Lady Gaga meets Pattern Recognition?

Okay, this post is for William Gibson fans only. Specifically, fans of his novel, Pattern Recognition. Here’s a grossly over-simplified plot summary. Actually it’s not even that, but I had to provide some context, so…

“…a cult-like group of Internet obsessives strives to find meaning and patterns within a mysterious collection of video moments, merely called “the footage,” let loose onto the Internet by an unknown source.”

This morning on his Twitter feed, Gibson posted:

“That putative Lady Gaga virus is as seriously Footage-y as anything I’ve seen on YouTube.”

Curious, I found my way to this video:

UPDATE: There were a couple of videos on YouTube to which I had linked but they’ve been pulled. Very suspicious.

“Instead of shouting the message, hide it”

Will we still get carpet bombed by mindless 30 second commercials in the future? (And by future I mean a couple of weeks from now.) Seems unlikely, but how will savvy marketers reach –and more importantly– engage us? How do you “reach people who are so media-saturated they block all attempts to get through.”

Perhaps with alternate reality games (ARG’s). That’s the subject of a fascinating article by Frank Rose in this month’s Wired Magazine (Issue 16.01).

“The initial clue was so subtle that for nearly two days nobody noticed it. On February 10, 2007, the first night of Nine Inch Nails’ European tour, T-shirts went on sale at a 19th-century Lisbon concert hall with what looked to be a printing error: Random letters in the tour schedule on the back seemed slightly boldfaced. Then a 27-year-old Lisbon photographer named Nuno Foros realized that, strung together, the boldface letters spelled “i am trying to believe.” Foros posted a photo of his T-shirt on the Spiral, the Nine Inch Nails fan forum. People started typing “” into their Web browsers. That led them to a site denouncing something called Parepin, a drug apparently introduced into the US water supply. Ostensibly, Parepin was an antidote to bioterror agents, but in reality, the page declared, it was part of a government plot to confuse and sedate citizens. Email sent to the site’s contact link generated a cryptic auto-response: “I’m drinking the water. So should you.” Online, fans worldwide debated what this had to do with Nine Inch Nails. A setup for the next album? Some kind of interactive game? Or what?”

I’m not a gamer. At all. But I love shit like this. Reminds me of the viral video snippets in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. The Wired article is well worth the read.

Spook Country by William Gibson

Gibson at workI’ve ordered the new Harry Potter book but I’m not wetting my pants in anticipation. That honor is reserved for Spook Country, the new novel by William Gibson. It comes out August 7th.

This could be a problem if Amazon gets the book to me before I leave for Gnomedex. I don’t want to dilute my reading experience with an airplane/hotel read. Do I have the willpower to save the book for my return? We’ll see.

Spook Country is Gibson’s first novel since Pattern Recognition and you can find brief character descriptions on his website. While you’re there, you might enjoy the video interview with the author.

Image by William Gibson

SoHo imageThis is for Gibson fans only. The rest of you can skip to the next post. I pulled this image from William Gibson’s blog. According to the caption, he (?) took it somewhere in SoHo earlier this week. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this image would resonate with any fan of Gibson’s writing. It just looks like a picture he would take. And I love knowing (or thinking I know) what he’s thinking about or looking at.

Gibson is, without question, my favorite author. And I think his most recent novel —Pattern Recognition— is his best, to date. So I guess that would make it my favorite novel. That seems a little pat but I can’t find anything wrong with that reasoning.

Pattern Recognition, the movie?

I cannot stress how much I enjoyed the novel and would be surprised and delighted if someone could make it into a good movie. From William Gibson’s blog:

Peter Weir wants to direct it, there’s an option deal in place, and Weir has a contract with Warner to…well, not to go ahead and shoot it, but to go forward toward that end. Toward which he’s hired a screenwriter — whose name I’ve forgotten (which is actually a good sign with regard to Weir’s choice) — and has gone to London, Tokyo and Moscow to look at locations.”

Quotes from William Gibson novels

William Gibson –touring to promote the paperback release of Pattern Recognition– was interviewed by Leo Laporte on Tech TV’s The Screen Savers. Leo asked some good questions, including one about Gibson’s creative process. Gibson said he did not work out the plot in advance and wrote from day to day with no idea of what would happen next. He said he waited for the first sentence and everything grew (“fractally”) from that. And he would never consider going back to edit that first sentence because the story would (I think he said) “collapse.”

“The ghost was her father’s parting gift, presented by a black-clad secretary in a departure loung at Nirita.” — Mona Lisa Overdrive

“I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pair of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you’re crude, go technical; if they think you’re technical, go crude.” — Burning Chrome

“Through this evening’s tide of faces unregistered, unrecognized, amid hurrying black shoes, furled umbrellas, the crowd descending like a single organism into the station’s airless heart, comes Shnya Yamazaki, his notebook clasped beneath his arm like the egg case of some modest but moderately successful marine species.” — All Tomorrow’s Parties

“After Slitscan, Laney heard about another job from Rydell, the night security man at the Chateau.” — Idoru

“The courier presses his forehead against layers of glass, argon, high-impact plastic.” — Virtual Light

“They set a Slashhound on Turner’s trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair.” — Count Zero

“The sky above the Port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” — Neuromancer

“Five hours’ New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm.” — Pattern Recognition

The past we imagined

“The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now.”

Almost a year ago, I posted this line from William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. It still bothers me to think that my past (good and bad) is not fixed. Permanent. That today’s past will look different to a future me. On the other hand, I’ll probably feel differently tomorrow.


I would have sworn I mentioned these but can’t find any reference. John Grisham’s King of Torts was… predictable. And not very interesting. But I couldn’t put it down. Hmmm. I enjoyed William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition more than any of his recent books. And Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon was pretty damned good, for all it’s similarity to early Gibson novels.