William Ford Gibson was born in Conway, South Carolina. He left the US to avoid the draft and was educated at the University of British Columbia (BA in English, 1977). He married Deborah Thompson in 1972), and they had two children.
He was an early member of the SFPA.
After publishing a few short stories, many of them in Omni, he emerged as the leading exponent of "cyberpunk," a new school of SF writing, by creating "cyberspace," a computer-simulated reality that shows the nature of information. First publication: "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" in Unearth (Summer, 1977/Issue Number Three); First novel: Neuromancer (Ace, 1984); First collection: Burning Chrome (Arbor House, 1986) [contains 10 stories, including Gibson's early cyberpunk stories].
Critics have been lavish in their praise of Gibson's first novel, calling it the most famous and influential SF novel of the 1980s. And the "Neuromancer trilogy"-- Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)-- has made him a public icon. [A graphic novel of Neuromancer, text by Tom De Haven and illustrations by Bruce Jensen, was published in 1989; and a 20th anniversary edition of this seminal cyberpunk novel, with a new introduction by Gibson and an afterword by Jack Womack, was issued in 2004.]
Difference Engine (1990) with Bruce Sterling was a Victorian alternate history. Virtual Light (1993), Idoru (1996), and All Tomorrow's Parties (1999) form another popular trilogy of novels. Furthermore, with his cyberpunk colleagues and sometime co-authors Bruce Sterling, Lewis Shiner, and John Shirley, Gibson has created a new literary sub-genre.
Agrippa – a poem about Gibson's childhood, with etchings by Dennis Ashbaugh produced on a computer diskette that self-destructed after one play – was released in 1992. His short story, "Johnny Mnemonic," originally published in 1981, was made into a film of the same name in 1995; and Gibson wrote the screenplay.
Pattern Recognition, the first of his novels to be set in the present rather than the future [and the first in which his characters are allowed to be "fully human"] was published in 2003. Spook Country followed in 2007. Zero History was published in 2010, and concluded the "Blue Ant" trilogy begun by Pattern Recognition and continued by Spook Country.
Graphic novel versions of his work have been published, as well as computer games based on Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic. He has written for television, and was the subject of the documentary No Maps for These Territories in 2001.
He was interviewed (twice) in the Winter 1987 issue (#1) of Science Fiction Eye [a special cyberpunk issue]; an interview with Gibson and Bruce Sterling appeared in the May 1991 issue of Locus; and he was interviewed by himself in the May 2003 ("Crossing Borders") and the November 2007 ("Cognitive Weirdness") issues. A profile of Gibson, "Present Worries in Future Tense" by David L. Ulin, appeared in the March 4, 2003 issue of the Los Angeles Times.
Gibson on SF: "In some incredibly bone-simple way, nobody can write about the future, and somehow in reading science fiction and talking about it we forget that."
Manuscript/Book Collection: . References: William Gibson (1992) by Lance Olsen; Cyberpunk and Cyberculture: Science Fiction and the Work of William Gibson (2000) by Dani Cavallaro.
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1984 -- Nebula
- 1985 -- Best Novel Hugo, Philip K. Dick Award and Ditmar Award for Neuromancer
- 1986 -- Disclave 30, ArmadilloCon 8
- 1987 -- Seiun Award
- 1989 -- Dasa for Mona Lisa Overdrive
- 1991 -- Westercon 44
- 1994 -- Constantinople
- 1996 -- VCON 21, Readercon 8
- 2008 -- Science Fiction Hall of Fame
- 2014 -- Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame
- 2019 -- Damon Knight Grand Master
- Five Hugo nominations
- SF Chronicle Award for best novel
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