Yay Cyberpunk! What a rock’n genre, which recently has gained some popularity thanks to the Matrix movies. Gibson is considered the father of cyberpunk and coined the term cyberspace. In fact, a lot of the words that are common vernacular in respect to internet came from his books.
The first book he wrote is Neuromancer, which is the first book in his “Sprawl” trilogy. Neuromancer brought about the concept of the “console cowboy” as well as the matrix used interchangeably with cyberspace, which is “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions.” (Wikipedia, Neuromancer) and is obviously where the Wachowski brothers got the idea.
Well this sprawl trilogy takes place on near future earth where pretty much everyone is jacked into the matrix for entertainment and education. You can also get cybernetic enhancements and a slot in your head where you can stick in a disk that lets you learn anything (sound familiar?) Also an important thing about the world is that corporations pretty much own and control everything. These corporations conduct armed and covert ops against rival companies in attempts to gain the technology they are producing. It’s a very dog eat dog world, and shows how capitalism could eventually take over everything if not kept in check.
There are also AIs which were built for several reasons, one of which is to maintain the ICE (Intrusion Countermeasure Intrusion) around corporations HQs. One of the themes of Neuromancer is that an AI is trying to get free, so that it can join it’s other half (was split in half by the government for fear of it being to powerful) and become complete. Gibson also uses these “entities” that live in cyberspace which are voodoo like deities who can affect people and data inside cyberspace, possibility even real life too.
Very fun reads which give you this gritty feeling to the world that I’ve not found in any other author I’ve read so far.
William Gibson on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_gibson
Found pic here.