Also known as the Noir Prophet of the Cyberpunk subgenre, William Gibson is an American Canadian science fiction novelist. In his short story, Burning Chrome (1982), Gibson used for the first time and invented the term cyberspace and later used the concept as a base for his debut novel, Neuromancer (1984). Gibson served as an iconographer for the information age before the wide spread of the Internet in 1990s. William Gibson is also associated with very accurately predicting the rise and upcoming popularity of reality television, video games and the World Wide Web. In 1999, The Guardian stated William Gibson as the most important novelist of the past two decades. His vast array of works includes authoring ten acclaimed novels, above twenty short stories in addition to making contributions to various major publications. Pressing a strong influence on the works of other science fiction authors, academics, technology and cyberculture, Gibson has also extensively collaborated in the fields of performing arts, music and film on different projects.
William Ford Gibson was born on March 17, 1948 in Conway, South Carolina. However, he spent most of his childhood in Wytheville, Virginia where he moved with his mother after the death of his father at an early age. Leading a disturbed childhood in isolation, Gibson wanted nothing more than to become a science fiction writer by the age of 12. An anthology he bought on Beat writing at the age of 13 exposed Gibson to the works of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs creating a profound interest in the genre. Frustrated by his constantly poor academic performance, Gibson’s mother sent him to the Southern Arizona School for Boys in Tucson, Arizona. However, Gibson dropped out of the school before graduation at the age of 18 following the death of his mother. He travelled around and immersed himself in the counterculture. In 1967, Gibson moved to Canada where he spent many weeks of joblessness and homelessness before appearing in a CBC show about the hippie culture in Toronto. Also in Toronto, Gibson met Deborah Jean Thompson. The two travelled together and got married in 1972, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In an attempt to qualify for generous student financial aid, Gibson attended the University of British Columbia earning a Bachelor’s degree in English. The exposure to various forms of fiction and literature thoroughly enlightened Gibson, encouraging him to compose his first short story, Fragments of a Hologram Rose. Gibson further strengthened his writing skills following a master’s degree in hard science fiction. At a science fiction convention in Vancouver in 1980, Gibson met punk musician and author John Shirley who not only encouraged Gibson to pursue writing as a full time career but also became his lifelong friend.
Most of Gibson’s early writings are works of near future science fiction with influences of cybernetics and cyberspace. Most famous of these are the short story Burning Chrome and his first novel, Neuromancer. Following the success of Neuromancer, Gibson produced many other interesting works such as Count Zero (1986), Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988), The Difference Engine (1990), Virtual Light (1993), All Tomorrow’s Parties (1999), Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007) and Zero History (2010).
William Gibson lives in Vancouver Canada where he continues to work on writing more science fiction short stories and novels.