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  Alternative worlds generated by computers. The term cyberspace was first used quite casually by the science fiction writer, William Gibson, in his 1984 novel, Neuromancer (Gibson, 1984: see also Gibson 1986, 1988). In the book, cyberspace was a there that was not there, an alternative world conjured up by a computer in which people could cruise like disembodied spirits amongst virtual computer-generated landscapes; \'all the data in the world stacked up like one big neon city, so that you could cruise around and have a kind of grip on it, visually anyway, because if you didn\'t, it was too complicated, trying to find your way to a particular piece of data you needed\' (Gibson, 1988, p. 13). The term rapidly became part of common usage, reflecting more of a cultural longing for such a world than its actual existence (Benedikt, 1992; Bukataman, 1993a, 1993b; Crang and May, 1999). Taken up by an odd alliance of the computer industry, artists, and cultural studies academics, the term has spawned a large number of books and papers which are as likely to be general disquisitions on western society as they are careful empirical studies (see virtual geographies). (NJT)

References Benedikt, M., ed., 1992: Cyberspace. First steps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Bukatman, S. 1993a: Terminal identity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bukatman, S. 1993b: Gibson\'s typewriter. South Atlantic Quarterly 92: 627-43. Crang, M. and May, J., eds, 1999: Virtual geographies. London: Routledge. Gibson, W. 1984: Neuromancer. New York: Ace Science Fiction. Gibson, W. 1986: Count zero. London: Grafton Books. Gibson, W. 1988: Mona Lisa overdrive. London: Grafton Books.



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