|William Gibson grew up at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, in a town he has described as the sort of place where, when the library burns down, no one rebuilds it. Reading science fiction as an escape, he quickly came to prefer the works of J. G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick to more conventional writers. At the age of 19, he dropped out of high school and went to Toronto, partly to avoid the draft. Drifting for several years, he hung around in the city's demimonde--among hippies, drug dealers, students, and the like. Eventually marrying a teacher, he began to attend college. When Gibson found himself unwilling to write a term paper for a science fiction class he had taken in the hope of an easy grade, his professor convinced him to write a story instead. After graduating with a B.A. in English literature, he became a house-husband, looking after the children while his wife worked. He began to write more frequently, finding a fan in Omni magazine's fiction editor. These early stories, which included "Johnny Mnemonic", "Fragments of a Hologram Rose", and the incendiary title story, were collected in the volume BURNING CHROME (1986), and attracted a wide following that eagerly anticipated his debut novel. When it appeared in 1984, NEUROMANCER exceeded all expectations, becoming the first book to win all of the "big three" sf awards: the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick. The novel anticipated the Internet, predicted virtual reality, coined the word "cyberspace," and quickly became one of the most, if not THE most, influential science fiction works of the latter part of the 20th century. With his next two novels, COUNT ZERO and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE, Gibson became the leading practitioner of a science fiction sub-genre known as cyberpunk, another word which has entered common usage, although not a coinage of Gibson's. After a brief stint in Hollywood, he began to feel limited by the label, and his next book, a collaboration with Bruce Sterling, was set in Victorian England. In VIRTUAL LIGHT and IDORU, Gibson continued to anticipate the near-future, predicting, among other things, the use of nanotechnology in surgery and "virtual" pop singers, a late-1990s trend in Japan. With his uncanny knack of being sometimes just days ahead of technology, Gibson remains a writer well worth watching.