Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The Peripheral


I read William Gibson’s The Peripheral at the same time as viewing the much-vaunted streaming series. Usually, I prefer the novel to the film/tv script, but in this case, I liked the latter. The tv series helped me through the challenging first hundred or so pages of Gibson’s jargon-filled novel. However, once settled into the strange future world of the Peripheral, I appreciated the writer’s skill in making the future world of time tunnelling and rampant, unchecked technological development entirely believable.

Imagine being dropped into a war zone in a faraway land at night, facing unknowable dangers, filled with more questions than answers, and you get the idea of Gibson’s world-building. Unrelenting, I suspect Gibson aims to make you think about how it would feel, never mind the entertainment value.

Faced with two timelines, the present and the future, 2099, Gibson convincingly portrays the language of both worlds, not an easy feat for a writer, but seemingly effortless in the hands of the scifi master writer.

On the other hand, watching the adaption entertained in the first instance before inducing more profound thought about the many heady themes, the main being the threat of unchecked technological development on humanity. Timely questions in our times of rapid AI development and imminent singularity.