Friday, January 25, 2013

Neuromancer by William Gibson - The Archetype of Cyberpunk



 
The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus- hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace . . .

Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction.


 


Published in 1984 (long before the Internet was invented), Neuromancer is what diehard fans of cyberpunk would call the template of Cyberpunk. Not only did William Gibson introduce the term and notion of 'cyberspace', he asked the main question many cyberpunk novels ask: what it is to be human once technology has replaced our living tissue? (That question can be originally attributed to Phillip K. Dick and his 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - a.k.a. Blade Runner)

Neuromancer touches on many classic aspects of Cyberpunk.

The dystopian backdrop : a grimy, broken down, technology filled and noir-infused Japanese city.

The antiheroe: Case, the previously brilliant computer hacker who had his brain cells fried by his former employer, leaving him unable to jack in to the "cyberspace."Cyberpunk characters are put in situations that they don't often choose, and usually don't come out on top, forming great examples of anti-heroes.

Biotechnology to its finest: physically augmented kick-ass heroine, Molly, with her mirrored lenses covering her eye sockets, a sharpened reflex system and double-edge blades.

The blur between reality and the virtual: the direct connection between brain and computers with sensational descriptions of surfing The Matrix.

What I loved the most about Neuromancer was the 'feel' that emanated from this book. The world-building, characterization and voice reeks of cyberpunk and its gritty characteristics.

While some readers have complained about Neuromancer's pacing and (now outdated) technology, Neuromancer remains one of the most important novels in the history of literature as it transcended its time and revolutionized the genre of science-fiction.

2 comments:

  1. Adding this to my TBR pile! It'll be hard not to impose imagery of works that've been done since, even if I know which came first (for example, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin vs 1984...)

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  2. It looks awesome. Very nice post!

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