Matt Carmichael
mattc@rocknroll.net
William Gibson
William Gibson just put me on hold. The Canadian author, who defined "cyberspace" in his novel "Neuromancer," is excited that I am still on the line when he comes back. I am the first person he has done that to successfully. "I'm not very good with technical things," he says.

Gibson's short story "Johnny Mnemonic" has been turned into a film starring Keanu Reeves. His latest novel, "Idoiu," is due out next year. He talked to CoverSTORY about the Internet, politics and too much information.

CoverSTORY: What kind of computer do you have?

Gibson: I use a Macintosh SE/30, which is kind of like driving a 1948 International Harvester truck, it's obsolete in a sense, but it's a very good machine.

Are you on the Internet?

I don't have an e-mail address, I don't even have a modem. My kids are, but that's another matter. They spend hours strapped in there and sometimes I go and look over their shoulders.

I'm a big fan of the Internet in theory. I love the idea of it. But at this point in my life, the last thing I need is more information, more messages. The very thought of it makes me want to scream.

Do you think it's possible that politicians might be afraid of the power of the Internet?

I don't think politicians, by and large, have remotely begun to grasp what's going on there. I think if they knew, they might be frightened.

Have you been following how the U.S. Government is contemplating regulating the Internet?

It's going to be tough because the Internet doesn't come from anywhere and it's transnational. There aren't any borders anymore. ... On the other hand, I'm in favor of law in cyberspace. I think we should have law in cyberspace but should also have civil rights. We should have constitutional rights with regards to this territory.

Do you consider yourself a futurist?

I think of what I do artistically as exploration of new ways to apprehend the present ... I think I'm pushing back against what the late 20th century is doing to me. Better than trying to extrapolate or map where we're going. I never think of the things I write as being literally predictive. I think science fiction's predictive capacity is chronically overrated.

Full interview text is also available.

c1996 Thompson Target Media