I made one of my rare forays through the District and into Virgina today, driving. I had no idea where I was going but the GPS got me there safely and in only about 25 minutes or so. William Gibson was signing books at Borders at Bailey’s Crossing as part of a tour to promote his new book, Spook Country.
There’s a chance that I have friends or family who have no idea who William Gibson is. Well, you may be familiar with an excellent book called Neuromancer. He wrote it. Or, you may have seen a not-so-good movie, starring Keanu Reeves, called Johnny Mnemonic. It was based on one of Gibson’s short stories. Or you may have seen one of two episodes of The X-Files that Gibson wrote: “Kill Switch” or “First Person Shooter”.
I was looking forward to meeting him. I brought my copy of Spook Country with me, but in order to “support” the massively corporate Borders, I bought the August issue of Locus and skimmed it while I was waiting for things to get started.
There was a review of short fiction, and I was secretly hoping to see a few words about my story, “When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer” somewhere within the pages. Alas, IGMS was not one of the magazines reviewed this month.
There was a fairly good crowd of, I’d say, 80-90 people by the time things got started. I managed to get a decent seat a few rows back and at 7:30, William Gibson was introduced.
First, Gibson read a chapter from Spook Country, and fortunately, it was a few chapters before where I am in the book. (I’m a little more than halfway through it and I was worried he might end up reading something that I had no yet read.) Afterward, he held court for about 20 minutes or so, answering questions from the audience. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the questions, but I couldn’t think of any better ones to ask myself so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.
After the Q&A session, he signed books. My copy of Spook Country is signed “To Jamie–“. I thanked him for signing my book, took some pictures, and then headed back home.
I was glad I decided to go. It’s always a pleasure meeting a writer whose work you enjoy and admire, and that is certainly true of William Gibson. He was not how I imagined him to be. I’d seen his picture, of course, but his voice didn’t match his face. But he was very witty and had us laughing more than once.
Driving home I was certain that I had met Gibson once before at Dangerous Visions in Sherman Oaks. But none of my other Gibson books were signed. I suspect that I was supposed to go meet him, and then flaked on it. I would check my diary but I don’t have the patience for that right now.