Elon University
The prediction, in brief:

We are being shoved up against futurity with such violence that science fiction may become a historical term … The Internet may be important because we are seeing something akin to what we did when we invented cities.

Predictor: Gibson, William

Prediction, in context:

In a 1995 article in the Canadian magazine Maclean’s, novelist William Gibson is quoted by an unknown author. The article says: ”People are always asking William Gibson about The Future. The Vancouver-based science fiction writer is, after all, the oracle credited with coining the word ‘cyberspace.’ But Gibson – whose work ranges from the blockbuster novel ‘Neuromancer’ (1984) to the new movie ‘Johnny Mnemonic [1995] – is quick to disclaim prophetic powers. ‘Neuromancer,’ a first novel that swept the major sci-fi awards, lit up the zeitgeist in flashing neon. With lyrical prescience, it described the Internet before the Internet really existed … [but] the poet laureate of cyberspace has never really spent any time there … he says he has not surfed the Net, and is in no hurry to. Now, Gibson figures he might as well wait for the technology to mature. ‘I’ll have a much more intense initial experience if I let it cook for a few years,’ he says. ‘I want real-time video, the works.’ … All Gibson’s fiction keeps coming back to the idea that media images are just shards and constructs, pixels personas refracted through the media. His new novel, ‘Idoru,’ is about a Japanese pop star who does not really exist … ‘We are being shoved up against futurity with such violence,’ says Gibson, ‘that science fiction may become a historical term.’ His ultimate challenge, he adds, would be to write a novel set in the real world that would have all the weirdness of his science fiction … At the CN Tower, Gibson poses for photographs … Far below, the city’s circuitry is spread out as flat as a prairie, a shimmering sprawl of light that seems suspended in space … Gibson remembers picturing cyberspace in the ‘first microphotographs of computer chips – which looked a lot like aerial photographs of cities.’ He says: ‘One insight I’ve had recently is that the Internet may be important because we are seeing something akin to what we did when we invented cities … We invented this, as a species [he said as he gazed out on the city below him]. Amazing, really!”


William Gibson published the influential book “Neuromancer,” in which he coined the term “cyberspace,” in 1984. Through the early 1990s, he was asked to comment regularly on the coming age of the Internet despite the fact that he claimed to use it rarely, if ever. (Author/Editor/Journalist.)

Date of prediction: January 1, 1995

Topic of prediction: General, Overarching Remarks

Subtopic: General

Name of publication: Maclean's

Title, headline, chapter name: Mind Games with William Gibson

Quote Type: Direct quote

Page number or URL of document at time of study:

This data was logged into the Elon/Pew Predictions Database by: Anderson, Janna Quitney