Driving GUNHEAD with Chris Palmer

Episode 05 of Literary Punk featuring William Gibson is up on Hookturn! Climb on board the decommissioned GUNHEAD, with me and outstanding SF scholar Chris Palmer at the wheel, as we take a drive round Gibson’s 1993 illumination of the cyberpunk future, VIRTUAL LIGHT.

Virtual Light BridgeCommenting in his 2005 collection of critical writings On SF, the late Thomas M. Disch argued: Gibson “is still, on the evidence of Virtual Light, the fastest thinker” of a new generation of SF writers (2005, p146).

For this episode I’m joined by Melbourne scholar, Christopher Palmer, an author widely published on contemporary SF (Philip K Dick, Iain M Banks, China Mieville), to discuss why Gibson’s 1993 book is a luminous novel, both inside and beyond the category of cyberpunk literature.

Dystopia’s not supposed to feel this good! We explore the texture of Gibson’s language and narrative, and the desire of the heterotopian spaces he opens up within the usual tropes of dystopian futures. We talk about the “wonder” of being in Gibson’s “NoCal / SoCal”, where Mies’ God is indeed in the details …of a mixed media off-grid Oakland Bay Bridge, or, as Palmer notes, in the detail of a little punk word like “just”, which accompanies dual protagonists, Rydell and Chevette’s, defiantly improvised relationship with their city.

Strap yourself in, get ready to experience Gibson’s language couriers, who deliver directly onto the reader’s nerve endings a constantly improvised crisis: the moment of living the future-Now. 

[VIRTUAL LIGHT, William Gibson, Penguin, 1994]

Hamlet. Who are you man?! #conspiracy theory unveiled

Add this math and then tell me whose stories we’re telling!!

1. In episode 1 of the podcast Justin Clemens talks about a personal link between reading trash Sci-Fantasy and Hamlet. He then details how Michael Moorcock used royalties from The Knight of the Swords to fund New Wave SF magazine New Worlds, which went on to publish Pynchon, …and Burroughs.

2. Burroughs said literature was an alien virus from outer space...

3. P K Dick scholar, AND self-described former Shakespeare man, Christopher Palmer, said that Hamlet was a play morphing into the novel form …via its excessive use of surveillance! #conspiracy

4. Kundera says the novel enters literature as Quixote rides out into the un-God desert of the universe and fiction.

5. Creator of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke, says narrative and the Mandelbrot set are linked. #chaos

6. Ursula K. Le Guin, SF writer and critic, disseminates narrative theories.

7. P K Dick invented the Voight-Kampff test.

8. Timelords can’t love!

9. Hamlet has no empathy! Clemens: “He’s basically a psycho killer.”!!

= 10??

For the full and revealing discussion of WHO OR WHAT SENT US THE NOVEL FORM?! tune in to episode 1 of the podcast: