In the early '80s, I happened to find myself in the vicinity of people who would work for Microsoft five years later.

William Gibson

William Gibson

Profession: Author
Nationality: American

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I watch for emergent technologies and pay attention to what people say they'll be good for, then see what we actually use them for. It never occurred to me that a tiny telephone with a wireless transceiver would do whatever it is that it's done to us.

I grew up in southwestern Virginia. I was born in South Carolina, but only because my parents had a vacation cabin or something there on the beach. I was like a summer baby. But I did grow up in the South. I grew up in serious, serious Appalachia, in a very small town.

Sometimes, I can myself be frustrated by books that seem to me to be insufficiently realistic about the world's potential for just being totally a randomly bad place.

All my life I've encountered people who were obsessed with one particular class of object or experience, who were constantly pursuing that thing. Since I was a little kid, I hadn't afforded myself the opportunity, I guess, to have a hobby.

I don't think nostalgia is a healthy modality. But nostalgia and a sense of history are not the same thing. Nostalgia is a dysfunction of the historical impulse, or a corruption of the historical impulse.

If I write something set 60 years in the future, I am going to have to explain how humanity got there, and that's becoming quite a big job.

I'm not a computer guy. I'm like an anthropologist. I'm fascinated with people's obsessions. I've learned to wear them.

As a writer of fiction who deals with technology, I necessarily deal with the history of technology and the history of technologically induced social change. I roam up and down it in a kind of special way because I roam down it into history, which is invariably itself a speculative affair.

The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.

In 1981, I was a futurist - or at least I was a guy who put on a futurist hat occasionally - and I wrote about the 21st century.

In a sense, if you're not getting it wrong really a lot when you're creating imaginary futures, then you're just not doing it enough. You're not creating enough imaginary futures.

If you've read a lot of vintage science fiction, as I have at one time or another in my life, you can't help but realise how wrong we get it. I have gotten it wrong more times than I've gotten it right. But I knew that when I started; I knew that before I wrote a word of science fiction.

The history of the past, a hundred years from now, won't be the history of the past that we learned in school because much more will have been revealed, and adjectives we can't even imagine will have been brought to bear on what we did learn in school.

That's one of my favorite things about Twitter: You can tweak your feed into a fabulous novelty engine. That's only one thing you can do with it, but it's one of the things I find most entertaining about it.