Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New William Gibson short story, "Dougal Discarnate," in Douglas & Macintyre spec-fic anthology Darwin's Bastards, set in Kitsilano & vaguely reminiscent of Tim Powers' better efforts. WG's recent novels don't do that much for me, but his all-too-infrequent shorts and essays continue to exert a lasting hold, with their concision, lyrical pessimism, and perfect pitch. I always smile when I see that tall, stooped, totally unmistakable silhouette peering in through the shop's big front windows at books on pirates, or military insignia, or weird-ass otaku-grade Japanese plastic toys.

From "Dougal":

"Another time, a sunny spring day at the top of 4th, the sunlight changed in a long smooth blink, and he saw deep snow, filthy with the soot of coal-burning furnaces and fireplaces. A mostly residential avenue, lawns where the stores are now, the white frame houses darkened with that same smoke, and an electric tram ascending the hill, like something out of some shabbier, more realistic version of Disneyland.

Then blink again, everything reversing."

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