Monthly Archives: October 2010

The William Gibson Effect

It happens every time I read a new William Gibson novel. I get this uncontrollable urge to find new ways to express my inner geek. Gibson’s books have always spoken to me of the power of technology and I want to be able to experience some of that first-hand. Of course this can be a confusing impulse since many of the toys described in novels such as Zero History don’t yet exist. Or perhaps they do exist, or at least could exist. I think part of what I find appealing about Gibsonesque techno-toys is the fact that they are just close enough to current reality to be plausible. I mean; it’s certainly possible that there is an iPhone app for controlling surveillance balloons. And, of course why not “locative art“?

After reading Spook Country, his previous novel, the impulse was strongest. Without knowing exactly why, I unearthed my old Kaypro 2 and began plans to completely gut the machine and replace the innards with something like a Mac Mini. I thought it would be really cool to create this juxtaposition of 21st century functionality in an iconic, 1980’s form. I thought it would be ironic, surprising, and fun to play with.

The Kaypro is now sitting in my office; taunting me and challenging me to make it into something as cool as William Gibson might envision. I haven’t started the project and, for now, I’ll stick to contemplating the transformative possibilities. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll wind up with something mundane and disappointing; no longer the Kaypro and yet far short of Gibsonesque.