I have named every computer I have ever owned “Wintermute” after one of the sentient, artificial intelligences in the novel, Neuromancer, by William Gibson. Currently, my wifi connection bears the “Neuromancer” moniker, and just the other day, I could not help but chuckle when I noticed that one of my neighbors had changed their wifi connection name to Count Zero– another novel by William Gibson. That made me start thinking about why I formed such a strong connection to the writings of Mr. Gibson and what makes him such a great author. For better or worse, I decided to write a little bit about it.
Number Five: Saying More by Writing Less
I read Neuromancer for the first time when I was a sophomore in college, and it changed the way I thought about writing fiction (Ironically I read the entire book on a webpage using my laptop. Mmmmm, tasty irony.). I had been engrossed in the uber-detailed worlds of authors like Tolkien and did not realize what an author could do by using less words instead of more. William Gibson showed me that an author could say a lot using just a few words; that is, if they knew the right words to use.
William Gibson can let you know more in a few sentences than many authors can in an entire page. Try this quote on for size: “They were blonde. They were standing beside their car, an aluminum avocado with a central shark-fin rudder jutting up from its spine and smooth black tires like a child’s toy.” Tell me those few sentences don’t evoke a vivid scene in your mind, and I will call you a dirty damn liar. In case you care, that quote is from the short story, “The Gernsback Continuum,” in the collection of short stories, Burning Chrome. You should probably go read that now. I will wait until you get back.
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