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William Gibson, 14.03.1992
Excerpts from an interview with WILLIAM GIBSON (ILLUSIONS, Number 19, Winter 1992)

WILLIAM GIBSON is still feeling decidedly jet lagged as we wander the streets of Wellington looking for coffee, cigarettes and a place to talk; preferably all three in one hit. We're not having much luck. Gibson has just participated in a panel discussion on "other worlds" with two other nominally sci-fi writers. Earlier in the week he made his first appearance, "an hour with William Gibson," at the 1992 Wellington Festival of the Arts Writers and Readers Week. For those who don't know, William Gibson is an American born (Virginia), Canadian resident (Vancouver) novelist credited with the invention of the genre of cyberpunk which he developed across a trilogy of novels (Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive) and a volume of short stories (Burning Chrome). He is also the co-author with Bruce Sterling of a lengthy novel set in the Victorian era, The Difference Engine. In other words, Gibson is equally at home within the machinations of both neo and paleo technological epochs. I interviewed William Gibson for Illusions, with Tony Chuah, on Saturday March 14 in Cuba Street, Wellington.
— Lawrence McDonald.




William Gibson: Good Soviet artists are amongst the heaviest people I've ever met yet. About two years ago I met a Kazakstani film director named Raschid Nugmanov who made a film called The Needle which I really liked a lot. It was the first Soviet action movie. So we cooked up a plan. Raschid was the youngest ever president of the Kazakstani Film Union. This was one of the earliest things happening when the system was loosening up there. They wanted to get rid of all the old party hacks who were running the film unit; so they elected this guy who at the time was maybe twenty. He's quite brilliant and he'd been doing his academic film studies in Leningrad when the Leningrad punk scene was at its most intense; and he was going round making totally illicit documentaries some of which are starting to circulate.

When he made The Needle he brought in a Soviet rock star named Victor Soy, an amazing guy from a band called KINO. A half Korean, half Soviet Bruce Lee, a really good martial artist and incredibly handsome. So we had a joint Soviet-American co-production thing starting to boil where we'd make a vehicle for Victor, Raschid would direct and I'd write it with an American writer named Jack Womack who lives in New York. (pause)

We weren't exactly set to go... but Jack and I were set to go to Leningrad and then Victor was killed in a really tragic, stupid car accident; just like that, out of nowhere. So we lost the star and the Soviet artists we'd been working with all went into this very intense period of mourning during which none of them produced any work; basically they just sort of dragged for a year. But a year to the day of the accident they popped up again and said: "OK — life goes on, we have to do something". So Womack's going over there in a few weeks. It's been a long time since we've seen Raschid and Womack wants to talk to him about doing a movie that has something to do with Chernobyl, although we're not quite sure what... (pause)

Do you know there's a structure of melted slag in one of the sub-basements of the Chernobyl reactor building which, aside from the sun, is the most radioactive known object in the universe? It's called the elephant's foot because it's shaped like one; the stalactite of this lethal mung that's boiled down. There's an amazing documentary about these suicide missions to Chernobyl where these groups of physicists — who're living at the reactor site, keeping track of it — are all going to die and they know it. There's footage of these guys in heavy radiation suits creeping through this twisted maze of pipes, dragging robots (tractor cameras) behind them to send down these hollows to where the elephant's foot is so they can get a piece of it to check just how radioactive it is. One guy went down with a telescopic sight and a AK 49 to loosen some hunks off it. And then they started sending in these remote control robots to try to pick the hunks up. But the robots would just fry. Finally one of them made it out, very jerkily, with a little piece — the most radioactive thing outside the heart of the sun. (gasps of amazement)

Anyway, we'd like to set some sort of Science Fiction movie there.

Tony Chuah: This would be possibly your most dystopian project yet?

William Gibson: Well, when you're working with artists from the former Soviet Union you're in for some heavy stuff.



Опубликовано на сайте Йя-Хха 2006-08-31 22:28:32 (RN)

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