William Ford Gibson was born March 17, 1948 in Conway, South Carolina. Gibson was the only child of a civilian contractor who was involved in constructing the Oak Ridge facility where the first atomic bomb was created. When his parents separated, he moved with his mother to Wytheville, Virginia. From a young age he was obsessed with science fiction, and wrote for various local 'zines. The obsession waned into his teenage years, as few of his friends shared his love of sci-fi. After his father's premature death, Gibson left for boarding school in southern Arizona.
Briefly he returned to Virginia after completing his secondary education. With the onset of the Vietnam War and a low draft lottery number, at the age of 19, Gibson fled the US for Toronto's Yorkville district along with many others avoiding conscription.
When he was accepted as an English major to the University of British Columbia, Gibson shifted to Vancouver in 1972. A subject in science fiction revived his childhood passion. Instead of a term paper for the course, he wrote "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" later to be published in UnEarth Magazine in 1977. After publishing a series of short stories in Omni magazine, an editor from Ace Books contacted Gibson and encouraged him to try his hand at writing longer works. Gibson wrote Neuromancer. Published in 1984, the same year as the release of the Apple Macintosh, Neuromancer won the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and the Nebula Award.
Whilst Gibson is almost always credited with coining the term 'cyberspace', Gibson himself often points to other authors for the design of the concept. Ray Bradbury, one of his favorite childhood authors, describes cyberspace in his short story 'The Veldt', where children lure their parents into a virtual world wherein they are eaten by lions. 'The Veldt' was published in 1952.
Post-Neuromancer, Gibson manages to write at least one novel every three years, and has travelled extensively following his fame. He toured Japan in 1992, and found the experience edifying. He has also tried scriptwriting to varying degrees of success, with a script for Aliens3 and episodes of the X-files. Only his idea of bar-coded prisoners made it into the final script of Aliens, and his dallying with Mulder and Scully is often panned by X-philes.
His single published work of poetry, Agrippa was a literally self-destructive work dealing with the death of his father. Coded as a computer program, it destroys itself as it is read.
Whilst Gibson has possibly seen the death of cyberpunk, its death has come through its very popularity and crossover into the mainstream. Since writing the Sprawl trilogy, Gibson's oeuvre has slowly drifted away from harder science fiction towards the softer sciences. His latest work, Pattern Recognition is set in post-911 era rather than some distant future, and stars documentary makers and marketers rather than hackers and ninjas. Gibson remains a popular futurist.
Works by William Gibson
Short Stories from Burning Chrome
The stories in Burning Chrome were earlier published in various magazines.
Other Articles And Stories
- "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" UnEarth Publications Summer 1977
- "Johnny Mnemonic" Omni, 1981
- "The Gernsback Continuum" Universe 11, 1981
- "The Belonging Kind"(with John Shirley ), Shadows 4, 1981
- "Hinterlands" Omni, 1982
- "Red Star, Winter Orbit" (with Bruce Sterling) Omni, 1983
- "New Rose Hotel", Omni, 1985
- "The Winter Market", Stardate, 1986
- "Dogfight" (with Michael Swanwick), Omni, 1985
- "Burning Chrome" Omni, 1985
- Mirrorshades Anthology, 1986 (ed. Bruce Sterling), also includes "The Gernsback Continuum" and "Red Star, Winter Orbit"
- "Rocket Radio", Rolling Stone, June 15 1989
- "Doing Television", The Face ?, 1991, p.81-82
- "Darwin", Spin Magazine, 1991, p.60-61
- "Academy Leader in Cyberspace : First Steps" in Cyberspace: First Steps, (1991) Ed. Michael Benedikt, The MIT Press
- "The Nazi Lawn Dwarf Murders" (unpublished) (Tom Maddox, Gibson's partner on the two X-Files scripts claims in a 1989 article that Gibson wrote a story titled thus. yet to be verified)
- "Hippie Hat Brain Parasite" in SEMIOTEXT(E) (1989), Eds. Rudy Rucker, Peter Lamborn Wilson and Robert Anton Wilson, Ak Press, pp 109-112
- "Thirteen Views of a Cardboard City" in New Worlds 64:222, Ed. David Garnett White Wolf Publishing, pp 338-349
- "Skinner's Room" (1990) in catalog for SFMOMA Visionary San Francisco, SFMOMA and Prestel-Verlag, Munich
- "Disneyland with the Death Penalty", Wired1.4, Sept-Oct. 1993, p. 51-114
- "Preface to Heatseeker" in John Shirley, Heatseeker (1989), Scream/Press
- "Foreword to the novel Dhalgren" in Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren (1996), Wesleyn University Press
- "Foreword to the novel City Come A-Walking" in John Shirley City Come A-Walking (1996), Eyeball Books
- "Foreword to the reissue of The Artificial Kid" in Bruce Sterling, The Artificial Kid (1997) Cortext
- "Review of The Acid House" in SF Eye, Spring 1996
- "Jack Womak and the Horned Heart of Neuropa." in SF Eye, Fall 1997
- "My Own Private Tokyo" in Wired 9.09, September 2001
Adaptations not involving William
For potential Gibson stalkers, the original typewritten manuscript of Neuromancer is available at the University of British Columbia library.
- Agrippa (1992) - self deconstructing poetry with Dennis Ashbaugh, Kevin Begos Publishing Inc
- Wild Palms - Gibson's first acting role, playing himself. The self-deprecating interaction with Gibson runs as follows
Paige: This is William Gibson, Harry.
Harry: Oh, yeah ... Neuromancer, right?
Paige: He invented the word "cyberspace".
Gibson: And they'll never let me forget it.
- Alien3 - screenplay. Not used in film
- Johnny Mnemonic (1995) - screenplay
- Kill Switch - episode of The X-Files (co-written with Tom Maddox), Episode 5X11, First aired February 15, 1998.
- First Person Shooter - episode of The X-Files (also co-written with Tom Maddox), Episode 7ABX13, First aired March 5, 2000.
- Neuromancer (1999) - script?? Wired 7.02] mentions that Gibson penned a script for Chris Cunningham. No movie to date.
- Floating Away (1993) - song lyrics. Gibson "sings" with Yellow Magic Orchestra.
- Dog Star Girl(1993) - song lyrics. Gibson co-wrote "Dog Star Girl" with Chris Stein on Deborah Harry's "Debravation" album.
- No Maps for these Territories (2000) - Documentary.
- Pattern Recgnition (2004) - script.
An excellent bio exists at http://www.futures.hawaii.edu/j7/LOWENTHAL.pdf
and bibliography at http://www.slip.net/~spage/gibson/biblio.htm