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Distrust that Particular Flavor [Paperback]

William Gibson , William Gibson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

Distrust That Particular Flavor - an acclaimed nonfiction collection by William Gibson, author of Neuromancer

'The future's already here: it's just not evenly distributed'

William Gibson was writing fiction when he predicted the internet. And as his stories bled into reality so he became one of the first to report on the real-world consequences of cyberspace's growth and development.

Now, with the dust settling on the first internet revolution, comes Gibson's first collection of non-fiction - essays from the technological and cultural frontiers of this new world.

Covering a variety of subjects, they include:

Metrophagy - the Art and Science of Digesting Great Cities

An account of obsession in 'the world's attic' - eBay

Reasons why 'The Net is a Waste of Time'

Singapore as 'Disneyland with the Death Penalty'

A primer on Japan, our default setting for the future

These and many other pieces, collected for the first time in Distrust that Particular Flavour, are studded with revealing autobiographical fragments and map the development of Gibson's acute perceptions about modern life. Readers of Neal Stephenson, Ray Bradbury and Iain M. Banks will love this book.

'Gibson is a prophet and a satirist, a black comedian and an astounding architect of cool. He's also responsible for much of the world we live in' Spectator

'Part-detective story, part-cultural snapshot ... all bound by Gibson's pin-sharp prose' Arena

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 including Count Zero; Mona Lisa Overdrive; The Difference Engine; Virtual Light; Idoru; All Tomorrow's Parties; Pattern Recognition; Spook Country and most recently Zero History.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0670921548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921546
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,654 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.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thin in both senses of the word. 22 Feb 2012
By A. Miles VINE VOICE
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mainly for the fans 15 Mar 2012
By ColinM
Format:Hardcover
This is a collection of articles previously published in newspapers and magazines. I'm a huge fan - I like his style of writing and find his quirky views on technology and stuff very interesting, so I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other fans.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st Century Prose Haiku from William Gibson 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the Gibson initiated 14 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To be brief: This is an excellent collection of essays. Some other comments have stated that it is an excellent introduction to Gibson. I do share those people's rating of the book, but not that it is a good introduction. You will appreciate this book much better if you've ready much of Gibson's prose - so if this is your first Gibson adventure, do read All Tomorrow's Parties instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. Admittedly some of the content can still be found on the internet for anyone with enough search engine savvy to dig deep enough, but that shouldn't put you off if you enjoy Gibson's cultural insights and analysis and his prose in general. You also get the small bonus of his own up to date musings on his writings which vary from the plain interesting to insightful. A must for any Gibson fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Distrust This Book 9 Mar 2012
By DRFP
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have been a fan of William Gibson for a long time. I guess it's fair to say he converted me from not liking science fiction all too much, to at least appreciate the better writers in the genre. "Distrust that Particular Flavor" is a series of short stories, or sometimes "just" a preface to a book written by a colleague, or a relatively short article on a given topic. Some I've read before, but most of them were new to me. All delightful in their own way. If you for some reason have run out of books to read, or have a period when no book that you pick up seem to really grab you - try this one! Short stories that often make you smile (he has a dry, wry kind of humour Mr Gibson), references to musicians and artists that you would like to know more about. A delight, a joy to read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars For those who must read everything by William Gibson.
There is nothing wrong with this collection however, it is not a novel though it does give some insight into the character of the author.
Published 4 months ago by vague logic
5.0 out of 5 stars Peek into the head of one of the greatest visionary in our era
I love Gibson's book, particularly Neuromancer, Count Zero and Pattern Recognition. He predicted our present and our future in the eighties, not with technical meticulousness but... Read more
Published 7 months ago by András Borbíró
1.0 out of 5 stars old tat
this is a collection of old articles for magazines, some are quite good but its a really expensive way of getting them. Avoid
Published 15 months ago by dcm
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh slants on everything
Gibson sees something new in familiar material. We knew that. What he's seen here in Singapore, Tokyo, New York the day after 9/11, and 1984 are alone worth the book's reading... Read more
Published 19 months ago by BillinWien
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 21st century reading
This is the first anthology of Gibson's non-fiction, and is the equal of his best fiction (for that matter better than much of it). Read more
Published on 18 April 2012 by simonphopkins@yahoo.com
3.0 out of 5 stars Below Par for the Author
By the standards of anyone else, a pass.

By the standards Gibson has accustomed us to, decidedly sub-par. Read more
Published on 1 April 2012 by Goebel Junghanns James
2.0 out of 5 stars Over-priced and very, very short
The overwhelming impression this book leaves you with is that William Gibson hasn't written much non-fiction. Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2012 by Mark Hurst
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