How William Gibson Coined “Cyberspace”
The moment when fragments of reality were “mushed together” to describe a new realm.
By Maria Popova
In 1982, writer William Gibson, thirty-four at the time, used a strange new word in his short story “Burning Chrome” to describe — presage, really — the emerging ecosystem sprouted by computer networks. But it wasn’t until Gibson used it again in his 1984 novel Neuromancer (public library) that the new term — “cyberspace” — caught on like cultural wildfire.
In this excerpt from his conversation with The New York Public Library’s Paul Holdengräber — the conversation in which Gibson provided his witty 7-word autobiography — the author explains how and why he coined “cyberspace”
I wanted that sense of other realm, a sense of agency within my daily life, looking for bits and pieces of reality that could be cobbled into the arena I needed.
A quarter century later, Gibson coined another exquisitely apt term for a cultural phenomenon — “personal micro-culture,” that absolutely essential tool in our architecture of character as creative people and human beings.
Published August 26, 2014