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On an overcast morning in 1999, William Gibson, father of cyberpunk and author of the cult-classic novel Neuromancer, stepped into a limousine and set off on a road trip around North America. The limo was rigged with digital cameras, a computer, a televis
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Consider yourself lucky if you've ever had a traveling companion as fascinating as William Gibson is in No Maps for These Territories. British documentarian Mark Neale found a perfect conceptual approach to this wide-ranging visit with the founding father of "cyberpunk" science fiction: On a rainy day in 1999, and for several sessions afterwards, Neale drove Gibson around various North American locations in a limousine equipped with sound and video gear, pointing his mini-cams at nothing but Gibson and the passing world outside. Then Neale went a step further, incorporating a superb soundtrack by Tomandandy with readings of Gibson's trend-setting fiction (by U2's Bono, writer Jack Womack, and others), and combining this with digital composites of changing imagery through the limo's windows.
The result is a fitting context to reflect upon the technology, ideas, and concepts that dominate Gibson's fiction. Fellow cyberpunk pioneer Bruce Sterling is also interviewed, and Gibson's reflections on Neuromancer are essential, but Gibson also describes his need to distance himself from that breakthrough novel, and his other topics--post-humanity, the "mediated" world, drugs, the birth of cyberpunk, technology and pornography, his method of writing, and much, much more--combine to provide a definitive portrait of Gibson on the cusp of a new millennium, as the real world evolves to resemble the world of his fiction. Deleted scenes, additional readings, and behind-the-scenes featurettes add extra dimension to this thoughtful and stimulating DVD. --Jeff Shannon
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