April 14, 1954 |
|Pen name||Vincent Omniaveritas (in fanzine Cheap Truth)|
|Occupation||Writer, speaker, futurist, design instructor|
|Alma mater||University of Texas at Austin (B.A., Journalism, 1976)|
|Period||1970s – present|
Sterling, along with William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Lewis Shiner, and Pat Cadigan, is one of the founders of the cyberpunk movement in science fiction. In addition, he is one of the subgenre's chief ideological promulgators. This has earned him the nickname "Chairman Bruce". He was also one of the first organizers of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, and is a frequent attendee at the Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop. He won Hugo Awards for his novelettes Bicycle Repairman and Taklamakan. His first novel, Involution Ocean, published in 1977, features the world Nullaqua where all the atmosphere is contained in a single, miles-deep crater. The story concerns a ship sailing on the ocean of dust at the bottom, which hunts creatures called dustwhales that live beneath the surface. It is partially a science-fictional pastiche of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
From the late 1970s onwards, Sterling wrote a series of stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe: the solar system is colonised, with two major warring factions. The Mechanists use a great deal of computer-based mechanical technologies; the Shapers do genetic engineering on a massive scale. The situation is complicated by the eventual contact with alien civilizations; humanity eventually splits into many subspecies, with the implication that many of these effectively vanish from the galaxy, reminiscent of The Singularity in the works of Vernor Vinge. The Shaper/Mechanist stories can be found in the collection Crystal Express and the collection Schismatrix Plus, which contains the original novel Schismatrix and all of the stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe. Alastair Reynolds identified Schismatrix and the other Shaper/Mechanist stories as one of the greatest influences on his own work.
In the 1980s, Sterling edited the science fiction critical fanzine Cheap Truth under the alias of Vincent Omniaveritas. He wrote a column called Catscan for the now-defunct science fiction critical magazine SF Eye.
He contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. He also contributed, along with Lewis Shiner, to the short story "Mozart in Mirrorshades".
His most recent novel (as of 2013) is Love Is Strange (December 2012), a Paranormal Romance (40k).
He has been the instigator of three projects which can be found on the Web -
- The Dead Media Project - A collection of "research notes" on dead media technologies, from Incan quipus, through Victorian phenakistoscopes, to the departed video game and home computers of the 1980s. The Project's homepage, including Sterling's original Dead Media Manifesto can be found at http://www.deadmedia.org
- The Viridian Design Movement - his attempt to create a "green" design movement focused on high-tech, stylish, and ecologically sound design. The Viridian Design home page, including Sterling's Viridian Manifesto and all of his Viridian Notes, is managed by Jon Lebkowsky at http://www.viridiandesign.org. The Viridian Movement helped to spawn the popular "bright green" environmental weblog Worldchanging. WorldChanging contributors include many of the original members of the Viridian "curia".
- Embrace the Decay - a web-only art piece commissioned by the LA Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003. Incorporating contributions solicited through The Viridian Design 'movement', Embrace the Decay was the most visited piece/page at LA MOCA's Digital Gallery, and included contributions from Jared Tarbell of levitated.net and co-author of several books on advanced Flash programming, and Monty Zukowski, creator of the winning 'decay algorithm' sponsored by Bruce.
Sterling has a habit of coining neologisms to describe things that he believes will be common in the future, especially items which already exist in limited numbers.
- In the December 2005 issue of Wired magazine, Sterling coined the term buckyjunk. Buckyjunk refers to future, difficult-to-recycle consumer waste made of carbon nanotubes (a.k.a. buckytubes, based on buckyballs or buckminsterfullerene).
- In his 2005 book Shaping Things he coined the term design fiction which refers to a type of speculative design which focuses on world building.
- In July 1989, in SF Eye #5, he was the first to use the word "slipstream" to refer to a type of speculative fiction between traditional science fiction and fantasy and mainstream literature.
- In December 1999 he coined the term "Wexelblat disaster", for a disaster caused when a natural disaster triggers a secondary, and more damaging, failure of human technology.
- In his book Zeitgeist (2000), he introduced the term Major consensus narrative as an explanatory synonym for truth.
- In August 2004 he suggested a type of technological device (he called it "spime") that, through pervasive RFID and GPS tracking, can track its history of use and interact with the world.
- In the speech where he offered "spime", he noted that the term "blobject", with which he is sometimes credited, was passed on to him by industrial designer Karim Rashid. The term may originally have been coined by Steven Skov Holt.
- He discussed and expanded on Sophia Al Maria's neologism "Gulf Futurism" in his column for Wired Magazine "Beyond The Beyond" 
In childhood, Sterling spent several years in India; today he has a notable fondness for Bollywood films. In 2003 he was appointed Professor at the European Graduate School where he is teaching summer intensive courses on media and design. In 2005, he became "visionary in residence" at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He lived in Belgrade with Serbian author and film-maker Jasmina Tešanović for several years, and married her in 2005. In September 2007 he moved to Turin, Italy. He also travels the world extensively giving speeches and attending conferences.
- 2000 Clarke Award winner for the novel Distraction
- 1999 Hayakawa Award winner Taklamakan Best Foreign Short Story
- 1999 Hugo Award winner for the novelette Taklamakan
- 1997 Hugo Award winner for the novelette Bicycle Repairman
- 1989 Campbell Award winner for the novel Islands in the Net
- Alastair Reynolds, Essay: "Future Histories", Locus, Vol. 57, No. 5, Issue 550, November 2006, p. 39; also included as afterword to Galactic North; "...I owe an equally obvious debt to Bruce Sterling, whose Shaper/Mechanist sequence blew my mind on several levels... Read Schismatrix if you haven't already done so: it will melt your face." Cite error: Invalid
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- Bruce Sterling faculty page at European Graduate School
- Nisi Shawl (2009-02-19). "Books | "The Caryatids": four clones need a home | Seattle Times Newspaper". Seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "Cool Tools: New Editor, Same Deal". Kk.org. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "HELLO WORLD | Beyond The Beyond". Wired.com. 2003-10-30. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "Big Picture Business". Bigpicture.tv. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "DIGITAL GALLERY: Bruce Sterling: Embrace the Decay", moca.org
- "Shaping Things". MIT Press. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
- "Viridian Note 00120: Viridian Disasters (Storms in France)". Viridiandesign.org. 1999-12-27. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "Viridian Note". Viridiandesign.org. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "STANFORD Magazine: July/August 2005 > Thrown a Curve". Stanfordalumni.org. 2003-07-02. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- Bruce SterlingEmail Author (1999-12-07). "Gulf Futurism | Beyond The Beyond". Wired.com. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "Shapeways interviews Bruce Sterling - Shapeways Blog on 3D Printing News & Innovation". Shapeways.com. 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "Life Doesn't Lack for Variety | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com". Blog.wired.com. 2005-11-19. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "Putting people first » Bruce Sterling moving to Torino, Italy". Experientia.com. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "2000 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "1989 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
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