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Professor John Sutherland and the "hyperlinked cloud of annotations"

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Professor John Sutherland, a distinguished professor of English at Universities in both the UK and USA , was intrigued by the idea of the "hyperlinked cloud of annotations" which William Gibson's Spook Country was subjected to by the Node Magazine project, and this blog etc.


William Gibson's "Spook Country" annotations via Node Magazine, and - "the future of literary criticism", according to Professor John Sutherland

Interestingly, he has created his own hyperlinked annotation of his own book, eschewing the use of conventional footnotes, for web URLs and an accompanying website.

In the portal, or 'gateway' notes to websites which follow I have, in the main, avoided reference to the obvious wikipedia, IMDb, ODNB and Britannica sites---although in many cases they will be a reader's first port of call. The principal aim of this e-annotation is to thicken the cultural texture of the book: in a number of places by offering audio-visual, as well as conventional annotation.

Conventional annotation aims to encase knowledge, as apparatus criticus. What I have attempted here is something different. William Gibson, the, pioneer of 'cyberpunk', who has pioneered this kind of web-reference, likens the reader to a worm crawling through cheese. The cheese doesn't change, but every worm creates a different passage through it. The following are my suggested wormholings through, and out of, what I have written.

John Sutherland


Magic Moments: The Books the Boy Loved and Much Else Besides
by John Sutherland
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd (25 Sep 2008)
ISBN-10: 1846680786
ISBN-13: 978-1846680786
RRP: £10.99

The Reverend Rat and William Gibson and the "achingly rare" poster

{via FashionPolice on the William Gibson Board]

The Reverend Rat's photos should be online shortly, but here is a good picture of The Reverend Rat presenting William Gibson with the "Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes" London bus shelter poster, which William Gibson has described as "madly hip" and "achingly rare", at the Forbidden Planet signing of Spook Country on Wednesday 29th August 2007.



The Reverend Rat now published some photos and the dedication of thanks to him inscribed by William Gibson in a copy of Spook Country in this Rat's Blog entry

I got another chance to see William Gibson and to get him to sign my copies of Count Zero and the Mondo 2000 crew's The Reverend Rat brought genuine surprise and joy to William Gibson, by, in return for a nicely dedicated signed copy of Spook Country presenting him with an original rare but spooky poster which appeared at London Bus Shelters in 2002, which William Gibson had been trying to obtain.


William Gibson described the poster on his blog as "madly hip" and promised Rat that it would be "expensively framed and archived" and displayed at his home. See William Gibson's on his blog.

Snaps of William Gibson arriving at the TUC conference centre by taxi.

The other William Gibson Board members and other fans who attended the TUC conference event on Tuesday 28th August 2007, seemed to have lots of cameras and the skill to use them, so they have better pictures of the event inside.

I was was one of the first people to notice William Gibson and his minders arrive by taxi, so here are a couple of snaps:


Slightly larger zoom in of William Gibson and minders:


William Gibson stopping to admire the black Lexus(?) car ? Note the ACR 3A-1 Einsatztasche by Acronym ® GmbH


A fuller report and more photos late,

William Gibson mentioned Node website at least twice during his reading, talk and signing session at the TUC conference centre in London:

  • The very first second question the moderator asked about was the impact of the annotations in the Node magazine - William Gibson seemed to be positive about them, but noted that the previous PR-otaku site for Pattern Recognition took about a year to appear after publication, whilst this project, to which I have added my own annotations here on this blog, happened even before the official book publication date.

  • When asked about the impact of "micro-celebrity" and "Web 2.0" technology, William Gibson again cited his meeting with patternboy who made an impact from a small town in Colorado, with the help of international contributors.

William Gibson said that this was one of the few, genuinely new uses of technology he had come across recently.

I met up with some fun loving members of the William Gibson Board - Hacking the Gibson in London !, who brought more than one sophisticated camera each on average. We visited the Science Museum, Covent Garden and then the TUC conference centre.

Here is my snapshot during the biggest WGB Rest Room Invasion photo yet:



The Sci-Fi London co-sponsors of the event have now (September 6th) put up a
streamcast video (needs Flash 9), of the Questions and Answers session, with Professor John Sutherland as moderator.

William Gibson and the "Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes" poster

This "madly hip" poster "Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes"


which William Gibson, currently in Edinburgh on his book promotion tour, refers to in his blog posting of Sunday 26th August 2007 is not part of the current security theatre campaign by Transport for London, the Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police Service.

I have a friend here in London, The Reverend Rat, a streetwise cyberpunk and technology hardware hacker and recycler, who has one of the original posters from a bus shelter, exactly as depicted above.

He would be loathe to part with it, but he is willing to investigate getting a colour photocopy made, if someone would be willing to reimburse the costs, and to throw in a copy of Spook Country. which he cannot, at the moment, afford to purchase.

Email me at:
(use of the PGP public encryption keyis optional) if you are interested in such a photocopy.

The Sci-Fi London film festival page which advertises the details for the "Evening with William Gibson" at the TUC conference centre in London at 7pm on Tuesday 28th August, now has a competition, presumably run by Blackwell's Bookshop:

"We have five pairs of tickets to the talk along with five copies of SPOOK COUNTRY to give away. To be in the draw answer the following question: Keanu Reeves starred in the movie version of Gibson's short story JOHNNY MNEMONIC. How else are Reeves and Gibson linked? E-mail your answer by August 21 2007."

subject: William Gibson

Where are the United Kingdom reviews of "Spook Country" ?

Despite the official publication of the UK edition of William Gibson's Spook Country on Thursday 2nd August, several days ahead of the official release of the US edition, there are disappointingly few British media reviews of the novel.

Let me re-phrase that there have been zero reviews published so far by the mainstream newspapers or broadcast media.

There has been:

There has been no book promotion approaching even a fraction of that lavished on the Harry Potter books in any of the UK high street book store chains, and even the big central London bookstores have been treating Spook Country as if it were the deliberately self effacing and anti-publicity Node magazine which forms part of the plot.

Forbidden Planet Megastore has finally, after a month or so, confirmed that they will have a signing on Wednesday 29th August and have printed up their usual in house posters and leaflets, but they had no copies of the book on display on Friday.


* Wednesday 29th August 1pm @ Forbidden Planet Megastore 179 Shaftesbury Avenue

Forbidden Planet Megastore street map

Latitude: N51:30:54 ( 51.514896 )
Longitude: W0:07:39 ( -0.127591 )

Another Friday, another physical trip to the Forbidden Planet Megastore, another enquiry of the Book Department staff (a different person from the previous time), but the same Answer.

The FP staff are still not aware of any Forbidden Planet book signing by William Gibson. There is still no promotional material either from Penguin or any in house Forbidden Planet printed posters and leaflets, which they have for other authors' releases and signings during July, August and September. There is still no mention of William Gibson on the Forbidden Planet Signings web page.

Therefore I think that the Forbidden Planet signing still needs to be confirmed by someone from Penguin Books or someone more senior at Forbidden Planet.

Blackwell's bookshop dig out a UK edition of "Spook Country" for me

On Friday afternoon, I also popped in to Blackwell's bookshop at 100 Charing Cross Road - see this location map


Blackwell's staff were aware of their signing promotion, but thought that it was "in September" (actually on Tuesday 28th August at 7pm at the TUC conference centre in Great Russell Street, near the British Museum), and that they might advertise this on their website "soon". Again, there was no Penguin or Blackwell promotional material on display.

However, Blackwell's did have a couple of copies of Spook Country on their computerised inventory. A helpful member of staff searched through three boxes of newly delivered books, to dig one out for me !

N.B. the UK publication date is August 2nd, ahead of the US one on August 7th.

It seems that there will, after all, be a Forbidden Planet signing Wednesday 29th August 1pm - 2pm by William Gibson of his new book Spook Country

Still nothing on the Forbidden Planet website signings page, but according to this blog posting on theUK SF Book News Network

We've just this minute received the following announcement from Forbidden Planet: "We are pleased to announce that William Gibson will be signing copies of his new novel Spook Country at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, on Wednesday 29th August from 1.00 to 2.00 p.m."

See also An Evening with William Gibson - London, Tuesday 28th August 2007, 7pm, (TUC) Congress Centre, Great Russell Street


William Gibson @ the Edinburgh Book Festival Monday 27th August 2007

There is one confirmed London date on the Spook Country promotion tour:

An Evening with William Gibson - London, Tuesday 28th August 2007, 7pm, (TUC) Congress Centre, Great Russell Street - tickets £7 via Blackwell booksellers telephone line +44(0)845 456 9876 Mon - Fri, 9.30am to 6.00pm

However, so far, the rumour of a lunch time and / or evening signing the next day, Wednesday 29th August @ the Forbidden Planet bookshop cannot be confirmed

The signing events section of the Forbidden Planet website has been recently updated with some September signings of Dr Who books etc., but there is no mention of William Gibson.

I went physically to the shop today, and enquired of the helpful and usually well informed counter staff, who checked with their backroom colleagues as well, and none of them had heard of any planned William Gibson signing at Forbidden Planet

There are no Penguin or Forbidden Planet in-house printed posters or leaflets on display even about the publication of Spook Country on 2nd August in the UK (according to Amazon) or 7th August in the USA, let alone anything about any signing or author reading event.

[hat tips to Hasa and ArkanGL

Sci-Fi-London (The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film) and Blackwell booksellers present this forthcoming Spook Country promotional event:

On 28th August we present An Evening with William Gibson at the Congress Centre, Great Russell Street, London.

This venue, in the basement of the Trades Union Congress headquarters building is the same one at which William Gibson gave a reading from, and signed copies of Pattern Recognition in 2003.

Location map (Flash and /or Adobe .pdf -)

Map (

For those of you using your Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation equipment (either for "locative art" or military targeting purposes):

Latitude:N51:31:02 Longitude: W0:07:43

To celebrate the publication of Spook Country, William will be in talking about his new novel, taking questions from the audience and signing copies of Spook Country. Chairperson tbc.

William Gibson is the revered pundit of post-industrialism and creator of cyberspace. It has been several years since Gibson has been to the UK, don't miss this chance to listen to this visionary author.

The event is TUESDAY 28 AUGUST, 7PM at the Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS

His new book SPOOK COUNTRY is released on 7th August.

Tickets £7, concessions £5
Bookings can be made by calling
0845 456 9876
Lines are open Mon - Fri, 9.30am to 6.00pm or visit
Blackwell, 100 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JG

Blackwell bookshop is only a few hundred metres away from the Congress Centre, on the eastern side of Charing Cross Road, between Oxford Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.

Memetic Engineer and friends will be going to this event.

William Gibson @ the Edinburgh Book Festival Monday 27th August 2007

[hat tip to Fashionpolice]:

According to this Edinburgh Book Festival brochure(.pdf):

Monday 27th August 2007

William Gibson


Scottish Power Theatre 7.00pm

The book fesitival location is in Charlotte Square Gardens, in the elegant Georgian development just north of the western end of Princes Street
- see this Street Map

For those of you using your Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation equipment (either for "locative art" or military targeting purposes):

Latitude: N55:57:08
Longitude: W3:12:29

A rare and significant visit from a groundbreaking North American master, bringing his brand new novel to Scotland. William Gibson invented the term 'cyberspace' and his work, ever since the international bestseller Neuromancncer, has been at the cutting edge of futuristic visions of society. His new work Spook Country, set in our more recognisable world, is a major event.

£8.00 £6.00

Special Book Festival Autumn Evening
In as association with Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature

About this blog

This blog is discusses and analyses the new book Spook Country by cyberpunk author William Gibson, published in August 2007.

This will be primarily from a United Kingdom perspective, as some of the themes of espionage and surveillance and hidden forces really do resonate in our endemic Surveillance Society.

This blog has been described, quite fairly, as "otaku-worthy immersion"

Email Contact

email: blog @ SpookCountry [dot] co [dot] uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g.

Spook Country Links

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board Spook Country *NO SPOILERS* forum

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board Spook Country - *SPOILERS OK* forum

William Gibson video about "Spook Country" on YouTube and on the official website.

William Gibson Links

William Gibson blog - written by the author himself, on which he has test marketed fragments of his novel Spook Country whilst writing it.

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board - William Gibson book promtion website in Germany

William Gibson aleph - lots of resources about William Gibson's works.

The Cyberpunk Project - some online texts of some of William Gibson's writings hosted in Russia.

Wikipedia Links

Wikipedia entry for "Spook Country"

Wikipedia "Spook Country" page edit history RSS feed or Atom feed

The character "Hubertus Bigend" has his own fictional Wikipedia entry in "Spook Country", which has now become now a real one.

Node Magazine

  • Node Magazine - a fictional magazine which "seems to be actively preventing the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they begin to exist" mentioned in the hints given about the Spook Country book, which has already been created online by a fan (patternboy), before the book has been published.
  • - Node Magazine is publishing 2 Chapter Summaries and Quotations each day in the 42 day countdown to the official publication of Spook Country
  • Spook Country blog's "cloud of hyperlinks" in numerical chapter order - commentary and annotations on the annotations to Spook Country.

Fictional British TV Spooks

James Bond 007

Stylish, if somewhat far fetched, BBC TV drama based on MI5 the Security Service - Spooks

BBC children's TV series M.I.High

2008 spin off TV series from Spooks [spooks] code 9 , set a few years into the future in 2013, in the Orwellian Police State which has emerged after a nuclear bomb attack on London.

Fictional Spooks

The Spy Wise Blog by Wesley Britton

Real Spooks

MI5 - the Security Service - counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, domestic surveilance

GCHQ - the Government Communications Head Quarters - intercepting and deciphering enemy communications, and protecting UK ones.

MI6 - SIS - the Secret Intelligence Service - mostly foreign intelligence - not quite like depicted in James Bond films.

Ex - Spooks - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6. There are also links to Cryptome's archives of articles and alleged, unproven, lists of names of former or mcurrent MI6 agents (including, improbably, some UK Ambassadors), which caused lots of controversy. Tomlinson denies publishing anything not already in the public domain.

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Spooky Info - including various spooky documents which some Government agencies would prefer not to be online.

Alan Turnbull's - "An entertaining guide to using Internet-based research tools – Ordnance Survey's maps, Getmapping's aerial photos and Google Earth! to reveal the UK's "hidden" MoD facilities and military sites"

Eye Spy Magazine - " The world's leading newsstand magazine on intelligence and espionage" - photos, articles, book reviews, private sector surveillance equipment and services adverts etc. N.B. Sometimes uncritical articles on various anti-terrorism and espionage topics, presumably in order to keep in favour with their anonymous sources.

Historical Spooks

Science Museum, London - Science of Spying Exhibition - for Spy Kids of all ages until September 2007.

Bletchley Park - "Historic site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer."

Imperial War Museum. London

Spooky CyberPunks and CyberGoths

The Dose is a "free, downloadable PDF zine ranging from industrial and gothic music to indie game development, Japanese visual kei, eyecandy, cyberpunkness" produced in Hungary.The three (so far annual) issues so far, with another promised in July 2007 contain plenty of CyberPunk and CyberGoth images and reviews, with the occasional reference back to William Gibson or other cyberpunk fiction authors.

Spy / Surveillance Art Projects

Spy Box - "A digital camera inside a parcel looks out through a small hole and captures images of its journey through the postal system. The Spy Box was sent from my studio to the gallery taking an image every 10 seconds recording a total of 6994 images these were then edited together to create an animated slideshow." - by artist Tim Knowles

Benjamin Males - "Face Targeting and Analysis System (2008) - Software designed to find and analyse faces in a video stream. First stage in an ongoing project looking at the potential misuse of technology"

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

As part of the preparations for William Gibson book signing and lecture event promoting Spook Country in London, during August 2007, this "local knowledge" guide to places of interest to cyberpunk fans was compiled, and has been subsequently expanded.

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide -

Please feel free to add comments or send emails, to keep it up to date.

Zero History


Zero History blog - - discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's forthcoming novel, entitled Zero History, which is due to be published on 7th September 2010.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Syndicate this site (XML):

Zero History


Zero History blog - - discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's forthcoming novel, entitled Zero History, which is due to be published on 7th September 2010.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Cover Artwork

US cover art (the design we prefer):

UK cover art:

See how the cover artwork designs have changed slightly over time in the Cover Artwork category archive

"Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation

Our "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence

The Node Magazine, which this was a collaborative online contribution to, was online even before the official publication date of the first hardback edition of the book in August 2007.

This has been commented on by the author William Gibson, and described by Emeritus Professor of English Literature John Sutherland as "the future of literary crticism"

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