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William Gibson (1948 - )

Related: science fiction literature - cyberpunk - American literature

Neuromancer (1984) - William Gibson
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Biography

William Ford Gibson (1948-) is a Canadian author, mostly of science fiction novels. He is one of the leading members of the cyberpunk movement.

His early works are generally futuristic stories about the influences of cybernetic and cyberspace (computer simulated reality) technology on the human race living in the imminent future. His first novel, Neuromancer, won three major science-fiction awards.

[...] More recently, Gibson has begun to move away from the fictional dystopias that made him famous, towards a more realist style of writing that eschews the trademark jump-cuts in favour of continuity and narrative flow. The novel Pattern Recognition even saw him enter the mainstream bestseller lists for the first time. There is, however, still the obsession with technology, and in particular with its darker, unpredictable side. --http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Gibson

Gibson's Brief Flirtation with Blogging


Friday, September 12, 2003
posted 6:06 AM
LAST POSTCARD FROM COSTA DEL BLOG
Time for me to get back to my day job, which means that itís time for me to stop blogging.
Iíve found blogging to be a low-impact activity, mildly narcotic and mostly quite convivial, but the thing Iíve most enjoyed about it is how it never fails to underline the fact that if Iím doing this Iím definitely not writing a novel Ė that is, if Iím still blogging, Iím definitely still on vacation. Iíve always known, somehow, that it would get in the way of writing fiction, and that I wouldnít want to be trying to do both at once. The image that comes most readily to mind is that of a kettle failing to boil because the lidís been left off. --http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/blog/blog.asp

Cyberpunk [...]

The word "cyberpunk" was coined by Bruce Bethke, and made wildly popular by William Gibson, who coined the term "cyberspace" and popularized it in "Neuromancer" and its sequel novels.

A Typewriter

William Gibson wrote his early cyberspace books on a typewriter, not on a word processor.

Neuromancer (1984) - William Gibson

Neuromancer (1984) - William Gibson
[Amazon.com]
[FR] [DE] [UK] In his science fiction novels, William Gibson's hallucinatory account of cyberspace provided the first social and spatial blueprint for the digital frontier. In his 1984 novel Neuromancer Ė a colorful, disturbing account of our emerging information society Ė he added the word "cyberspace" to our vocabulary. His writings explore the implications of a wired, digital culture, and have had tremendous influence on the scientists, researchers, theorists, and artists working with virtual reality. Gibson's notion of an inhabitable, immersive terrain that exists in the connections between computer networks, a fluid, architectural space that could expand endlessly Ė an invitation to "jack in" to the "digital matrix" Ė has opened the door to a new genre of literary and artistic forms, and has shaped our expectations of what is possible in virtual environments.

More books

  • Mona Lisa Overdrive - William Gibson [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Into the cyber-hip world of William Gibson comes Mona, a young girl with a murky past and an uncertain future whose life is on a collision course with internationally famous Sense/Net star Angie Mitchell. Since childhood, Angie has been able to tap into cyberspace without a computer. Now, from inside cyberspace, a kidnapping plot is masterminded by a phantom entity who has plans for Mona, Angie, and all humanity, plans that cannot be controlled...or even known. And behind the intrigue lurks the shadowy Yakuza, the powerful Japanese underworld, whose leaders ruthlessly manipulate people and events to suit their own purposes.

    An over-the-top thrill ride sequel to Neuromancer and Count Zero. --Amazon.com

    Gibson burst upon the scene in 1984 with Neuromancer, a revolutionary, innovative novel that not only gathered up just about every award in the SF field, but also virtually invented a new sub-genre, which has come to be called "cyberpunk." He followed it with Count Zero , set in the same neon-lit, over-urbanized, polluted, high-tech future; an even better novel, it was necessarily not as breathtakingly unfamiliar and inventive as the first. This new novel completes the series, following the lives of some of the characters from the previous books (Bobby Newmark, Count Zero himself, is here) as well as many new ones, particularly Angie Mitchell, star of simstims and idol of millions, who is intuitively sensitive to cyberspace and the vodun deities that are its manifestations. Told in a gorgeous, highly compressedalmost poeticstyle that requires the reader's attention and intelligence, this very satisfying novel can stand on its own. --Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • Pattern Recognition (2003) - William Gibson [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    The first of William Gibson's usually futuristic novels to be set in the present, Pattern Recognition is a masterful snapshot of modern consumer culture and hipster esoterica. Set in London, Tokyo, and Moscow, Pattern Recognition takes the reader on a tour of a global village inhabited by power-hungry marketeers, industrial saboteurs, high-end hackers, Russian mob bosses, Internet fan-boys, techno archeologists, washed-out spies, cultural documentarians, and our heroine Cayce Pollard--a soothsaying "cool hunter" with an allergy to brand names.

    Pollard is among a cult-like group of Internet obsessives that strives to find meaning and patterns within a mysterious collection of video moments, merely called "the footage," let loose onto the Internet by an unknown source. Her hobby and work collide when a megalomaniac client hires her to track down whoever is behind the footage. Cayce's quest will take her in and out of harm's way in a high-stakes game that ultimately coincides with her desire to reconcile her fatherís disappearance during the September 11 attacks in New York.

    Although he forgoes his usual future-think tactics, this is very much a William Gibson novel, more so for fans who realize that Gibson's brilliance lies not in constructing new futures but in using astute observations of present-day cultural flotsam to create those futures. With Pattern Recognition, Gibson skips the extrapolation and focuses his acumen on our confusing contemporary world, using the precocious Pollard to personify and humanize the uncertain anxiety, optimistic hope, and downright fear many feel when looking to the future. The novel is filled with Gibson's lyric descriptions and astute observations of modern life, making it worth the read for both cool hunters and their prey. --Jeremy Pugh for amazon.com

    Movies

    1. William Gibson - No Maps for These Territories (2003) - Mark Neale (II) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Consider yourself lucky if you've ever had a traveling companion as fascinating as William Gibson is in Maps for These Territories. British documentarian Mark Neale found a perfect conceptual approach to this wide-ranging visit with the founding father of "cyberpunk" science fiction: On a rainy day in 1999, and for several sessions afterwards, Neale drove Gibson around various North American locations in a limousine equipped with sound and video gear, pointing his mini-cams at nothing but Gibson and the passing world outside. Then Neale went a step further, incorporating a superb soundtrack by Tomandandy with readings of Gibson's trend-setting fiction (by U2's Bono, writer Jack Womack, and others), and combining this with digital composites of changing imagery through the limo's windows.

      The result is a fitting context to reflect upon the technology, ideas, and concepts that dominate Gibson's fiction. Fellow cyberpunk pioneer Bruce Sterling is also interviewed, and Gibson's reflections on Neuromancer are essential, but Gibson also describes his need to distance himself from that breakthrough novel, and his other topics--post-humanity, the "mediated" world, drugs, the birth of cyberpunk, technology and pornography, his method of writing, and much, much more--combine to provide a definitive portrait of Gibson on the cusp of a new millennium, as the real world evolves to resemble the world of his fiction. Deleted scenes, additional readings, and behind-the-scenes featurettes add extra dimension to this thoughtful and stimulating DVD. --Jeff Shannon , Amazon.com

    The Difference Engine (1990) - William Gibson, Bruce Sterling

    The Difference Engine (1990) - William Gibson, Bruce Sterling [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    The Difference Engine is an alternate history novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It is a prime example of the steampunk sub-genre.

    The novel posits a Victorian England in which the Industrial Radical party, led by a longer-lived Lord Byron, took power and in which inventor Charles Babbage succeeded in his ambition to build a mechanical digital computer (actually his analytical engine rather than the eponymous difference engine). Following this success, these massive computers have been mass-produced, and their use emulates the innovations which actually occurred during the information technology and Internet revolutions. The novel explores the social consequences of having such a revolution a century before its time.

    The action of the story follows Sybil Gerard, a politician's tart and daughter of an executed Luddite leader; Edward "Leviathan" Mallory, a paleontologist and explorer; and Laurence Oliphant, a diplomat and spy. Linking all their stories is the trail of a mysterious set of reportedly very powerful computer punch cards and the individuals fighting to obtain them. As is the case with special objects in several novels by Gibson, the punch cards are to some extent a MacGuffin.

    In the novel, the British Empire is more powerful than it ever reached in the height of the real British Empire thanks to the power of extremely advanced steam driven technology ranging from computers to airships. Britain opened Japan to Western trade rather than the United States, in part because the United States has broken apart into several smaller nations, the United States, the Confederate States, the Republic of Texas, and a Communist commune in Manhattan. Among other historical characters, the novel features Texan President Sam Houston. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Difference_Engine [Mar 2005]

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