After years of speculating about possible futures in his writing, William Gibson recently tried out one the world's contemporary science fictions come true. At SXSW, he strapped on a Gear VR headset for the first time.
According to the tweet documenting the moment, the 67-year-old scifi author proclaimed "They did it!" What exactly did they do?
I asked Ari Kushnir, pictured above placing the Gear VR on Gibson's famous head. Kushnir is an executive producer at the New York production company m ss ng p eces. He showed Gibson a couple of live action VR pieces, including a 360 immersive video his company made for Dos Equis. In the video, you're transported to a Masquerade at The Most Interesting Man In the World's mansion. You sit there for a few minutes as the room fills up with exotically costumed people.
It wasn't all advertisements, thankfully. Gibson also saw a piece called Strangers by Felix and Paul Studios. The five-minute VR short takes you to an intimate moment at the studio loft of musician Patrick Watson. I haven't seen it, but it was selected for Sundance, and critics loved it.
According to Kushnir, Gibson "had never seen live action VR and he flipped out." OK, virtual reality is still a long way from the kinds of crazy experiences we've been dreaming of for decades. But for a student of the future like Gibson, it's not surprising that he was maybe a little excited.