new gibson

by uzwi

“Along with trust, a sense of individual agency – heroic centrality in your own story, the ability to make and carry out choices of your own, the “capacity to act” – is the central offer of most Hollywood dreams, and the product sold to us by the majority of corporate ads; but it’s the least likely attribute most of us will ever possess. Like it or not – know it or not – we tend to do what nudge and soft power would prefer. From his beginnings in 1984’s Neuromancer, Gibson has offered the struggle for agency as an unacknowledged, quietly devastating war – fought by hackers, gig economy workers, off-gridders and their networks – against the algorithm, against the manipulation of our needs, our personal information and our appetites, by big data and gangster capital. If he was “prescient” back then, he’s right on the ball now, when it’s so much harder to believe in those loose human associations he imagined in the 1990s, whose combination of technical nous and cultural know-how enabled them to quickly distinguish the real from the sucker fantasy.” –Read the rest of my review of Agency, William Gibson’s sequel to The Peripheral, in the Guardian.