I got into the cyber-punk genre because of:
My first exposure to the cyber-cool ethic was in the form of the rpg Shadowrun, which lifted about as much as could be lifted from Neuromancer, and then poured buckets full of Tolkien on top. It was a helluva convoluted game, but awfully fun. I wonder -- any royalties from that game ever trickle WG's way?
I was always into sci fi and fantasy and then I saw WG in an interview on the CBC show Prisoners of Gravity. Was awe struck.
none of the various cpunk rpgs paid royalties to gibson, as far as i know. i met my wife over a game of shadowrun.
WG's stories on OMNI magazine, specifically. From earlier than that I'd been into gizmos and computers, but as tools for graphic creation, more than tinkering or hacking, so not much cpunk cred for me. And the JM movie... eeeargh. I went in with high expectations (what with the director an actual artist) but almost gagged with "I want room service!"... oh well.
i found neuromancer on a bookshelf in peurto vallarta, when i was something like 14, on vacation with my dad. we were staying at his friends place. He owned the penthouse of this apartment complex he'd funded.
i read it three times, front to back, and had every intention of stealing the book for fear that it was a rare thing and that i wouldn't not be able to find it when i got back to the states.
only my fathers promise (and the promise of large bribes should he be wrong) kept me from ganking it.
as soon as i got into the states, i lifted fourty bucks from dads wallet and hit the nearest bookstore, and bought every gibson paperback on the shelves.
kinda went from there....
-[ Sunt lacrimae rerum, et acta mortalia tangunt ]-
Yes. it was Omni magazine for me too. Loved Johnny and read it ovr and over. I was READY for Neuromancer by the time it came out!
I had been a hard core SciFi/Fantasy reader since high school in the late '70s but had never read any Cyberpunk. Throw in the fact that I was also a computer geek from the time I laid my fingers on one in the mid '70s. Enter Interplay's release of the game Neuromancer in the late '80s and I was hooked. I started with everything I could get by Gibson, moved on to Sterling and have kept going ever since.
So very bored. Forgive me while I trip indulgently down memory lane:
I discovered cyberpunk after seeing (at Glebe's legendary Valhalla cinema) the documentary film of the same name. As this was around 1992, that means I was about as late to the genre as I am to this thread. After watching wg wax raconteuresque (loved the story about the biker) on said film (a film with no apparent web presence at all - I find that kinda ironic), I thought I should probably check out his writing, a view clued-up workmates endorsed with fervour.
Wandering about Galaxy bookstore, I bumped into an old friend from the Eighties who used to hang out with us editors down at the student rag because we had Macs to play with. He was a Mac-head nonpareil, so much so that we appended Mac to his surname whenever we referred to him - it's almost funny when you know his real surname was very Jewish. Mr Mac allowed as how he'd been helping wg with his new computer (I found this a little baffling being a net ignoramus at the time) and had scored a signed copy of wg's new book (Virtual Light?) in thanks. (If that story ain't true, perhaps I'm not telling it right. If it ain't relevant, hey, nobody's forcing you to read this tiresome anecdote.)
Thus demonstrating his credentials, Mr Mac pointed me to Neuromancer as the best place to start my acquaintance with the wg-man's oeuvre, also handing me an edition of Burning Chrome when I confessed to a preference for short stories over novels. (He also took a moment to sneer at my copy for purchase of Red Dreams by Dennis Etchison - some people just don't "get" horror.)
Looking at Neuromancer, I realised that months ago I had grabbed it from the shelf, attracted by the title and cover art (so, so shallow), but had replaced it after reading the part of the blurb that referred to tiny sacs of mycotoxin being glued to the inside of Case's arteries, this idea not striking me as particularly credible, at the time. So it was that without the doco, the endorsement of my workmates and Mr Mac's intercession (and years to come of hoopla which I assume I would have noticed), I might have passed over this seminal work entirely - a near run thing! Instead, I opened the volume and read "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" and that was it for me, kiddies.
*collapses across keyboard in a somnolent daze*
My high school English teacher recommended Gibson to me after he realized that he and I had a common love for SF. His description of Neuromancer was brief, but gave me the wrong impression, (I heard it as Cyber Space-Cowboys, not Cyberspace Cowboys, and had the mental image of cyborgs with energy lassos roping in stray rockets of some kind), as a result, I didn't pick it up until after graduating. While perusing the local library and seeing a tattered paperback on one of the rotating display shelves where they send old SF to die, I decided to give it chance, and was sorry I had waited so long to do so. I promptly read the rest of his work (all that was available. This was '97, so I had to wait for ATP).
From there I moved onto Sterling and all the other writers of the ˜movement'. It's a shame really, that I came into the game so late, because I have a feeling I would have enjoyed the ˜movement's' early work much more had I read them in the 80s. But I was but a wee tike back then, and was busy reading the Choose Your Own Adventure series and playing with Legos.
So yeah, Gibson was my portal, by way of a middle-aged man with a graying white-man's afro.
I was a young whippersnapper of 12, and my elder brother was a big Sci-Fi fan, but big reader that I was, always found Asimov, Frank Herbet, ect, about as fun as prostate cancer.
Then my brother bought home the first paperback version of Neuromancer, I looked at the blurb on the back, and was intrigued how it seemed so different than anything in SF. the rest is history.
they have the internet on computers now?
I first became interested in Cyberpunk after playing Deus Ex. Its one of the best games i have and plays like a William Gibson novel (it practically steals the whole wintermute/neuromancer thing). After that I watched Ghost in the shell and moved on to Neuromancer.
I do not intend to live forever through my work, I intend to live forever by not dieing- Woody Allen
A long-time sf fan, I heard about Neuromancer on CIX - a UK bulletin board - around 1989. I guess. For a while, I thought they were talking about Necromancer, an sf book by Gordon R Dickson that I'd already read. Gradually it began to dawn on me that this was something special, and, from MLO onwards I've been snatching his books off the stand in hardback on the first day of publication.
I had been into sci-fi as a kid, with smatterings of Harry Harrison, Asimov, Bradbury, but then I found a used bookstore and started reading anything, since it was all so cheap. I stopped paying attention to sci-fi (and I'd never really been cutting edge before, anyway). That was late 70's.
I was living in a zendo 10 years later when a housemate loaned me Neuromancer, then Mona Lisa Overdrive, Count Zero... I actually don't think that I ever read Burning Chrome; maybe I did, then.
I read all of those books in a couple of weeks, I think, blessed with a train commute, and then followed that up with Mirrorshades, branching from there to Sterling and others. (I really do need to follow up with many of the others in there.)
Unfortunately for me, I stopped reading OMNI before any of Gibson's work was published there, and I'm even sorrier now that I didn't try and buy hardcovers of the early works when I first started reading them. Paperbacks are fine for anthologies or airport pickups, but there's nothing like a good hardcover. I do take the covers off for the bus/train ride, 'though.
As circumstances have it, I've interacted with Sterling much more than WG, who I only met for the PR signing during the blizzard of ought-3.
WIRED's been more influential to me than OMNI; that's the rag that finally got me interested in computers again, thence to web, listservs, and programming (sort of).
I read a critique by David Langford (Line of sight if I remember right) back in the time when White Dwarf was a good RPG magazine (middle eighties). So I got Neuromancer in Spanish, and being hooked I bought it that summer in English. Then came Cyberpunk RPG, Walter Jon Williams, Womack, Sterling and all the rest.
Now that I am older, only Gibson and some of Sterling's short stories still move me. A mark of appropiateness in my case.
I don't even remember how "Neuromancer" came into my posession. I know it wasn't store bought -- a friend gave it to me (or more probably lent it to me, never to get it back). I know that must have been around '88, because I was in eight or ninth grade.
I read it, back then, and I remember enjoying it. But I never followed up because I shortly thereafter began a descent into my "post-ltierate phase." Which was followed by my "neo-intellectual" phase, during which I shunned all genre fiction as inherently beneath me.
I managed to hold on to the book for another 12 years. About three and a half years ago, I noticed it on my shelf, remembered liking it and dusted it off. (Literally - it was an original run and beyond yellowing).
I realized what I had been sleeping on andf ran out and bought everything else by WG (except The Difference Engine, which I still have not read).
Hooker like joke.
Always enjoyed variations of the idea (Gamma World RPG and such as a kid)
but specifically William Gibson
A Speculative Fiction course:
The professor dyed her hair with Jello mix
talked about and played on MUD's all the time
Loved Felix the Kat (I think her dissertation involved Felix ?)
and she had virtual class on dialup UseNet at 2600 baud
made us read Herland and George Schyler
and introduced a whole new world
of WG and PKD
she was awesome
I got the paperback edition of Neuromancer in the summer of '92 before I started working again that fall. It wasn't rocket-based sf, it was technology, intimate, hands-on technology that I wouldn't get my hands on until '96, when I moved in with my boyfriend and coerced him to get a used IBM-clone machine (which i still use for writing only--Windows 3.1 no less, AR AR AR!!! [think Alf]). Then I got everything by Gibson I could find, then branched out to Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, and John Shirley.
I just got into PKD last year, after "Minority Report" came out, and the readers' group we go to did "Ubik" earlier this year. So it wasn't just Gibson who got me started, but he was a big part of it. In '96 when I had just moved up to Massachusetts, I was always picking up 2600 and Wired (move the letters and it spells 'weird'!), but now I think it's too late for me to become a cybergrrl--I'll just keep my 'Lone Gunmen' t-shirt and be a wanna-be
"...a plastic sheet studded with a rainbow of dermadisks..."
There a couple of factors that brought me to cyberpunk. First, I've loved science fiction since I was a child. When I was 7 or 8 I told my mother I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. For my birthday that year I got several old books. They were 1950's Qalaxy anthologies that contained stories written by my greatuncle F.L. Wallace and his novel "Address: Centauri". Through the anthologies I was exposed to writers like Asimov, Bradbury, and Pohl. I've been reading sci-fi steadily ever since.
Then in 1982 I saw Bladerunner when it hit the theaters. I was blown away and started reading Philip K Dick. My friends and I all played role playing games and the "universe" we gamed in tended to be influenced by books we read, movies, etc. We all became obsessed with near future speculation to incorporate into our gaming. In 1984 my friend Jeff handed my a copy of Neuromancer and told me it was the best damned thing he'd ever read. I devoured it in a weekend. It struck a cord. Given that we were starting to get into computers (a lot of us seemed to own C64s by then) and all the future speculation we did seem to perfectly lay the groundwork for my love of Neuromancer and cyberpunk as a genre.
running out of time, so I'll make it quick:
First Gibson, and also first "cyberpunk" book ever, was the serialization of "Count Zero" in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. I've been a fan of Gibson's ever since. So-so on cyberpunk. I like some. Don't really consider anything Gibson's done after MLO to be cyberpunk -- unless you count "Virtual Light" as a parody of cyberpunk.
Second favorite cyberpunk writer, Bruce Sterling, is also no longer writing in that style, IMO. Favorite book by him is "Heavy Weather," which is post-cyberpunk.
For that elastic definition of cyberpunk that embraces Dick and even Burroughs and really essentially means "futuristic post-modern," then, yeah, Gibson's still part of that, but you have to really stretch to see either the "cyber" (in the original definition of the term) or the "punk" in "Pattern Recognition," for instance.
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