context. Gibson doesn¿t claim that he predicts the future well, or that he¿s influenced the development of products. He doesn¿t claim that without his fiction business wouldn¿t have been creative enough to innovate. Rather, he claims that somehow, he had an idea where technology would go in some cases. This collection of essays shows an eye for the uncanny and the unperceived. From observations on film te
kmaziarz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gibson, known for thoughtful science fiction exploring the ways in which technology changes human culture in impossible-to-anticipate ways, here brings his considerable talents to bear on the undiscovered country¿non-fiction. Gibson¿s first collection of non-fiction draws from the last several decades of his writing career, with essays and articles featuring all the usual Gibsonian subjects¿the rise of the Internet; the technology and culture of Japan; Gibson¿s own past in small-town Virginia and early discovery of science fiction; and all the ways, both small and large, that human culture has already been irrevocably altered by technologies as commonplace as radio and as pervasive as cyberspace. Many, if not all, of the articles, are grounded in Gibson¿s own life and experiences, adding a personal touch to a topic which could otherwise seem dry. A sly wit and a lively intelligence shine through the writing, and every article, regardless of whether its predictions have been borne out by reality, is fascinating without fail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is really good. I thought it was very helpful with what kimd of sweets i liked and did not like
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Read up on Vannever Bush first.
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I found these essays as witty as they are perceptive. My favorite is the one about Singapore, which he calls "Disneyland with the Death Penalty." -- catwak
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