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Michael Bruce Sterling (born April 14, 1954) is an American science fiction author known for his novels and work on the Mirrorshades anthology, which helped to define the cyberpunk genre. Sterling's first ever science fiction story, Man-Made Self, was sold in 1976. He first became famous by hosting annual Christmas event to present digital art. He spent many years after this creating many science fiction novels such as Schismatrix (1985), Islands In The Net (1988), and Heavy Weather (1994). In 1992, he published his first nonfiction novel, The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier.
From the late 1970s onwards, Sterling wrote a series of stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe: the Solar System is colonised, with two major warring factions. The Mechanists use a great deal of computer-based mechanical technologies; the Shapers do genetic engineering on a massive scale. The situation is complicated by the eventual contact with aliencivilizations; humanity eventually splits into many subspecies, with the implication that many of these effectively vanish from the galaxy, reminiscent of The Singularity in the works of Vernor Vinge. The Shaper/Mechanist stories can be found in the collection Crystal Express and the collection Schismatrix Plus, which contains the original novel Schismatrix and all of the stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe. Alastair Reynolds identified Schismatrix and the other Shaper/Mechanist stories as one of the greatest influences on his own work.
In the 1980s, Sterling edited the science fiction critical fanzine Cheap Truth under the alias of Vincent Omniaveritas. He wrote a column called Catscan for the now-defunct science fiction critical magazine SF Eye.
He contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. He also contributed, along with Lewis Shiner, to the short story "Mozart in Mirrorshades".
From April 2009 through May 2009, he was an editor at Cool Tools.
Since October 2003 Sterling has blogged at "Beyond the Beyond", which is hosted by Wired along with contributions to several other print and online platforms like the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
His most recent novel (as of 2013) is Love Is Strange (December 2012), a Paranormal Romance (40k).
He has been the instigator of three projects which can be found on the Web -
The Viridian Design Movement - his attempt to create a "green" design movement focused on high-tech, stylish, and ecologically sound design. The Viridian Design home page, including Sterling's Viridian Manifesto and all of his Viridian Notes, is managed by Jon Lebkowsky at http://www.viridiandesign.org. The Viridian Movement helped to spawn the popular "bright green" environmental weblog Worldchanging. WorldChanging contributors include many of the original members of the Viridian "curia".
Embrace the Decay - a web-only art piece commissioned by the LA Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003. Incorporating contributions solicited through The Viridian Design 'movement', Embrace the Decay was the most visited piece/page at LA MOCA's Digital Gallery, and included contributions from Jared Tarbell of levitated.net and co-author of several books on advanced Flash programming, and Monty Zukowski, creator of the winning 'decay algorithm' sponsored by Bruce.
Sterling has coined multiple neologisms to describe things that he believes will be common in the future, especially items which already exist in limited numbers.
In the December 2005 issue of Wired magazine, Sterling coined the term buckyjunk. Buckyjunk refers to future, difficult-to-recycle consumer waste made of carbon nanotubes (a.k.a. buckytubes, based on buckyballs or buckminsterfullerene).
In July 1989, in SF Eye #5, he was the first to use the word "slipstream" to refer to a type of speculative fiction between traditional science fiction and fantasy and mainstream literature.
In December 1999 he coined the term "Wexelblat disaster", for a disaster caused when a natural disaster triggers a secondary, and more damaging, failure of human technology.
In his book Zeitgeist (2000), he introduced the term "major consensus narrative" as an explanatory synonym for truth.
In August 2004, he suggested a type of technological device (he called it "spime") that, through pervasive RFID and GPS tracking, can track its history of use and interact with the world.
In the speech where he offered "spime", he noted that the term "blobject", with which he is sometimes credited, was passed on to him by industrial designer Karim Rashid. The term may originally have been coined by Steven Skov Holt.
He discussed and expanded on Sophia Al Maria's neologism "Gulf Futurism" in his column for Wired magazine, "Beyond The Beyond"