"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
One of the elements I most admire in Gibson's work is the use of archaic devices to provide a background for the high technology elements. A favorite is this talking head, which spurns inexpensive digital voice reproduction in favor of an elaborate mechanism which creates a woodwind-like sound.
There are lots of other examples; I particularly liked his description of the living quarters of the owner of an entire orbital village, which contained "old" pieces of technology that are current in the 1980's, when the novel was written.
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'I want you to build me some of those.'
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'The... machine, being homotropic, headed toward them, still bleating...'
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'He waved his hand... the circuit switched...'
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'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'
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'And just as a daydreamer forgets his actual surroundings, and sees other realities...'
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A battery-free phone.
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'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'
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'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '
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'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'
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