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William Ford Gibson was born March 17, 1948 in Conway, South Carolina but left the United States for Canada when he was nineteen. The only son of a civilian contractor who had prospered during the construction of the Oak Ridge facility that manufactured the first atomic bomb, Gibson spent his childhood with his widowed mother in a small town in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, attended a boarding school in southern Arizona, and at age 19 left the United States for Canada in order to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War. Since 1972, he has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and their two children. ¶

Gibson began to write fiction while attending the University of British Columbia, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English literature. His first novel, 'Neuromancer' won the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and the Nebula Award in 1984. Gibson is credited with having coined the term 'Cyberspace', and with having envisioned both the internet and virtual reality before most people had even heard of them. His subsequent novels are 'Count Zero' (1986), 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' (1988), the bestselling 'Virtual Light' (1993), 'Idoru' (1996), and the recently published 'All Tomorrow's Parties' (1999). He has also written a collaborative novel, 'The Difference Engine' (1991), with Bruce Sterling. His short stories are collected in 'Burning Chrome' (1986). ¶

'Neuromancer' very soon gained a cult status by being one of the first novels in a new science fiction genre called cyberpunk. The cyberpunk literature of the eighties had a very pessimistic view of the future, predicting the rise of multinational capitalistic corporations, and showing the negative effects the forthcoming new technologies may have on everyday human life. Although it has been said that cyberpunk as a literary genre is already dead, the ideas William Gibson presented in his novels are now appearing in many other contexts - both artistic, sociological and technical. ¶

 ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA ENTRY (taken from www.britannica.com)

Gibson, William; March 17, 1948, Conway, S.C., U.S.; American writer of science fiction who was the leader of the genre's 'cyberpunk' movement. ¶

Gibson grew up in southwestern Virginia. After dropping out of high school in 1967, he traveled to Canada and eventually settled there, earning a B.A. (1977) from the University of British Columbia. Many of Gibson's early stories, including 'Johnny Mnemonic' (1981; filmed 1995) and 'Burning Chrome' (1982), were published in Omni magazine. With the publication of his first novel, Neuromancer (1984), Gibson emerged as a leading exponent of cyberpunk, a new school of science-fiction writing. Cyberpunk combines a cynical, tough 'punk' sensibility with futuristic cybernetic (i.e., having to do with communication and control theory) technology. Gibson's creation of 'cyberspace,' a computer-simulated reality that shows the nature of information, foreshadowed virtual reality technology and is considered the author's major contribution to the genre. ¶

Neuromancer, which won three major science-fiction awards (Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick), established Gibson's reputation. Its protagonist is a 22nd-century data thief who fights against the domination of a corporate-controlled society by breaking through the global computer network's cyberspace matrix. Count Zero (1986; filmed as The Zen Differential, 1998) was set in the same world as Neuromancer, but seven years later. The characters of Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) can 'die' into computers, where they may support or sabotage outer reality. After collaborating with writer Bruce Sterling on The Difference Engine (1990), a story set in Victorian England, Gibson returned to the subject of cyberspace in Virtual Light (1993). His Idoru (1996), set in 21st-century Tokyo, focuses on the media and virtual celebrities of the future. ¶

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