‘Anthropomorphic drones’ and colonized bodies: William Gibson’s the peripheral

Mcfarlane, A. (2016) ‘Anthropomorphic drones’ and colonized bodies: William Gibson’s the peripheral. English Studies in Canada, 42(1-2), pp. 115-131. (doi: 10.1353/esc.2016.0007)

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Abstract

William Gibson tends to write in trilogies, as his first nine novels show. These series – the Sprawl, the Bridge, and the Blue Ant trilogies – are set in three different time periods and are populated by characters who reappear from one book to the next. Given this pattern in Gibson’s writing habits, 2014’s The Peripheral can be considered a new work, set in a separate universe from any of Gibson’s previous novels. However, in terms of its philosophical position, The Peripheral is the continuation of a career-long trajectory. Gibson’s work is consistently concerned with the relationship of the individual to their society and the interface between the two, as mediated through the senses. The Sprawl trilogy and the Bridge trilogy privileged vision as the most important of the senses, particularly in cyberspace where the body is left behind and engagement with virtual reality happens mainly through the eyes gazing on a computer screen. 2003’s Pattern Recognition, the first novel in the Blue Ant trilogy which went on to include Spook Country (2007) and Count Zero (2010), began to resituate the body and specifically the haptic as key to engaging with the world while The Peripheral takes this philosophical journey further, privileging the haptic as a key site of phenomenological engagement.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:William Gibson, cyberpunk, haptics.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mcfarlane, Dr Anna
Authors: Mcfarlane, A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:English Studies in Canada
Publisher:University of Alberta
ISSN:0317-0802
ISSN (Online):1913-4835
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 ESC Digital
First Published:First published in English Studies in Canada 42(1-2): 115-131
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Publisher

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