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’.
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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.
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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.
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’.