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10 for the Top 10: William Gibson answers the Canada Reads Questionnaire

In 1984 William Gibson published his groundbreaking first novel, Neuromancer, and revolutionalized the world of science fiction. Widely considered "the archetypal cyberpunk work," it brought Gibson mainstream recognition, as well as accolades and awards from his sci fi peers, and popularized the term "cyberspace."

Gibson grew up in Wytheville, Virginia, before finding his way to Toronto and eventually Vancouver, British Columbia, where he currently lives. The man known as the "noir prophet" of cyberpunk turned to writing in 1977, when he became a new father. Since then, Gibson has gone on to publish 10 best-selling novels, a number of short stories and poetry.

His 2003 book Pattern Recognition is the uncannily prescient story of a marketing consultant sensitive to corporate branding, and explores aspects of North American society including consumer habits and post-9/11 culture. Pattern Recognition peaked at #3 on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Science Fiction Association Award.

William Gibson Pattern Recognition

Pitch Canada your novel in three lines or less.

A speculative novel of the now not-so-recent past. An attempt to find the real turn of the past century into this one, if indeed there is such a thing.

Which Top 10 book would you want to defend on Canada Reads (other than your own!)?

The Book of Negroes.

What's your favourite bookish place in Canada?

Any good used bookstore.

Which Canadian author (alive or dead) would you most like to meet?

Leonard Cohen

Who is your favourite fictional character and why?

Sherlock Holmes. He was the first great fictional character I encountered.

What did you want to be growing up?

At age 12 or so, a science fiction writer. But then I outgrew it.

What would you be if you weren't a writer?

Unfulfilled, possibly bitter.

What's your favourite encounter with a reader or most memorable fan moment?

Whatever the most recent most recent one happens to have been, usually. They're more enjoyable outside of book-tour season. At some level I continue to be amazed that I actually have readers.

What book has moved or affected you most in the past year?

Burning Your Boats, the collected short fiction of Angela Carter.

Which Canadian personality do you want to have defend your book?

Margaret Atwood.

Pattern Recognition was published by Penguin Canada in 2003. It is available at fine independent bookstores across the country.

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