World – Gibson

Gibson (World 42)

William Gibson (1948 – ; first SF publication, 1977) didn’t invent cyberpunk, at least not all by himself. (But he does appear to have first applied the term “matrix” before the actual dawn of the internet.) He wasn’t the first author to use the word “cyberpunk,” but his Neuromancer is often seen as the seminal story for the genre. Cyberpunk is the conjoining of cybernetics (humans augmented with mechanisms, drugs and bio-engineering) and punks (the core of young, savvy, counter-establishment society). This is tightly interwoven with virtual realities, where people can travel in, or even inhabit, electronic environments.

Gibson’s stories tend to include vocabulary and phrasing that match their subculture context, which can make them hard to read for some, but which significantly enhance the reader’s immersion. Neuromancer is the first of a trilogy set in a degenerating near future, where technology dominates society and social interactions and corporations have essentially superseded national identities and boundaries. His Bridge trilogy (set primarily on the earthquake-damaged San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge that has been converted into a shanty town) steps back a few years to explore the beginning of cyberspace and nanotechnology.


Without saying he coined all such terms, Gibson was an early adopter of expressions like “neural implants” and “jacking in.” He brought these concepts to prominence, and so it is fitting that Gibson export cyberware.


 The Worlds of “What If …?”
 Shelley (61)  Piper (21)  Cherryh (41)
 Verne (62)  Norton (22)  Gibson (42)
 Wells (63)  Dick (23)  Clayton (43)
 Williamson (64)  Silverberg (24)  Card (44)
 de Camp (65)  Biggle (25)  Hogan (45)
 Laumer (66)  Wilhelm (26)  Longyear (46)
 Bradbury (11)  Le Guin (31)  Brin (51)
 Heinlein (12)  Niven (32)  McDevitt (52)
 Pohl (13)  Killough (33)  Moon (53)
 Knight (14)  Foster (34)  Bujold (54)
 Schmitz (15)  Pinkwater (35)  Roberts (55)
 Anderson (16)  Robinson (36)  Asaro (56)