Wooster: Gibson Credits Susan Wood

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?

6 thoughts on “Wooster: Gibson Credits Susan Wood

  1. @Gary – Didn’t Mark Zuckerberg give you any points? Not even a couple of bushels of kiwifruit in Farmville?

  2. Then there was the artwork of an aspidistra with a propellor beanie that Gibson did for my ALGOL, which launched his pro art career. He can credit all those Art Hugos he won right back to that first… uh, never mind…

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