By Martin Morse Wooster: This is from an interview with William Gibson in the summer 2011 issue of The Paris Review. Expletive censored by me.
INTERVIEWER: “You wrote your first story for a class, didn’t you?”
GIBSON: “A woman named Susan Wood had come to UBC (the University of British Columbia) as an assistant professor. We were the same age, and I met her while reconnoitering the local science-fiction culture. In my final year she was teaching a science-fiction course. I had become really lazy and I thought, I won’t have to read anything if I take her course. No matter what she assigns, I’ve read all the stuff. I’ll just show up and b*llsh8t brilliantly, and she’ll give me a mark just for doing that. But when I said, ‘Well, you know, we know one another. Do I really have to write a paper for this class?’ She said, ‘No, but I think you should write a short story and give it to me instead.’ I think she saw through whatever cover I had erected over my secret plan to become a science-fiction writer.
“I went ahead and did it, but it was incredibly painful. It was the hardest thing I did in my senior year, writing this little short story. She said, ‘That’s good. You should sell it now.’ And I said, ‘No.’ And she said, ‘Yeah, you should sell it.’ So I went ahead and found the most obscure magazine that paid the least amount of money. It was called Unearth. I submitted it to them, and they bought it and gave me twenty-seven dollars. I felt an enormous sense of relief. At least no one will ever see it, I thought. That was ‘Fragments of a Hologram Rose.'”
How many points do I get for finding ’70s fan history in an “Art of Fiction” interview in The Paris Review?