Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend I: saw, and had a brief chat with, William Gibson; did nage-no-kata with the head of the Canadian Grading Board for judo, and also had a brief intro to the first set of ju-no-kata; drew Darth Vader in Crayola crayon; and heard the cutest version of the ABC song I think I’ll ever hear.

I took the day off, since I wanted to be able to get to the reading at 2:30 PM. I left town about 11:30 AM, a little later than I meant to, but isn’t that always the way? Barreled down the highway, got into the city at about 1:15 PM or so, then made my way through the tail end of the noon rush to Portage Place. The reading was at the McNally Robinson bookstore on the main floor, in the little eatery there. I got into the store, and the food smelled so good. I regretted eating at McDonald’s in Portage, but I’d been hungry.

There weren’t any tables free. There were, however, quite a few tables with one person at them, and most of them looked like they were there for the reading. I was just trying to figure out who I was going to approach when two women got up from a table directly in front of the reading area and said they were leaving, and I could have their table if I wanted. Uh, yes. Thanks.

So I sat down, and the waiter came around, brought me a water and a menu. I ordered a root beer and waited. It was 2:00 PM, half an hour yet to go. A girl showed up, looking like she needed a seat, so I offered her a spot at my table. We chatted about writing for a while, then the reading began.

William Gibson and John Havelda
William Gibson (L) and John Havelda

Gibson read from his latest book, Spook Country, which I finished reading last week, and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s set in the present day; as he’s said in recent interviews, the present is pretty much science fiction these days. After he and the poet John Havelda did their readings, there was about a half an hour Q&A with the audience. Some good questions were asked, on the nature of language (both authors like to play with language; Gibson, after all, coined the term cyberspace back in nineteen-eighty-what-have-you, and Havelda is (IIRC) a Hungarian poet, raised in England, now living in Portugal with his Portugese wife), on the future of books, and the like. Afterwards I was one of the first in line, and I got my beat-up old copy of Mona Lisa Overdrive* signed by Gibson.

to be continued…


* I couldn’t find my copy of Neuromancer.

3 thoughts on “Whirlwind Weekend

  1. Cool! So . . . how’s his reading voice? I think it’s interesting how some authors can do this so well (like Burroughs) and some just don’t have the voice for it. And will you be reviewing Spook Country on the blog?

  2. His reading voice is kind of monotone, but I’d never noticed before, watching interviews and readings he’s done on TV, that he’s got quite the Southern accent, even now.

    I’ll probably review Spook Country soon; first I should finish this story, since it’s from two weeks ago now.

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