SFWA Names William Gibson as Newest Damon Knight Grand Master

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has announced that Neuromancer author William Gibson will be honored as the 35th Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for his lifetime contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy. Gibson joins such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Isaac Asimov, C.J. Cherryh, Jane Yolen, and last year’s Grand Master Peter S. Beagle.

When you think of cyberpunk, you think of Gibson’s groundbreaking works starting in the 1980s. Key aspects of the genre, from the notion of cyberspace to the evolution of virtual reality, owe their inspiration to Neuromancer and other works. But while Gibson’s virtual worlds influenced the literature (and music from Billy Idol and Warren Zevon, and the Matrix films) that has followed, the author himself has continued to break new ground in conversations about our online lives in more recent novels like The Peripheral.

SFWA president Cat Rambo praised Gibson, saying, “William Gibson coined the word cyberspace in his story ‘Burning Chrome,’ expanding on that concept two years later in the novel Neuromancer. He forged a body of work that has played a major part in the coalescing of the cyberpunk movement, influencing dozens of writers of cinema, fiction, and games, among other creatives. Not content to be one of the definitive writers in only one subgenre, he then went on to help engender steampunk with Bruce Sterling in their collaborative work, The Difference Engine. Gibson continues to produce taut, evocative works that reflect the despair and hope of the 21st century. To be a SFWA Grand Master is to be a speculative fiction writer that has shaped the genre and make it what it is today. Gibson fills that role abundantly.”

Gibson tweeted his thanks for the honor:

The award will be presented at the 54th Annual Nebula Conference and Awards Ceremony in Woodland Hills, CA, May 16-19, 2019. You can read more about the award on SFWA’s site.

Photo: David Alliet (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license) via Wikimedia Commons

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