Happy Birthday William Gibson: Interesting facts about the pioneer of cyberpunk in fiction – Hindustan Times

The man who coined the term cyberspace in the 1982 short story Burning Chrome, William Ford Gibson was born on March 17, 1948. Widely credited with pioneering the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk, Gibson began his career as a writer in the late 1970s, thematically, focusing on effects of cybernetics, technology and computer networks on human lives.

His futuristic debut novel Neuromancer, which was published in 1984, follows a washed-up computer hacker, Henry Case, who is hired for a job, which pits him against a powerful AI. Neuromancer was the first novel to be put under the genre of cyberpunk fiction, going on to becoming the first novel to win Nebula Award, Philip K Dick Award and Hugo Award.

Neuromancer was the beginning of a trilogy, which came to be known as the famed dystopic Sprawl series. After having lost his father early in life, the author and his mother would move to Wytheville. However, Gibsons mum too passed when he was 18.

Gibson never graduated, and instead immersed himself in counterculture as he travelled between California and Europe. As a youngster, the author consciously rejected religion and instead took refuge in science fiction as well as authors as Burroughs and Henry Miller. In 1967 the author elected to move to Canada in order to avoid being drafted to the Vietnam War.

Before becoming an author, Gibson worked as a teaching assistant for three years on a film history course. During this time, Gibson met punk musician and author John Shirley and they became lifelong friends. It was Shirley who persuaded the author to publish his early short stories and take writing as a serious career option.

Gibson was subsequently introduced to Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner through Shirley, and in 1982, after a week in Austin, Texas, the four along with Rudy Rucker would go on to form the core of the radical cyberpunk literary movement.

Gibsons early short stories focus on cybernetics and cyberspace on human lives and their thematic intermingling, going to develop into a bleak film noir feel in 1981.

Reports say that after watching the 1982 cyberpunk film Blade Runner, Gibson, who had already written two-thirds of his debut novel Neuromancer, he re-wrote two-thirds of the book twelve times, fearing it would be a failure.

However, on its publication, Neuromancer quickly became an underground hit, going on to win a triple crowns in science fiction.

It was Gibsons novels Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007) and Zero History (2010) which put him into mainstream bestseller lists.

The author, who is credited with renovating science fiction, at a time when the genre was considered to be widely insignificant, has gone on to publish the 2014 novel The Peripheral, followed by Archangel in 2017. He last published Agency, which was a sequel to The Peripheral, which was released on January, 2020.

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Happy Birthday William Gibson: Interesting facts about the pioneer of cyberpunk in fiction - Hindustan Times

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