Meet novelist Alix Christie at the Bay Area site that inspired
her childhood passion for metal type,
the M & H foundry now run by Arion Press.
Before there was Zuckerberg there was Gutenberg. Alix Christie plunges us into the world of a more than 500-year-old technological revolution that bears some startling similarities to our own digital transformation.
The year is 1450, and Peter Schoeffer, an ambitious young scribe, is called back from Paris to Mainz, his hometown on the Rhine. There he is unwillingly thrust into a workshop financed by his foster father, the forward-looking merchant Johann Fust. It is a strange, dark place run by a driven master named Johann Gutenberg, its purpose the manufacture of books in a new – and to some, blasphemous – way: with a secret invention known as a printing press.
It is a period of great ferment in a turbulent Holy Roman Empire: Newly wealthy merchants in their Kaufhaus are angling for power; a corrupt Archbishop duels with the Pope; scribes copy both religious and secular texts while priests milk a deeply religious populace for indulgences. Against this backdrop, Schoeffer finds himself torn between two father-figures, between resentment and grudging love for a master both brilliant and stormy, and between hiding or revealing this shocking invention from the woman he loves. As he moves from reluctant apprentice to overseer of a book that will change the world, Peter must steer the Bible and the crew of men creating it through a cataclysmic time, while battling to prevail against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, none greater than the crushing power of the Catholic Church.
Like all of us today, Peter Schoeffer straddles an unnerving and exhilarating fissure between the old ways and the new. At its heart, GUTENBERG’S APPRENTICE is both a story about loyalty, betrayal and the price of true human greatness, and a parable of technological transformation.
Alix Christie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an author, journalist and letterpress printer. She learned the craft of letterpress printing as an apprentice to two master California printers, including her grandfather, the foreman of the last hot type foundry in San Francisco, Mackenzie & Harris, which continues as the nation's last commercial foundry, operating in the Presidio as part of Arion Press. Alix owns and operates a 1910 Chandler & Price letterpress. Christie earned her MFA from St Mary’s College, where she studied under Michael Chabon and Susan Straight. She currently lives in London, where she reviews books and arts for The Economist. GUTENBERG’S APPRENTICE is her first novel.
- Arion Press
- 1802 Hays Street in the Presidio
- San Francisco ,
- Postal Code:
- United States
“Spectacular, a piece of trenchant, far-future speculation that features all the eyeball kicks of Neuromancer and all the maturity and sly wit of Spook Country. It’s brilliant.”
Cory Doctorow, bestselling author of Little Brother and Homeland, co-editor of Boing Boing
New York Times-bestselling author William Gibson returns to fiction after four years with THE PERIPHERAL. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Gibson's award-winning debut novel, Neuromancer, which predicted, via his original concept of “cyberspace”, much of today’s Internet. He also conceptualized video games and the rise of reality TV long before they became ubiquitous. After setting his three most recent novels in our science-fictional present, Gibson ventures back the future with a high tech thriller that is also a murder mystery, a provocative social and political commentary, and a far-seeing introduction to the realm of advanced haptics (the science of adding tactile feedback to technological systems).
Flynne, a young woman from a decaying near-future American town, takes a temporary job testing a new computer game, or so she's told. While remotely operating a security drone over a futuristic version of London, she witnesses what she assumes is the simulation of a horrifying murder—or is it real? Soon she finds herself in the 22nd Century, virtually present in a hauntingly beautiful android drone, “a peripheral”, with the fate of her own “past” world depending on her.
William Gibson is the is the author of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Liza Overdrive, Burning Chrome, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History, and Distrust That Particular Flavor. Neuromancer was the first novel to win the three top science fiction prizes—the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award. He is also a recipient of the Ditmar, and Seiun awards, as well as the Prix Aurora. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife. It is an honor to have him return to The Booksmith.
Reserved seats are available with a pre-order of The Peripheral at The Booksmith. The book arrives on 10/28, but if you pre-order and ask for a seating voucher, you'll receive that with your receipt; you'll pick up your book when you arrive for this talk. Offer good while supplies last! When all seats are reserved, there will be standing room available, and full sound throughout the store.
- 1644 Haight St.
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