Somehow I've written and deleted the first line of this article about 10 times in the last hour.
What I had in mind was a short blog on William Gibson, acknowledged metarati and author of (a.o.) Neuromancer.
No Maps for these terrirory
Alas, sometimes even visionairs are ruled by their publishers, and so it seemed on this feat. A few weeks ago there was a screener of a documentary called No Maps for These Territori, which is a 90 minute film about Gibson, and is praised as the Documentary of the Year by the LA Times. This was a good and glitchless performance so a 'reading' wouldn't be too hard.
So August 2nd would have been the day to meet one of the cyberpunk and metaverse metarati on a heavily piblicized official Pinguin public reading, but I missed out due to the spectacular (official) opening of the Greenies.
However, through several friends I heard I hadn't missed out on much, as the event was far from smooth. Metaverse Territories reports (and also kindly provides the image above on the No Map Screener):
"...but marketing ploys like Penguin’s organized, very publicized reading by William Gibson is another case altogether. Events like this must go smoothly in order for the world to become a credible place for business AND art, fun AND work. First of all, for SL users who came, it is as much an investment of their time and energy, which for me, was a wasted one (started late, the feed didn’t work until 10 minutes into his reading, didn’t know where to go, never actually saw the avatar etc. etc…). "
According to Gibson's blog he himself was left with a peculiar feeling as well. This should be amended!
Being present in the metaverse these days requires a presence with a mission, or a message. It is going from pages to places in a quest for immersive and shared experience. Pinguin's line of thought isn't a bad one, when it comes to public readings. It just needs work and a fullscale programme (and maybe a few other things).
However, their speck of virtual land doesn't hold much that will draw crowds:
Second Life is an excellent platform to experiment. Even for publishers. A few months ago I wrote some thoughts on that in a post on the Amsterdam Public Library;
"In this new metaversality it would be a challenge for libraries (and publishers for that matter) to explore new formats that would draw back readers to good books.
Neil Stephenson, one of the metarati, is most famous for his novel "Snowcrash" in which the concept of the Metaverse is explored, but another excellent work is called "The Diamond Age" in which the future of reading and publishing is explored."
Here's another thought. Perhaps it would work for Pinguin to setup a giant ancient bookprinting press, have their books (f)lying about like old press letters and create an experience about books.
... just a thought, not a guaranteed success.
The Cyberpunk Metarati
Earlier this week I blogged on the Infocalypse project, a decorum for cyberpunk stories, of which Nexus Prime is one. I didn't check my numbers and linked it to the sim Nexus. Wrong! It should have been Gibson of course. Reading the firts part of the blog entry, it sounds pretty obvious why a cyberpunk-sim is named Gibson. When I first got there (sometime 2006) there ironically was placed a Neil Stephensons' Snowcrash promotion by Pinguin books. Now it's gone though, and replaced with a neat Gibson Spook City promo.
However, since the reading left Gibson with a peculiar feeling, there should be another change for the metarati to explore and experience the metaverse in all its richness and creativeness. I'm not sure who will take up the glove, but here's a proposal.
Geek Meet Challenge
What I'd like to see is Gibson and Stephenson to get a guided tour of the Cyberpunk cities, thrown in with some new Kowloon and steampunk Caledon to see the world they've envisaged and then settle down for a good panel discussion on the metaverse at the weekly Metaversed (and Dr. Dobbs and Information week) Geek Meets.
Labels: cyberpunk, geekmeet, gibson, greenies, metarati, neil stephenson, snowcrash