In his 1984 novel, Neuromancer, William Gibson coined the term ‘cyberspace’ and offered his seminal vision of an immersive virtual world. Some twenty-three years later, in his latest novel (Spook Country, 2007) Hollis, his heroine (an ex-member of an avant-garde rock band turned techno-art journalist) interviews an artist who works with GPS and computer simulations, in Los Angeles:

‘What’s here, Alberto? What are we here to see?’ Hollis demanded, as they reached the corner. He knelt and opened the case. The interior was padded with blocks of foam. He extracted something that she at first mistook for a welder’s protective mask. ‘Put this on.’ He handed it to her. A padded headband, with a sort of visor. ‘Virtual Reality?’ She hadn’t heard that term spoken aloud in years, she thought, as she pronounced it. ‘The software lags behind,’ he said. ‘At least the kind I can afford.’