From this interview, (which you can also watch above):
I don’t know, I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of the novelist as a vehicle for boosterism. Or the novel as a vehicle for boosterism, because my idea of what good novels do is to kinda go out and read the signs, and come back and make something in their image, and the idea is, the signs aren’t always very good, and lately they’re kind of wildly un-good. But we never know. I mean, the nuclear wasteland of my childhood never happened, in spite of it having been this terribly real emotional place.
I love Neal Stephenson more than most people, but Gibson (who just turned 66, believe it or not) is right on the money here. I have the vague recollection of posting this interview before, but hey, it’s my blog. I can do what I want.