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Distrust That Particular Flavor Hardcover – 3 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (3 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915843X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158438
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 2.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 557,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, with Bruce Sterling, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties and Pattern Recognition. William Gibson lives in Vancouver, Canada. His latest novel, published by Penguin, is Spook Country (2007).

Product Description

About the Author

William Gibson's first novel Neuromancer has sold more than six million copies worldwide. In an earlier story he had invented the term 'cyberspace'; a concept he developed in the novel, creating an iconography for the Information Age long before the invention of the Internet. The book won three major literary prizes. He has since written nine further novels, most recently Zero History.

William Gibson was born in South Carolina but has lived for many years in Vancouver.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DRFP on 9 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
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.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A. Miles VINE VOICE on 22 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The blank pages separating each article in this book are coloured blue, and as most of the articles herein are only a page or two long, about half of the book seems to consist of blank blue pages. Add to this the enormous font, double spacing and acres of white space, and one surmises that the publishers have managed to pad out a couple of dozen short pieces into a 17 quid hardback.

Additionally, most of the stuff here dates back to the early days of the internet, when Gibson was the go-to guy for cyberspace. Hence a lot of it now seems quaintly old fashioned and a bit pointless to read 20 years on. - One article, for instance, is about how Gibson doubts Ebay being able to work practically. Really, most of this is stuff most authors would have stuck up on websites for free at this point in their career.

I started reading the book at 7 yesterday evening, had finished it well before 9PM, and felt royally ripped off. Not recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Gibson's fiction - for example, the classic Neuromancer - provides a clever, challenging and imaginative view of the world's future which is usually, but not always, dystopic. Here, he collects together several short pieces of non-fiction (together with a contemporary post-script for each one), some of which provide a partial background to how his novels come to be written. Others contain his thoughts and observations about Japan (a location he returns to many times over the course of this collection, since, "[i]f you believe, as I do, that all cultural change is essentially technology-driven, you pay attention to Japan" [p157]), Singapore (memorably described here as "Disneyland with the Death Penalty"), Steely Dan, film and the internet.

I found his pieces about this final topic to be the most interesting, since a number date from very close to (or perhaps just before) the explosion of that technology into general use. Presumably, he's included them here to indicate a degree of justification for his standard appellation of "visionary"; on this evidence, it's pretty good - for example, back in 1989, he predicted the erosion of the distinction between family media appliances (TV, CD player, computer,...), and in 2000, he views our interactions with the net as communications with a global computer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NeuroSplicer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover
If anyone expects this to be a novel, well, it is clearly not. It is a far greater treat.

Distrust That Particular Flavor is a collection of essays and articles William Gibson had given over the years. If you have been touched by his mesmerizing prose and kaleidoscopic Futures he keeps weaving one trilogy at a time, you would want to read all of them. Instead of fine combing the net to locate them all, you can easily find them now in one printed source. I am a great fan, ever since I plunged into Neuromancer as a freshman in the nineties, and thought I had a complete collection of all of William Gibson's articles. Well, I was not even halfway done!

What I particularly appreciated was how Gibson took the risk to humbly come back to every essay of his with honest criticism. And I was thrilled to learn that we share a wrist-watch chronograph fetish (and now the Jaegers traded on the Bridge, in Virtual Light, make a whole different kind of sense).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (especially for fans and aspiring SciFi writers).
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok on 13 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
William Gibson has said more than once that science fiction possesses a unique toolkit for dealing with our science fictional present. He said that again when I asked why mainstream writers are turning increasingly to science fiction during a question and answer session held during his New York City literary event for this very book. He could have offered similar advice to journalists with respect to their narrative nonfiction and journalistic reporting; "Distrust That Particular Flavor" makes a most powerful case for that, in vivid, often concise, prose that will remind his most ardent fans of his early "Sprawl" stories and others collected in "Burning Chrome" and the novels "Neuromancer" and "Count Zero", and one that also evokes "Idoru", and other, later novels like "Zero History", in its relentless attention to detail. Any new book written by William Gibson should give readers ample cause for celebration, but this, his first foray into nonfiction, is not only a most distinguished collection of essays, but one that will be admired for years.

There is undoubtedly a strong cyberpunk-like beat in much of Gibson's narrative nonfiction. His poignant remembrance of his favorite SoHo (New York, NY) antiques store written within days of the 9/11 terrorist attacks ("Mr. Buk's Window") could have easily been part of one of his early "Sprawl" stories (Not surprisingly, he admits in a concise afterword that that antiques store would inspire him to finish writing the novel he had just started; "Pattern Recognition".).
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