Thursday, October 09, 2008

William Gibson on William S. Burroughs:

The biggest influence on my writing has been the accidental fact that I discovered the Beats and Science Fiction more or less in the same season when I was about 14 years old. I suspect that was fairly unusual. When I first tried reading Burroughs I didn’t get it at all, but I recognised that there were elements of the genre of Science Fiction there. I thought it was the strangest stuff I had ever read and I knew that it had hit notes that nothing else had ever hit. Before I started writing, I gradually realised that a lot of the Science Fiction writers that I had admired in the 60s were copying from Burroughs big time, but Burroughs had been able to sustain those notes longer than anyone, and hit stranger highs. When I started writing myself, I had that as part of a toolkit that I knew I could appropriate. I appropriated in the opposite direction. Burroughs was appropriating Science Fiction, mysteries and pulp thrillers into avant-garde fiction and I was appropriating elements of avant-garde fiction quite freely into a sort of late 20th century Pulp Sci-Fi.

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