- Neuromancer by William Gibson
Case, a computer hacker, has been permanently cut off from the Matrix. He misses the excitement and thrill of plugging into cyberspace and instead combs the underbelly of Chiba City, looking for drugs and continually flirting with death. Case is given the opportunity to get his life back, to work once again jacking into the Matrix as a hacker, but there is a cost. The job is elusive but potentially deadly. This new job requires an unusual crew, including a sociopath able to create holographic illusions, a professional mercenary who is partially fused and augmented with machinery and an insane commander.
Neuromancer, a science fiction, cyberpunk novel, was released in 1984, it won numerous awards and it was William Gibson’s debut novel. Subsequently he wrote many more novels, some of them critically acclaimed, in a number of different genres including science fiction, steampunk and alternate history. Neuromancer takes place in the future on a dystopian form of earth in Chiba City, Japan. It is told in a third person narrative primarily from the point of view of Case, (Henry Dorsett), a 24 year old man who has fallen from the top all the way to rock bottom.
The story jumps right in without very much exposition. I found it took me a long time to really come to understand the world in which it takes place. The opening sentence immediately captured my interest with its co-mingling of electronic and organic imagery. This sets the stage for the novel which continues to combine these elements throughout. I was intrigued with Mr. Gibson’s notions of the matrix, cyberspace and computers, especially considering he wrote this in 1984. Molly is a fascinating character and I really enjoyed reading her back story. All the characters were interesting, complex and unique, each with their own special abilities and corresponding history.
This is a standalone novel which builds up to an exciting, satisfying and thoughtful ending. Once I was able to comprehend the world that the story takes place in, I was hooked and became engaged with the characters, anxious to see where it all would end. I recommend this book as a very good read for anyone who enjoys reading cyberpunk.
“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”
A description of Molly:
“He realized that the glasses were surgically inset, sealing her sockets. The silver lenses seemed to grow from smooth pale skin above her cheekbones, framed by dark hair cut in a rough shag.”
Question to ponder: Jack Womack has suggested that Mr. Gibson’s creation of “Neuromancer” influenced and helped to create the internet as we know it today. What are your thoughts on this, do you think this novel helped to bring it about?