First appeared in the Boston Globe.
SCIENCE FICTION WRITER William Gibson has a reputation for forecasting the future that dates to his first novel, "Neuromancer" (1984), in which characters used computers to "jack" into a virtual world Gibson dubbed the matrix, a term that seemed ready-made for the Internet explosion soon to envelop us all. "Neuromancer" won science fiction's top prizes -- the Nebula, Philip K. Dick, and Hugo awards -- and was followed by "Count Zero" (1986) and "Mona Lisa Overdrive" (1988), to complete Gibson's cyberpunk trilogy. These books continued to explore a futuristic matrix while bringing disparate, even supernatural, elements into play. "Count Zero," for example, invokes the voodoo deity Legba -- the "master of roads and pathways, the loa [god] of communication" -- as a lord of cyberspace.