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William Gibson is an American-Canadian novelist who pioneered the genre of science/speculative fiction. Explore this biography to learn more about his profile, childhood, life and timeline.

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Also Known As
William Ford Gibson
Famous as
Speculative Fiction Writer
Nationality
Born on
17 March 1948 AD
Birthday
Age
68 Years
Sun Sign
Pisces    Pisces Men
Born in
Conway, South Carolina, USA
Spouse/Partner:
Vancouverite Deborah Jean Thompson
education
Pines Elementary School
George Wythe High School
Southern Arizona School for Boys in Tucson
University of British Columbia

awards
1985 - Hugo Award for Best Novel
1985 - Nebula Award for Best Novel
1985 - John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
More Awards
1992 - John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

William Gibson
Credit "William Gibson 60th birthday portrait" by Gonzo Bonzo - originally posted to Flickr as William Gibson. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

William Gibson is a speculative fiction writer who is often referred to as the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre. In his short story "Burning Chrome" he introduced the word ‘Cyber-punk’ which was later popularized as a concept in his first novel, ‘Neuromancer’. With a wandering childhood and the loss of his parents at an early age, Gibson went through a period of seclusion where he became influenced by the writers of the Beat Generation. After travelling all over the United States and Europe, he immigrated to Canada and immersed himself in the counterculture. He eventually settled in Vancouver and became a full-time writer. After writing many bleak, noir near-future stories, he finally wrote his first novel, ‘Neuromancer’, which garnered critical and commercial success. This novel was a beginning to the cyberpunk literary genre. His visualization of the cyberspace created a depiction of the information age even before the internet conquered the world. He wrote several famous novels in this genre and also contributed to film and television. Today, he is regarded as the most important North American science fiction writer who has contributed to the craft extensively in the past two decades. This influential author’s work has impacted not just other science fiction writers, but also musicians, academicians and technologists.

Childhood & Early Life
  • He was born on March 17, 1948, as the son of the manager of a large construction company. Although Gibson was born in Conway, South Carolina, he lived in Virginia for most of his life as his family moved frequently due to his father’s job.
  • While attending Pines Elementary School, he lost his father who choked on food in a restaurant and died.
  • By 1950, Gibson had already decided to be a science fiction writer and spent most of his time in his room, while he was attending George Wythe High School.
  • The following year, he read the works of Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs who deeply influenced his writing. He turned out to be a rebellious teenager and even refused to believe in religion.
  • He was sent by his mother to attend the Southern Arizona School for Boys in Tucson, Arizona.
  • At the age of eighteen, he lost his mother and dropped out of school before graduating. He became secluded during this time and travelled to California and Europe and discovered the ‘counterculture’.
Career
  • In 1967, Gibson moved to Canada and spent a lot of time homeless and jobless. Eventually, he found a job as a manager of the first head shop in Toronto.
  • By the early 1970s he was married with a child but he was still jobless and lived off his wife’s earnings. Later in the 1970s, he made a living by selling the low priced artifacts from Salvation Army thrift stores at a higher price.
  • He soon enrolled at the University of British Columbia for a Bachelor Degree in English Literature and graduated in 1977. He enrolled for the course primarily to benefit from the financial aid offered to students.
  • After taking a short course in science fiction during his education, he wrote his first short story called ‘Fragments of the Hologram Rose’.
  • After earning his Bachelor’s degree, he took a break and produced the first collection of his short stories, appearing in ‘Omni and Universe 11’, in 1981. The ‘Burning Chrome’ was one of his famous stories from the collection.
  • He wrote ‘Neuromancer’ as a part of the third series of Ace Science Fiction Specials, featuring debut novels by different authors. The novel was released in 1984 and did not receive instant success. However, it soon found its audience and became a hit, winning several awards.
  • His next work, a sequel to ‘Neuromancer’ was called ‘Count Zero’ and was released in 1986. Two years later, he wrote ‘Mona Lisa Overdrive’ which was the third in the series and completed the Sprawl Trilogy.
  • His ‘Dream Jumbo: Working the Absolutes’—text to accompany performance art by Robert Longo—was displayed at UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, Los Angeles, CA, 1989.
  • In 1990, he collaborated with Sterling, writing a short story ‘The Angel of Goliad’. The story was extended into the novel ‘The Difference Engine’ the same year.
  • His second series was called the ‘Bridge Trilogy’. He wrote the first novel in the series ‘Virtual Light’ in 1993. The same year, he wrote the lyrics and appeared as guest vocalist in the album ‘Technodon’ by Yellow Magic Orchestra.
  • Gibson’s short story called ‘John Mnemonic’ was adapted into a movie of the same name, in 1995.
  • In 1996, he wrote ‘Idoru’ which was second in the ‘Bridge Trilogy’ series. Three years later, the last novel in the series ‘All Tomorrow's Parties’ was released.
  • He wrote the script for the film ‘New Rose Hotel’ which was released in 1998 and starred Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, and Asia Argento.
  • He co-wrote two episodes of the television series ‘The X-Files’. The episodes ‘Kill Switch’ and ‘First Person Shooter’ were aired in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
  • After a gap of few years, Gibson returned with his novel ‘Pattern Recognition’, in 2003. The book was the first novel set in a contemporary universe which he repeated in his following works.
  • He came out with his ‘Spook Country’ in 2007. This book was also set in the same universe and was hugely successful.
  • In 2010, he wrote the novel, ‘Zero History’ which also had the same setting like his previous two novels. All three books earned him a place in bestseller lists and made him a mainstream writer.
  • His latest novel is ‘The Peripheral’, released in 2014. The story of the novel deals in two eras, one about thirty years into the future and the other further in the future.
Major Works
  • ‘Neuromancer’ was Gibson’s debut novel and is also one his most celebrated works. It not only garnered public attention and wide readership, it also gained critical acclaim winning several awards and nominations for Gibson.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1985, Gibson won three awards for his novel ‘Neuromancer’. These were: Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Ditmar Award in the best International novel category. Two years later, the book won the Seiun Award for Best Foreign Language Novel of the Year.
  • In 1989, he won the Prix Aurora Award in the Long-form, English category for his novel ‘Mona Lisa Overdrive’.
  • In 1995, he won his second Prix Aurora Award in the same category, for his novel ‘Virtual Light’.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Gibson married Deborah Jean Thompson in 1972 and the couple settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gibson had met Deborah over a decade ago and they had even travelled to Europe together.

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