No Maps for These Territories, a Documentary About William Gibson #cyberpunk
In this fascinating and inspiring documentary from 1999, director Mark Neale takes William Gibson on a cross-country car ride.
On an overcast morning in 1999, William Gibson, father of cyberpunk and author of the cult-classic novel Neuromancer, stepped into a limousine and set off on a road trip around North America. The limo was rigged with digital cameras, a computer, a television, a stereo, and a cell phone. Generated entirely by this four-wheeled media machine, No Maps for These Territories is both an account of Gibson’s life and work and a commentary on the world outside the car windows. Here, the man who coined the word “cyberspace” offers a unique perspective on Western culture at the edge of the new millennium, and in the throes of convulsive, tech – driven change.
Bill Gibson is one of those unique and compelling thinkers that I could listen to ramble on about nearly anything. And he doesn’t disappoint here, nor does the director, who manages to make a very watchable documentary of little more than a guy sitting in the back seat of a car, smoking and talking.
During the documentary Gibson muses both on his past and the circumstances that led him to write what he wrote, as well as our present which, accordingly, is starting to resemble in many particulars the futures he has variously penned. He speculates on topics as wide-ranging as post-human society and mechanics, nanotechnology, drugs and drug culture, the effect of Neuromancer on his fans and his later writing career, and the normalisation of technology.The documentary is extremely free-flowing and also highly personal, in that it allows one to gain a close understanding of both the thought processes and internal psychological triggers of William Gibson.
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