Sunday, February 02, 2003
posted 1:24 PM
The irony here is that I myself don’t have a copy of this. The phrase “No maps for these territories” comes from the Memory Palace text, though I didn’t recognize it when the maker of the film first suggested it as a title.
I’ve seen a video of the piece, as performed by La Fura dels Baus, the Barcelona street-performance group who were a sort of cross between Survival Research Labs and Panther Modern (Dance). Mind-boggling, as indeed were the other La Fura performances I was lucky enough to see in person. (The outbreak of the Gulf War caused me to miss La Fura’s one actual collaboration with SRL, in Barcelona; security issues around the show’s planned portside venue caused a delay, and we had to fly home before a new venue was arranged. Hanging with La Fura and SRL as they prepped, though, was as real-life cyberpunk as it ever got, for me.)
There's now a permanent link to the NO MAPS site on the Source Code page.
That’s what publishers shoot for: the new book in every store on the same day, and not sooner. Tomorrow’s that day, for PATTERN RECOGNITION. I get up way too early, fly to Seattle in a funny little Air Canada prop effort, and it begins. The first signing of the tour will be:
Monday, February 3, 2003
4326 University Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
Reading, Signing and Q&A
Turn up and see a fresh, pristine, pre-Tupperware author read (probably) the novel’s opening scene. Thereafter, check in here to chart the steady decline into interview-fried zombiehood.
FAVORITE BOOK-TOUR GADGET
Fold-and-compress packing units.
Ever wonder how flight-attendants get much at all into those dinky little wheel-on bags? They’re using fold-and-compress units. With a little practice, you can learn to fold a freshly-pressed shirt (or just about anything else, up to and including a suit) around a thin plastic guide, remove the guide, then use Velcro and nylon mesh to precision-squash your folded shirt flatter than a pancake -- and keep it that way ‘til you need it, at which point it unfolds, relatively wrinkle-free. These units easily double the amount of clothing you can carry (in wearable shape) in a given bag.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SHERATON, DR. JEEP PLAYS ON AND ON AND ON...
Bruce Sterling introduced me to Sisters of Mercy on our DIFFERENCE ENGINE tour, and "Vision Thing" became our official tour anthem; so, no, I wasn't listening to them when I wrote NEUROMANCER. I was listening to what Andrew Eldritch listened to in order to write those songs, I intuit.
He's one fine lyricist, is Andrew Eldritch.
As is Nick Cave. I'd like to write a novel as good as THE BOATMAN'S CALL.
Saturday, February 01, 2003
posted 9:22 AM
When I was a little boy I believed passionately in space travel. I had a book by Willy Ley, with illustrations by Chesley Bonestell. The hard covers were slick and glossy, and if you ran your fingernail over them, hard, the cardboard beneath the glossy coating dented. Eventually the coating broke, and started to peel off, and the glossy night behind the stars was dull, and sticky as tar, collecting lint.
The grown son of my mother’s best friend was a pilot in the Air Force. He came to visit us, in uniform, and I showed him my Willy Ley book and told him about rockets, missiles and space travel. He said it wasn’t possible. Would never happen. That Willy Ley was wrong. That you couldn’t do that with rockets. I argued with him. It was the first time in my life, probably, that I openly disagreed with an adult.
Later on, I built kits like these:
The Monogram Space Taxi was a particular favorite, and I kept the space-suited figures long after the taxi itself had broken up and vanished.
Broken up and vanished. In the sky over Nacogdoches County. And I’m sad all the way back to the little boy with his stiff black book and his Bonestell rockets.
But Willy was right, and nobody ever said it would be risk-free.
If it were, it wouldn’t be glorious.
And it’s only with these losses that we best know that it really is.