Jesse Jarnow

fragments of a hologram rose

William Gibson is one of my favorite writers.

Parker lies in the darkness, recalling the thousand fragments of the hologram rose. A hologram has this quality: Recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole image of the rose. Falling toward delta, he sees himself the rose, each of his scattered fragments revealing a whole he’ll never know — stolen credit cards — a burned-out suburb — planetary conjunctions of a stranger — a tank burning on a highway — a flat packet of drugs — a switchblade honed on concrete, thin as pain.

— from “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” (1977), collected in Burning Chrome (1986)

I love how, in the course of a paragraph, Gibson simultaneously invents a completely fictional technology and then employs it poetically to convey real, subtly creeping emotion. Blew me away when I first read it in high school, and blows me away now.

I’m deeply bummed I’m gonna miss his interview at CUNY this weekend, but I’m off to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, where I’ll be on the hunt for real holographic roses.