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William Gibson


William Gibson
© Michael O'Shea

William Gibson Birth:

William Gbson was born March 17, 1948 in Conway, South Carolina.

William Gibson Background:

William Gibson was an only child. His father was a contractor who helped build some of the Oak Ridge atomic facilities, moved the family regularly, and choked to death while on a business trip. Thereafter, Gibson grew up in a small town in Virginia's Appalachian Mountains where he says he "became exactly the sort of introverted, hyper-bookish boy you'll find in the biographies of most American science fiction writers, obsessively filling shelves with paperbacks and digest-sized magazines, dreaming of one day becoming a writer myself."
Gibson's mother sent him to a boarding school in Arizona when he was 15, where he read Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and crafted what he called a "less Lovecraftian persona;" he left school before graduating after his mother died when he was 18.

Gibson became part of the counterculture in the mid-1960s, traveling the U.S. and Europe before moving to Toronto, Canada to dodge the Vietnam war draft. There he met Deborah Jean Thompson, with whom he traveled Europe, got married, and settled in Vancouver in 1972.
He stayed at home with their first child while his wife taught school, and he enrolled at the University of British Columbia where he was exposed to a wider range of fiction than he had been previously. It was shortly after graduating with an English degree in 1977 that Gibson began to write.

William Gibson's Writing:

William Gibson's early writings combined a punk ethic with high tech into a genre that became known as cyberpunk. His distinct style fused low-life culture with cybernetics and virtual reality.

Neuromancer (1984), Gibson's first novel, won the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award. It is an inspired amalgam of cyberspace, drug addiction, and Japanese chic that became the basis of his later work. Neuromancer is the first in the Sprawl trilogy which includes Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988).
Following the Sprawl trilogy was the Bridge trilogy - Virtual Light (1993), Idoru (1996), and All Tomorrow's Parties (1999) - and the Bigend trilogy - Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007) and Zero History (2010).

With each book, Gibson's future became closer and closer to our present. In fact, the latest trilogy is set squarely in the present day. Gibson has become more subtle with his characterizations and themes - his heroes aren't the strung out junkies they once were. Instead, they are cool-hunters and futurists with the same counterculture tendencies as their creator and the same nose for trends.
But if Gibson has smoothed the rough edges of his subject matter, his prose is sharper than it has ever been. His sentences are often pleasurably labyrinthine in their construction, and his stories are as spell-binding as they were when I met them nearly a quarter of a century ago.

William Gibson's Novels:

Bigend Trilogy Bridge Trilogy
  • Virtual Light (1993)
  • Idoru (1996)
  • All Tomorrow's Parties (1999)
Sprawl Trilogy
  • Neuromancer
  • Count Zero (1986)
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)

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