The author Ray Bradbury is one of the early science fiction authors that moved science fiction into a literary form. As a writer Bradbury constructs beautifully written stories and novels. Bradbury's writing is in stark contrast to Bradbury as a speaker. The first time I heard Ray Bradbury speak was at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) yearly conference in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Hearing Bradbury speak is an almost painful experience. The pictures that Bradbury can paint with the written word seem to be entirely missing when Bradbury speaks. He is halting, awkward and does not seem to know where he wants to go in his talk.
In contrast to Bradbury, listenting to William Gibson has the feel of his written work. The same complex world view and sentence structure is there, although not as finely edited. An example of this can be found in the documentary made about William Gibson, No Maps for these Territories. This documentary includes extensive interviews with William Gibson. No Maps also provides a glimpse of the way Gibson looks at the interconnections and relationships in the world around us. This view of Gibson's mind shows us his genius.
The mirror between William Gibson's spoken voice and his written voice gives special force to his readings of his work. Early in his career Gibson did an abridged reading of Neuromancer, his first novel and the work that made him famous. It was in this novel that Gibson coined the term cyberspace. This reading was only published on audio-tape and is now out of print.
I hate the idea that Gibson's wonderful reading of Neuromancer should be lost or inaccessable. I was only able to hear it because the Mountain View (California) Library had a copy. Fortunately I've been able to find an MP3 copy of these audio tapes. They can be downloaded below.
I am only providing these MP3s because the original has been out of print for years. As a software engineer I believe that I should be paid for my work. If I hold this view then it is only reasonable that I should also believe that artist should be paid for their work. All of the software and music I own I have paid for (or is open source). I would prefer that the publisher re-issue the audio-tape of William Gibson's reading in a more modern format (perhaps CD) and that William Gibson collect royalties on this work. Gibson's reading has been out of print so long that I can only assume that this is unlikely to happen.
If you're a fan of William Gibson I hope that others will mirror these files as well so that they will never be lost.
This reading was published on four magnetic tape audio cassetts. These have been re-recorded in MP3 format:
|Neuromancer (abridged) read by William Gibson|
|Tape 1, side 1|
|Tape 1, side 2|
|Tape 2, side 1|
|Tape 2, side 2|
|Tape 3, side 1|
|Tape 3, side 2|
|Tape 4, side 1|
|Tape 4, side 2|
Neuromancer is one of the few books that I've read many times. All of Gibson's books are good (well, except for The Difference Engine, but that's Bruce Sterling's fault). Neuromancer is still in print, so you should go out an buy a copy if you want to read it. Writers pay their bills from the royalties from book sales. I've included the link above in case you want to get a feel for the book before you buy it (even paperback books are not cheap these days).
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