Joe Hoffman deposited Boundaries of the Future in Two William Gibson Novels in the group Speculative and Science Fiction on Humanities Commons 4 years, 9 months ago
Actuality is a border between the world that is and the future worlds that could be. Science- fiction stories look across the border, into the frontiers of ‘the future’. William Gibson did his part in the 1980s to invent cyberpunk fiction as a slick, stylish view into a bleak dystopian future, but by the turn of the century, much of what he’d written about had recognizably come to pass. For Gibson, adapting to a fiction-writer’s worst nightmare meant returning to one of his old books. Pattern Recognition (2003) is essentially the same story as Count Zero (1986), but aimed sideways along the frontier instead of across it. This paper explores the relationships between the two novels, showing how the common theme, the relationship of art to society, turns from a quasi-religious respect to a cynical quest for commercial exploitation. In our new dystopian present, a transformed frontier emerges between the reader and the story.