PROVENANCE: Volume 1, Number 1 - November 13, 1995

"CYBERSPACE": Science Fiction & Fact

- by Neal Chan

The following article looks at the definition of "cyberspace" and a Vancouver, B.C. Science Fiction bookstore that the term's creator, William (Bill) Gibson, sometime's visits.


I recently read the Tenth Anniversary Special Edition of NEUROMANCER, by William Gibson (I remember reading the first edition over 10 years ago, on the recommendation of the owners of the White Dwarf Bookstore in Vancouver). One term that is often associated with the Internet and the World Wide Web is "cyberspace", the term invented by Gibson in Neuromancer. The original outline for the story dates back to the fall of 1981 according to Gibson's afterword in the 10th anniversary edition. What an amazing decade this has been.

This "Web Page" is dedicated to William Gibson, for introducing so many of us to the concept of "cyberspace" in his writings. This "Web Page" is also dedicated to Walter Sinclair of White Dwarf Books, who introduced me to the world of micro-computers, with his Osborne portable CP/M system (1982).

The term CYBERSPACE is defined as:

"An item of sf TERMINOLOGY introduced by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer (1984). He takes quite an old sf idea, also much discussed by scientists, in imagining a NEAR-FUTURE era in which the human brain and nervous system (biological) can interface directly with the global information network (electrical) by jacking neurally implanted electrodes into a networked COMPUTER (or "cyberdeck"). The network then entered by the human mind is perceived by it, Gibson tells us, as if it were an actual territory, almost a landscape, the "consensual hallucination that was the matrix". This is cyberspace. The term "cyberspace" has since been used by other writers..... [PN]"

The above definition is from The encyclopedia of science fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls; published by Orbit, a division of Little, Brown and Co. (U.K.) Ltd., London, 1993, ISBN 1 85723 124 4, page 290.

Neuromancer was published in 1984 and won the Hugo, Neubula and Phillip K. Dick awards in 1985 -- a singular achievement.

Neuromancer was written in Vancouver, and William Gibson continues to be a resident here.

The pictures below are of "Bill" Gibson receiving an autographed copy of fellow sf author Neal Stephenson's, Diamond Age (Bantam 1995) at a signing hosted by White Dwarf Books, in Vancouver. While Stephenson lives in Puget Sound area, part of the Diamond Age story takes place in Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver is the home to many well known science fiction and fantasy authors, including: Sean Russell (World Without End 1995); Sean Stewart (1994 Canadian Library Association Award for best young adult novel Nobody's Son and in 1992 the Aurora & the Arthur Ellis 1st novel awards for Passion Play (Sean recently moved to Houston, Texas); and of course Spider and Jeanne Robinson.
Photo with, from left to right, Sean Stewart, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and Sean Russell (at Neal's book signing).

The following excerpts from the White Dwarf Books Web Page are reprinted with permission of their Webmaster. For the entire catalog(s) contact the White Dwarf and its companion store Dead Write Books (see below).




[ *** UPDATE - 2003-05-22 *** the White Dwarf bookstore moved in November-December 2002 down a few blocks east and is now just by the north-west corner of Alma St. and 10th Ave. see for more information - N. Chan, for Provenance Magazine]

WHITE DWARF BOOKS has been, since 1978, Western Canada's fantasy and science fiction specialty bookstore. Our enormous inventory and expertise in the field makes us a destination for every true aficionado. We sell new books only.

We produce a quarterly catalogue of forthcoming new releases. This includes two to three hundred of the more notable titles, with short descriptions.




DEAD WRITE BOOKS is a crime and mystery specialty store. We sell new books only. We produce a quarterly catalogue of forthcoming titles. Our large inventory emphasizes local and Canadian authors and British titles not available in the U.S. We also carry audio books, true crime, and nonfiction works about the mystery field. We also stock numerous books pertinent to writing mysteries.


WATCH ME by A. J. Holt. $29.99Cdn, $22.95US hc

The Silence of the Lambs meets Death Wish in a stunning new thriller about a female FBI agent, a computer expert, who seeks her own justice when the system fails her.

How far will a hunter of serial killers go to get her man?

For queries and orders:  Send Email to White Dwarf

Vancouver, B.C.
V6R 2H7
[2003 update

10-8 Weekdays, 10-6 Saturday, 12-5 Sunday

hc=Hardcover, tp=Trade (oversized) Paperback. <UK>=British publication

<CDN>=Canadian publication

                         OCTOBER 1995 NEW RELEASES

_____Anderson, Kevin J. STAR WARS: DARK SABER. Bantam, 29.95 hc.

     The new STAR WARS adventure from the author of the JEDI ACADEMY

trilogy. A ruthless mining baron and an Imperial general team up to steal

the plans for the original Death Star.

_____Anderson, Kevin J. BLINDFOLD. Aspect, 6.99.

     Falsely accused of murder, Troy Boren unsuccessfully puts his fate in

the hands of the truthsayer   Kalliana, a telepathic justice from the Atlas

colony who is shaken by her fading powers and mounting evidence that Tony

is guilty.

_____Anthony & Gilliam (eds). TALES FROM THE GREAT TURTLE. Tor, 6.99.

     An anthology of short stories, each based on Native American myth and


_____Ashwell, Pauline. PROJECT FARCRY. Tor, 34.95 hc.

     From the author of UNWILLINGLY TO EARTH.  Telepath Richard Jordan

hides his powers until a fateful encounter with an alien species suggests

that his abilities may hold the key to the secret of faster-than-light


_____Barnes, Steven. FIREDANCE. Tor, 6.99.

     Sequel to STREETLETHAL and GORGON CHILD. Aubry Knight continues to act

as a champion for the underclass in a future Los Angeles.

_____Barron, T. A. HEARTLIGHT. Tor, 5.99.

     A distinguished astronomer and a sensitive young woman make an

unexpected discovery in quantum physics that leads to faster than light

travel and the knowledge that a black hole sits in the centre of the Sun.

_____Beagle, Peter & Berliner, Janet (eds). THE IMMORTAL UNICORN. Prism,

28.00 hc.

     A collection of fantasy stories about immortality and unicorns.

_____Betancourt, John. INCIDENT AT ARBUK [STAR TREK VOYAGER #5]. Pocket,


     The Voyager is attacked by a group of aliens who are trying to gain

control of a powerful new weapon.


See the White Dwarf's Web Page at [ originally] for more information and their extensive catalogs both for the White Dwarf and Dead Write (the companion store).

[ *** UPDATE - 2003-05-22 *** the White Dwarf bookstore moved in November-December 2002 down a few blocks east and is now just by the north-west corner of Alma St. and 10th Ave. see for more information - N. Chan, for Provenance Magazine]

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[ NB 2003-05-22 this page had its HTML code updated slightly to maintain the original designers "look and feel" proportions.  in 1995 this web page was seen primarily by people with computer viewing screens set at 640x480 pixel dimensions.  Today in 2003, most people are viewing this and other web pages at 1000 pixel wide screens.... thus added HTML code was given on this date by the original writer and new email and web addresses given for the White Dwarf book store, still being operated by its original founders Walter Sinclair and Jill Sanagan - Neal Chan, publisher Provenance email ]