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Guest Lecture by Lydia Balian.  Neuromancer is a science fiction novel  In the year it was published, Neuromancer won the Nebula, the Hugo, and the.

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Presentation on theme: "Guest Lecture by Lydia Balian.  Neuromancer is a science fiction novel  In the year it was published, Neuromancer won the Nebula, the Hugo, and the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Guest Lecture by Lydia Balian

2  Neuromancer is a science fiction novel  In the year it was published, Neuromancer won the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Philip K. Dick awards in science fiction  Has been translated into numerous languages, including Magyar, Japanese, and Danish  Spawned an entire subgenre of science fiction: Cyberpunk  But who is William Gibson and what exactly is science fiction?

3  Brief Biography  Born 1948  Moved to Vancouver, British Columbia at 19 to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War  Became interested in Sci-Fi literature while working on a degree in English at the University of British Columbia  Published two short stories, “Johnny Mnemonic” and “Burning Chrome” before publishing his first novel, Neuromancer, in 1984 to popular and critical acclaim  Books by William Gibson: Official Website (1, 2)12

4  Science fiction is notoriously difficult to define  Numerous sub-genres, such as fantasy or horror  General characteristics include:  Speculation based on current science or technology  Setting in the future or alternate reality  Setting in outer space  Discovery or application of new or futuristic scientific principles, i.e. time travel, nanotechnology, cyborgs, robots, etc.  Molly’s retractable nails (24-25) and other cyborg enhancements

5  Pulp Publishing  Named for the cheap wood pulp paper it was printed on  Published from the 1920s-1950s  Characteristic of most genre fiction including detective/mystery, western, horror, fantasy/sword and sorcery, and science fiction  Pulp magazines often featured a variety of genres in the same publication (example)example  How might Neuromancer qualify as a mixing of these genres?

6  The Paperback Revolution  The paperback novel actually dates back to the early 19 th century  Paperback publishing techniques combined with pulp materials creates new publishing revolution  Book binding technique whereby pages are bound with glue rather than stitches or staples  Inexpensive to produce  Audience for pulp magazines diminishes as buyers purchase cheap books  Allowed publication of full length novels in genre fiction  1940s-today

7  Pre-Science Fiction  Classic  Golden Age  New Wave and Feminist  Cyberpunk

8  Precursors to sci-fi  Mythology  The development of science in the Age of Reason and on through the nineteenth century  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Unparalleled Adventures of one Hans Pfaal"  The rise of new technologies such as electricity, the telegraph, and new forms of powered transportation, began to influence writers such as:  Jules Verne ( Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea )  H. G. Wells ( The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds )  The phrase “scientific romance” is used in Britain during the late 19 th century to describe this kind of fiction

9  Examples of classic science fiction:  Hugo Gernsback created Amazing Stories in 1926  Previously edited radio and electronics magazines  Began magazine of fiction specifically for popular science enthusiasts  He polls readers for title of genre, with the phrase “science fiction” chosen (other possible titles: “scientific romance” or “scientification”)

10  Characteristics:  “Space Opera”  Artificial Intelligence and Mind/Body Split  Examples of “Golden Age” science fiction include:  John W. Campbell and Astounding Science Fiction  Campbell discovers writers who will define the field of science fiction, such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Theodore Sturgeon  Isaac Asimov  Foundation series and space opera  Ray Bradbury  Martian Chronicles

11  Characteristics  New Wave focus on “inner space”  Experimentation in form and content  70s sci-fi preoccupied with social themes such as race, gender, and sexuality  70s sci-fi also concerned with investigating notions of “utopia” versus “dystopia”  Examples of New Wave science fiction include:  New Worlds, edited by Michael Moorcock  J.G. Ballard and inner space

12  Characteristics:  Term cyberpunk coined by Bruce Bethke in short story of the same name in 1980  Focus on cyberspace, a term coined by Gibson in 1982  Information technology as central preoccupation  Focus on the marginalized and dispossessed (“outlaw zones,” 11 and depiction of Zion, )  Punk as worldview and writing style: disenchantment with corporations, government corruption, surveillance technology  Examples of cyberpunk include:  Gibson’s “Johnny Mnemonic,” “Gernsback Continuum,” “Burning Chrome,” and Neuromancer  Cyberspace in Neuromancer  “A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace...”(4-5)

13  Manovich’s new media principle of transcoding and the effects of science fiction on society and vice versa  Innovation and technology  Various media forms: literature, art, film (Keanu Reeves in Johnny Mnemonic ), television (Star Trek 1, 2 and Firefly 1), computer games (Neuromancer video game) Johnny Mnemonic 121Neuromancer video game  Science fiction community  Conventions  Clubs  Organizations  Fan fiction

14  If artistic creations are a response to our life and times, how do you think artists will respond in the future?  Environment  Biotechnology  Nanotechnology  How will science fiction continue to influence society?

15 “Science Fiction.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 20 May “Neuromancer.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 20 May Brouillette, Sarah. “Corporate Publishing and Canonization: Neuromancer and Science- Fiction Publishing in the 1970s and Early 1980s.” Book History 5 (2002):


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