Talk:William Gibson

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Featured article William Gibson is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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September 26, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
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January 21, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
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Seems that the age.caulculations mentions that he in hes 60s but the next picture mentions his 70th birthday? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Citation dump[edit]

To counter post-Featured Article obsolescence, I am going to use this section as a workspace for updating the article with new developments. Older, un(der)used sources are also needed. Feel free to add links to new stories, interviews, podcasts, book reviews and so on related to Gibson. Skomorokh 16:20, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Latest interview[edit]

William Gibson and Cory Doctorow, October 2010. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:41, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

ZH era interviews, from the WGB. Skomorokh 22:38, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
jackmovemag. Skomorokh 08:26, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Potential splits[edit]

The article is currently a ponderous 92kb long. There are many many more unused reliable sources to fuel further expansion. The Works of William Gibson split seemed to work out well. I'd be interested in developing some of the content into more FA-grade material.

So, does anyone have any suggestions/ideas/concerns on which sections would make good starts for split articles? the skomorokh 17:15, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

The length doesn't seem too problematic yet (WP:SIZE notwithstanding); the recently promoted Frank Zappa is a good 25% larger (by scrolling-height). I'd rather see this article grow for a while longer, and the other content within {{Gibsonian}} get improved. Spread the love! (for a good/featured topic perhaps?)
(That said, I am an unrepentant mergist...) As the main author and sourcer(er), you would have the best notions as to which topics are undercovered. Just let us know where we can help :) -- Quiddity (talk) 19:44, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
And I a diehard splittist (e.g.)! I'm not going to be growing this article any further, because it's more productive and rewarding to expand on less-developed content, for example Disneyland with the Death Penalty and Agrippa (a book of the dead).
Another (underhanded) factor is the completeness requirement of FT/GT: if they were all feautered, we could get away with, for example, William Gibson, Early life of William Gibson and Works of William Gibson as a featured topic, but not WG, WOWG, Pattern Recognition and Neuromancer because the other works would be arbitrarily omitted. That actually gives me the idea of building Sprawl trilogy and Bridge trilogy, which would pass, but those articles are so abysmal I wouldn't know where to begin.
From a reader's perspective, though, this article is a lot to take in on a single subject. I'd like it trimmed to the most relevant and interesting bits at, say, 50kb, without losing the content from Wikipedia. Though it's probably my favourite section, the Collaborations section is probably overdetailed for an overview of Gibson, but it wouldn't amount to a very long article of its own. Influences and reception would make a very long, but very bad article, as most of the refs on the topic are ("omg he invented the internets!")...poor. I'll have to mull this over some more... the skomorokh 16:02, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I do like your "Early life" proposal. (And agree that the "Influence and recognition" section is the only one I'd really object to splitting out.)
Were you thinking of moving some of the "Collaborations" section into WOWG? or as a 2nd split?
Lastly, as a curveball, the simple:William Gibson space is still empty... ;) -- Quiddity (talk) 19:17, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Aye, problem is, there is notoriously little to say about Gibson's early life. I'd only move some of Collaborations into WOWG if I intended on converting the latter to prose, and seeing as it is now featured as a list, that would probably be counter-productive. A second split wuold take the form of a prose version of WOWG minus the parts with articles of their own; Non-notable leftovers of William Gibson would be interesting to write, and I may get to it one of these years. For the moment I am taking your suggestion to spread the love, working up each of the sickliest Gibson stubs (Hubertus Bigend and Skinner's Room) into something that would survive an Afd.
As for a Gibson article for Simple English Wikipedia: isn't that just a license to pen a gushing original research profile in patronising language? Hmmm! the skomorokh 18:00, 9 October 2008 (UTC)


I created an awards subpage for development before poting to the mainspace. The Locus index is a reliable source for all the notable SF awards. For coprehensiveness we just need to identify the non-genre awards he has been nominated for.YobMod 16:29, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Moved into the namespace at Awards and nominations of William Gibson.  Skomorokh  19:54, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

wrong on Cyberspace, unbelievably right on avatars[edit]

The article's "Visionary influence and prescience" section doesn't seem to admit that Gibson's cyberspace isn't remotely how it has turned out. I'm not sure how to put that criticism into this article.

We don't fly between geometric representations of data hubs by frantically tapping access code on a hot-rod deck, we simply type in a URL or click a link. We don't see any representation of cyberspace during navigation at all. We don't jack in at all, we watch a conventional screen. Even when we use Virtual reality, it is something that takes place within a URL or site. Here is Bobby the wannabe's understanding of the matrix from Count Zero:

He'd used decks in school, toys that shuttled you through the infinite reaches of that space that wasn't space, mankind's unthinkably complex consensual hallucination, the matrix, cyberspace, where the great corporate hotcores burned like neon novas, data so dense you suffered sensory overload if you tried to apprehend more than the merest outline.

To give you an idea of how different navigating the internet is from the mechanisms of Gibson's matrix, here is someone guiding Bobby to get hack into the Yakuza via a back door:

"When you punch out past the Basketball," Jammer said to Bobby, "you wanna dive right three clicks and go for the floor, I mean straight down..
"Past the what?"
"Basketball. That's the Dallas-Fort Worth Sunbelt Co-Prosperity Sphere, you wanna get your ass down fast, all the way, then you run how I told you, for about twenty clicks. It's all used-car lots and tax accountants down there, but just stand on that mother, okay?"
Bobby jacked.
He followed Jammer's instructions, secretly grateful that he could feel Jackie beside him as they plunged down into the workaday depths of cyberspace, the glowing Basketball dwindling above them. The deck was quick, superslick, and it made him feel fast and strong.

(these "clicks" seem to be distances, not buttons) Is it OK to quote big chunks of the books this way?

Meanwhile, almost as a throwaway Gibson fleshes out the idea of an avatar in an online social space just a page later in Count Zero. This is in 1986, a year before Habitat and I think is breathtakingly prescient. Is it original research to claim that Gibson was there before anyone else?

A square of cyberspace directly in front of him flipped sickeningly and he found himself in a pale blue graphic that seemed to represent a very spacious apartment, low shapes of furniture sketched in hair-fine lines of blue neon. A woman stood in front of him, a sort of glowing cartoon squiggle of a woman, the face a brown smudge. "I'm Slide," the figure said, hands on its hips, "Jaylene. You don't fuck with me. Nobody in L.A." she gestured, a window suddenly snapping into existence behind her"fucks with me. You got that?"
"Right," Bobby said. "What is this? I mean, if you could sort of explain.." He still couldn't move. The "window" showed a blue-gray video view of palm trees and old buildings.
"How do you mean?"
"This sort of drawing. And you. And that old picture.
"Hey, man, I paid a designer an arm and a leg to punch this up for me. This is my space, my construct. This is L.A., boy. People here don't do anything without jacking. This is where I entertain!

Awesomeness! -- Skierpage (talk) 00:42, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Regarding reference 126 ^ "Books of the year 2003". Books & Arts (The Economist). 2003-12-04. Retrieved 2007-08-06. This is cited as the source of the quote "The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." There was no issue of the Economist published on December 4. I checked to see if this was a dating error and examined the April 12 issue but I could not find this quote either. Perhaps it is in another issue. He does say this in a National Public Radio Interview (NPR interview (30 November 1999 Timecode 11:55) but I am not sure if this is the original source as he states he has said this many times. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Hello, thanks for raising this, and I agree that Gibson has used this phrase in many different locations. The reason I selected the Economist reference at the time was that it was the earliest version of the quote I could verify in an authoritative source. The link does say December 4, 2003, and may have not appeared in the print edition at that time. I have no objection to replacing The Economist with the NPR ref (as it is earlier), but am not in a position to do so right now. If you want, please go ahead, the template you would need is {{cite interview}}. Thanks for your interest!  Skomorokh  14:12, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I would also suggest that you switch citation, mainly because the economist one is behind a paywall and is of no use whatsoever to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Gibson's Twitter - Interesting comment about Neuromancer[edit]

William Gibson lists his Twitter account @GreatDismal on his official website, at, so it's pretty safe to say that it's really him. Just a few hours ago, he said "Neuromancer was a conscious critique of all the mainstream SF I'd read up to that point. Why it worked, IMO." I think that's a pretty interesting revelation about what he intended with the work. How (or should?) we work that into this article and the article for Neuromancer? J0lt C0la (talk) 06:56, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the pointer, interesting comment indeed! I agree that the Twitter account is a safe bet; the only worry would be how serious/considered these tweets are. Thoughts half-formed, cast off lightly perhaps. In any case, this is the tweet in question. I'll think it over some more.  Skomorokh  10:43, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Continuing the Twitter idea, if someone is alive and uses Twitter (verified accounts only maybe), would it be interesting to anyone / relevant to put said account info in the at-a-glance section at the top? GreatDismal Cus.moritz (talk) 02:46, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Removed section: Gibson's favorite SF novels[edit]

In May 2010, Gibson listed his favorite science fiction books for New York magazine:[1]

Removed as trivial, needs fleshing out and context to be useful. Skomorokh 13:58, 4 July 2010 (UTC)


This must be a typo since further up the article it is stated they met in 1981: "One of the things that made me like Bruce Sterling immediately when first I met him, back in 1991." (talk) 09:47, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

That's what the source says, but it's a translation of a transcription so presumably they got the year off by a decade. Skomorokh 10:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Latest trilogy or Bigend books[edit]

Source of name: In April, someone had changed the navbox template to say "Bigend books", and pointed to Gibsons's tweet here as verification.

A named account had suggested "Bigend trilogy" earlier in March, here and here.

The List of works of William Gibson doesn't currently call them anything.

Just noting. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:02, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Neither fans nor media have coalesced on a particular name for the trilogy, so I thought it best we left it unnamed for the time being too... Skomorokh 22:36, 11 October 2010 (UTC)


This article is long enough without padding it with unnecessary pics of the Clash and Burroughs and so forth. How about some trimming? (talk) 06:40, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

The images are to break up the monotony of the text; if you can find more relevant ones that would be great, but it is quite difficult to source freely-licenced images from the post-war pre-internet era. Skomorokh 14:27, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Pre 1982 "Cyberspace"[edit]

The concept of "cyberspace" was a key topic in course i took in college. I don't recall the year I was in that course but I graduated in 1979. Clearly the term was not invented in 1982. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

  • I came here to check on the coinage of "cyberspace".
  • This says that Damien Broderick claims the authorship of the word, but gives no other details.
  • An article, available here if you're willing to pay, but of which I have the original newspaper cutting, says:
  • "... Gibson is the man whose 1984 novel, Neuromancer, is generally credited with having coined the term "cyperspace" (although Australian writer Damien Broderick probably beat him to it, technically speaking), and who ......". (James Bradley, "In the Beginning Was the End", review of Gibson's All Tomorrow's Parties, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 1999, Spectrum, p. 12s)
  • I've searched for the story of this, to no avail. Can anyone elucidate? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 04:46, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

caption on photo '69th birthday 1983'[edit]

which is is rather strange, if he was indeed born in 1948. the image data says it is his 70th, but 1983 does not really allow him either age. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

I think the caption refers to William S. Burroughs, who has always been old as dirt. The Interior (Talk) 17:58, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
You're right about the 69/70 discrepancy, fixed. The Interior (Talk) 18:02, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


In the Childhood, itinerance, and adolescence section, there are three educational institutions whose links redirect back to this article. Specifically, they are Pines Elementary School, George Wythe High School, and Southern Arizona School for Boys.

Which, if any, of the redirects should be retargeted to the cities in which the schools are located? Which, if any, of the redirects should be deleted? SoledadKabocha (talk) 19:05, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

I have removed the wikilinks, and I now have a question about George Wythe High School. The link in the article was originally George Wythe High School (Wytheville, Virginia). However, George Wythe High School without the parenthetical disambiguator redirects to Richmond Public Schools#High schools. Is that the same school?
What should be done about the other redirects? SoledadKabocha (talk) 04:53, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Buzz Rickson's collaboration[edit]

I didn't want to jump in and start bashing at a fairly well-tended page, as a long-out-of-practice editor, but I thought the page could do with some mention of one of Gibson's weirder side projects: he has a clothing line, in collaboration with the Japanese company Buzz Rickson's. It's fairly un-Googleable, as BR's main website - - is usually a wrapper around their latest catalog, but the *current* link is .

BR does very accurate reproductions of military clothing, basically, and Gibson referenced them in one of his more recent novels, Pattern Recognition, saying one of the characters wore a black Buzz Rickson's MA-1 - this is mentioned in . Ultimately as a result of this, BR approached Gibson about releasing a black version of their MA-1 as a collaboration, and the line was later expanded to include black versions of various other BR items.

Seems like a fun/interesting thing to note, anyway. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AdamWill (talkcontribs) 20:49, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Your reversion of my edits to William Gibson[edit]

(This is a continuation of a discussion at User talk:Ylee#Your reversion of my edits to William Gibson.)

"On the side" is irrelevant whether used literally or metaphorically. If literally, it is unnecessary and redundant; if metaphorically, well, we should avoid metaphors in encyclopedic writing. The context, including the "I don't really use it for anything" quote, already establishes for the reader that Gibson rarely used his modem (not necessarily "at all" as you claim); "on the side" is thus both a metaphor to avoid and, given the context, unnecessary.

The reliable source states that Gibson used BBS lingo. That he himself did not participate in BBS culture directly does not change that he was exposed to such lingo from his social circles. I will reword the sentence to clarify, though.

This isn't a lengthy section on Gibson's exposure to and use of (or lack thereof) to computers; it's one paragraph that is part of a much larger article. Given that, and given his statements on the subject span many years, some jumping around is unavoidable. In fact, it is precisely that the time contexts (of necessity) varies in the paragraph why we should avoid anything other than the simple past tense, including avoiding the past perfect form. Ylee (talk) 18:14, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

This is a featured article. When such an article grows by accretion, the originally flow, content, and context suffers. If you edit to cut content to fit your idea of style, the article suffers. You should have discussed my changes to you edits before removing. You did not. If you do not follow such a procedure, Wikipedia doesn't work? In particular, your dismissal of the close and important connection between Gibson's creations, computing, and culture does this article a disservice. At this point section 4 requires a rewrite. I'll do that, and post a new section on this talk page. - Neonorange (talk) 23:25, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

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