Monday, January 23, 2006

Time Machine Cuba by William Gibson

How an important person from modern Science Fiction discovered Science Fiction. From the Infinite Matrix website.

Time Machine Cuba by William Gibson

"I learned of science fiction and history in a single season.

"History I found in the basement of an old brick house I happened to pass each day, on my way to elementary school, in a small town in Virginia.

"This house stood vacant, but was in too conspicuous a state of repair to seem haunted, and had never interested me. One afternoon, though, I noted that workmen had arrived, and that some sort of renovation was being prepared for. Squeezing in past a sheet of plywood, I explored a series of cold, empty rooms. One of these (my heart beat faster) contained a damp old trunk. Having worked up the nerve to open it, I found only a few faded lithographs (as I now imagine they were) of airplanes. But these were airplanes unlike any I had seen, and they held my attention in a peculiar way. They were old, clearly of some other era, but exciting, and somehow frightening as well. Squatting there, staring at them, I felt as though some enormous wedge of information was being driven into my head. Various bits and pieces of half-knowledge were coming together, forming some new and utterly unexpected whole. I already knew, as if by osmosis, that there had been a war, though I didn't know when, or with whom. I had been raised, so far, by adults who sometimes spoke of 'the war' as some previous time or era or world, but I had somehow never associated that with other, more vague ideas of some past and general conflict. I had read comic books about war, and played with military toys, but had never considered how those might fit into some way the world had actually been."