I’m Going To Read This

SciFi Superstar William Gibson’s New Book Imagines a Trump-Free Alternate Reality

The novelist sat down with Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery for a live recording of the Mother Jones Podcast

Molly Schwartz
MOLLY SCHWARTZ
Digital Media Fellow
Bio

Ulf Andersen/Zuma/Mother Jones illustration

There are many alternate futures. But what if there were also… alternate pasts?

That’s the premise of William Gibson’s latest novel, Agency. Gibson is the pioneering science fiction writer who coined the word “cyberspace” and whose 1984 debut novel, The Neuromancer, inspired The Matrix.

Advertise with Mother Jones
In, Agency, the second novel in Gibson’s Peripheral trilogy, we’ve arrived back in 2017, at a fork of the past, called a “stub,” in which Trump was never elected and Brexit never happened. In this stub of 2017, an app-whisperer named Verity Jane is testing a beta super AI named Eunice, and crisis communication expert named Wilf Netherton has teamed up with a cop named Ainsley Lowbeer to try to avert a nuclear war. In other words, it’s a novel that looks unflinchingly at the importance of choice and the complex decision trees that could precipitate, or prevent, the end of the world as we know it.

Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery sat down for a conversation with Gibson at Public Works in San Francisco last January to talk about his new book. They discuss how politics has influenced his writing, and how the real-life climate crisis intersects with his fictional imaginings of the end times.

Read an edited transcript below, or listen to a recording of their conversation on this bonus episode of the Mother Jones Podcast.

There’s so many cool concepts in both of these books. But was there a particular one that got you on this path that you really took ahold of when you started the process?

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Subscribe and we’ll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Dumbshit Nazi advice

POLITICS 03/05/2020 04:51AM EST
Donald Trump Triggers Furious Backlash Over ‘Go To Work’ With Coronavirus Claim
“DEFINITELY DO NOT GO TO WORK IF YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS PLEASE AND THANK YOU,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes responded to Trump’s suggestion.
Twitter users took President Donald Trump to task after he suggested in a rambling interview that it would be OK if people infected with the coronavirus ignored official advice to isolate and went to work instead.
Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night:
 Check out the clip here:
Trump has been peddling falsehoods and downplaying the virus threat amid his administration’s haphazard response, even as COVID-19 illnesses spread in the U.S.  
Critics on social media appeared exasperated by Trump’s “go to work” suggestion, which contradicts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that people with COVID-19 should “not go to work school or public areas” and “avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.”
RELATED…
Ex-Labor Secretary Turns Trump’s Insulting Nickname For Democrats On McConnell, GOP
RNC Receives Reality Check After Misguided Attempt At Trolling Joe Biden
WaPost Editorial Board Warns Sanders, Biden: Don’t Go ‘Scorched-Earth’
Want more stories
that matter?
SUBSCRIBE