The Peripheral - William Gibson's future London from Amazon

Same. It’s not great. This week’s episode was, if anything, even weaker. That pointless training fight scene. Why?

So which is it?! .)
About to see for myself…

Chacun a son gout, as they say. I was looking for the thoughtful understanding of the modern world and human nature which permeates every Gibson novel, not a video game fight-fest. Gibson is like le Carre, not like Lee Child.

I suppose the producers think they have to do this to get anyone to watch it.

In a Gibson book, the real fight occurs between opposed groups of quantitative traders to secure funds in a stub. As we know, money buys you agency.

This is lovely, kudos!

I was looking for both, and so far am pretty happy with the show. It isn’t the highest art, but it offers enough quality and intelligence to elevate it above most, in my way of thinking. Also, for me, it is just wildly entertaining. Time has flown during every episode I’ve watched, and I’m always somewhat offended when they end.

In other words, right mix of sauce for me.

Yeah this episode was great too. I like how much potential there is in this world and where the story can go. I like the characters (and actors) - the dialogue between Nuland and the inspector was so good. I like the no-nonsense action scenes. I like that Tommy did exactly what I hoped he would. We finally know what Flynne “stole” and why Nuland is so insistently going after her. Lev Zubov’s hilarious reaction to why Ash and Ossian want to get the data, “why in the fucking hell would you wanna do that?”

And I learned a new word - perspicacity - I don’t think I have ever seen or heard that word before!

On the other hand, “she tried to download the data to Flynn but since Flynn didn’t have any haptics to store the data, the data turned itself into a bacteria in Flynn’s brain” is pure, unadulterated arglebargle. I actually winced at this.

Well, yeah, but is it any more ludicrous than people traveling to the future through a vr headset?

I think ‘yes’.

Loved that, thanks.
And yeah, that’s definitely something that requires suspension of disbelief.

yeah, the level of nanotech that the future has in this show is pretty much past the Vingean Singularity / Clarke’s Law into magic. Constructing an 8 story building in seconds from a bunch of rubble? A headset that converts digital data into info stored on DNA in a bacterium? If the technology is that powerful, you would think they could miraculously heal their own planet and future. (Although I suppose perhaps the theme is that the RI thinks the limitation is human nature, hence the whole “experiment with manipulating the human mind.”)

This is why the Vinge came up with the idea of the Singularity in the first place - he wasn’t imagining an event of some kind of tech apotheosis but rather a limit on where speculative sci-fi could go. Beyond that limit it’s just fantasy.

Anyhow, I feel this show had some good ideas, but the pacing is an issue and I’m still withholding judgement on the show overall.

Now, in terms of high concept sci-fi, you know what I’d love to see one of the streaming giants go for? Walter Jon Williams Aristoi. A classic that goes hard against the Vinge limit but uses a variety of techniques (like Vinge in the Fire Upon the Deep novels) to keep the narrative at least within shooting distance of human scale. Or heck, if we’re doing cyberpunk, somebody needs to adapt Williams Voice of the Whirlwind. That is still my personal favorite cyberpunk novel even above classics like Effinger’s Gravity book and Gibson’s Neuromancer (although Voice v. Neuromancer is a mighty battle.)

Or hell, if we’re going for it, there are two Vinge works that I want to see adapted: Marooned in Realtime although that would require the right team to adapt as it’s pretty cerebral and Fire Upon the Deep, which would require a very hefty budget.

I mean, heck, it’s the golden age of TV sci-fi? Let’s go for it, folks.

Fuck yes! That took me in the way back machine. One of those books that I forget the title of, but as soon as I see it lots of details come flooding back.

They could star with HardWired if they want to make some easy money though. Could be a fun crossover piece to cyberpunk 2077 (or 2020). I think this had the first “rigger” ever portrayed in a book.


…and without being designed to do that in the first place? The headset was designed for someone who already had onboard hardware in which to store data. Why on earth would it have that alternative capability. It’s just silly.

It has been a long time since I read the novel. I can’t recall if the plot revolved around stolen data stored in someone in the stub, but I don’t think it did.

Clearly the nanotech just rebuilt the headset on they fly to enable DNA encoding! Yeah, that’s why it’s Clarke’s Law “science magic”.

I am curious how the liberties taken in the show compare to the actual book. Perhaps the book would be more to my taste?

The book is not silly, and his prose is marvelous. I think you’d like it.

That’s good to hear. After the most recent episode I’m thinking I would like to read the book, because I’m sure it’s better than what’s happening on-screen.

I’m all caught up now…how many episodes to go in this season? Do we know if there’ll be a second one?

IMDB says 8 episodes, so the season finale is this week.

Except the headset is in 2032, before nanotech exists. It was printed on 2032 3d-printers using 2032 technology. No nanotech. It’s dumb, and, obviously, it’s not in the book. The plot in the book makes sense.

I mean, the entire plot of “can they store data from 2099 in 2032?” is stupid. Of course they can. They can pick the lottery numbers. They sent them the plans for the headset. It’s just so stupid.

I’m almost done re-reading the book, and refreshing my memory of it makes me like the show less. It’s impossible for me to judge the show independently from the book. So, maybe if you haven’t read the book (or don’t remember it) you can enjoy the show, but I can’t. This is basically not an adaptation of the book, at all, and honestly I don’t think it’s very good on its own merits either.