Past Page 25 ...
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 8 years ago
Adapted from ISawLightningFall.blogspot.com The first time I tried to read Neuromancer, I stopped around page 25. I was about 15 years old and I'd heard it was a classic, a must-read from 1984. So I picked it up and I plowed through the first chapter, scratching my head the whole time. Then I shoved it onto my bookshelf, where it was quickly forgotten. It was a dense, multilayered read, requiring more effort than a hormone-addled adolescent wanted to give. But few years later, I pulled the book down and gave it another chance. This time, William Gibson's dystopic rabbit hole swallowed me whole. Neuromancer is basically a futuristic crime caper. The main character is Case, a burnt-out hacker, a cyberthief. When the book opens, a disgruntled employer has irrevocably destroyed parts of his nervous system with a mycotoxin, meaning he can't jack into the matrix, an abstract representation of earth's computer network. Then he receives a suspiciously sweet offer: A mysterious employer will fix him up if he'll sign on for a special job. He cautiously agrees and finds himself joined by a schizophrenic ex-Special Forces colonel; a perverse performance artist who wrecks havoc with his holographic imaginings; a long-dead mentor whose personality has been encoded as a ROM construct; and a nubile mercenary with silver lenses implanted over her eyes, retractable razors beneath her fingernails and one heckuva chip on her shoulder. Case soon learns that the target he's supposed to crack and his employer and are one and the same -- an artificial intelligence named Wintermute. Unlike most crime thrillers and many works of speculative fiction, Neuromancer is interested in a whole lot more that plot development. Gibson famously coined the word "cyberspace" and he imagines a world where continents are ruled more by corporations and crime syndicates than nations, where cultural trends both ancient and modern dwell side by side, where high-tech and biotech miracles are as ordinary as air. On one page you'll find a discussion of nerve splicing, on another a description of an open-air market in Istanbul. An African sailor with tribal scars on his face might meet a Japanese corporate drone implanted with microprocessors, the better to measure the mutagen in his bloodstream. When he's not plumbing the future, Gibson dips into weighty themes such as the nature of love, what drives people toward self-destruction and mind/body dualism. It's a rich, heady blend. That complexity translates over to the novel's prose style, which is why I suspect my first effort to read it failed. Gibson peppers his paragraphs with allusions to Asian geography and Rastafarianism, computer programming and corporate finance. He writes about subjects ranging from drug addiction and zero-gravity physics to synesthesia and brutal back-alley violence. And he writes with next to no exposition. You aren't told that Case grew up in the Sprawl, which is the nickname for the Boston-Atlanta Metropol
Razor edged, crystalline, deliberately overdone prose...
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 16 years ago
I can assure anyone who hates this book that there is no conspiracy, this is a book that I am still in awe of, several months after reading it.I can, however, understand people not comprehending what the hell's going on. I'd read half the novel before realising what was going on...but that's not the point.It's very difficult to describe why this book is so great. Strictly speaking, it's not "poetry" or suchlike, it's not the "originality" of his writing style.... I suppose it could be described as a sort of Japanese minimalism and American mass consumerism blend society, which is Gibson's unique vision. Here we don't have "x flew in spaceship to y, defeats z empire", but we have the world we know today, pushed to absolute overdrive. No pristine environment, or moving descriptions of the peace of space travel - here we have the dirty, hedonistic, consumerist, urban society we have today, driven by brandnames, bright lights, and no future; in essence, the Gen X-er's future. It's not quite like Blade Runner, where it's a more Film Noir type city. Here we have technology used, not to benefit mankind but to sell to consumers - people who live out their lives as the pawns of corporations. There is of course the wonderful descriptions of Virtual Reality/Internet, where mankind has created a sort of spirit-world, where depressed outcasts of this society can escape from the "world of meat". I suppose this is why I think Neuromancer is great.
A wonderful read, whether or not you're into computers.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 17 years ago
I read this book in 1990. I was browsing a book store with my boyfriend, who picked up the book and exclaimed ``Wow, listen to this!'' upon reading the first sentence. ("The sky was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.")He bought the book, loan it to me the next week and I never returned it. Gibson's lyric writing, his intricate plotting, his discomfort with corporate omnipresense are all worth savoring...you'll read the novel once for story, then again (and again) for text and texture. He's also a master at capturing the way a city feels, how it crowds you and isolates you at the same time. (Manhattanites will definitely get it.)In any event, I'm not at all involved in computers or high technology of any kind. Gibson may be the father of cyberpunk and the coiner of the word "cyberspace," but you don't need to know or care what that means to enjoy his books, particularly Neuromancer.
...And Cyberspace was born.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 18 years ago
"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." So begins William Gibson's prophetic and apocryphal novel NEUROMANCER, the first in his SPRAWL Trilogy and arguably the most important Science Fiction novel of the Century. In a single, mind-bending work, Gibson propelled an entire generation into a new era of information perception, an era that has since woven itself strand-by-strand into the global information nexus we call the World Wide Web.It begins with Case, a young and bitter cyberspace cowboy prowling the neon-lit streets of Chiba City, in search of his lost identity. Robbed of his talent for working the Matrix as a data thief and cyberspace pirate, his life is a bleak and desolate journey towards self-destruction. Until the day a mirror-eyed assassin offers him a second chance.Suddenly Case is an unwitting pawn in a game whose board stretches from Chiba to the Sprawl to an orbiting pleasure colony populated by Ninja clones and Zion-worshipping Rastafarian spacers. The job: to hack the unhackable. To break the ICE around an Artificial Intelligence and release it from its own hardwired mind. But at every turn Case is haunted by the shadows of his own dark past, and pursued by a faceless enemy whose very presence can kill.Ironically, William Gibson tapped out the wonders of NEUROMANCER on a manual typewriter, and was certain it was fated for the Out Of Print stack or a quiet cult following. But now, over ten years later and still in print, it has become a kind of cultural landmark in a sea of Information; a chrome-and-silicon avatar of everything from the World Wide Web to Virtual Reality. NEUROMANCER must not be explained or related; it must be experienced, taken in through the pores and rolled against the tongue like electric adrenaline. And there is only one way to do so.Pick up a copy. And jack in.Clay Douglas Major
Prophecy or fiction? You pick!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User, 18 years ago
It took me some time to get started into this book--the "imaginary" future Gibson has created is somewhat familiar, yet bizarre enough to leave one grasping for understanding in the beginning pages. Once engrossed, I couldn't put it down! My constant back thought as I read was the absolute awe that I felt for Gibson's ability to envision a computer world so 1990's true to life at a time when Apple had yet to create their first Mac! Gibson's description of "jacking in" to the net, and "flipping" is so close to today's "logging on" and "quick-switching" that it gave me goosebumps each time he used the terms! Gibson was truly touched by the muse of inspiration when writing "Neuromancer", and I'm sure we'll see more of his *prophecies* come to pass before the millenium. This is advised reading for all who wish to understand the potential of the internet and the World Wide Web. Just take it slow, by osmosis you'll get the scenario, and by the final chapter--you'll know the concept. You'll be awestruck too, I guarantee! Can't wait to read Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive! you