Neuromancer

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neuromancer.gif

William Gibson

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Mystery

SUMMARY:
Case is a computer cowboy almost eternally jacked in to the electronic information highway that permeates most of his world. His entire life is dependent on the technology within his body that allows him to connect. However, when Case crosses the wrong group of computer mafia-moguls, he finds himself unable to jack-in due to a virus able to kill him if he were to do so.

Case feels trapped in his physical body and roams the underbelly of the city seeking distraction or oblivion. In the depths of his panic and despair, he is offered a way out. A cure will be given to him if he can hack into a mysterious computer system.

With the help of Molly, a professional killer with funky sunglass implants, Case begins to unravel a major conspiracy that could change the fate of humans and computers, or cost him and Molly their lives.

RESPONSE:
This book is not an easy read. Gibson has a knack for creating a world that seems very real. However, he does this in part by not explaining things that would be accepted as everyday in his created world. So even thought the reader has no clue what he's talking about, Gibson sails right through like it was completely normal. This made it very difficult for me to understand exactly what was going on in Neuromancer. Eventually, I caught on to the technology and the slang, but by that point, I felt I had missed crucial plot elements. This book was like my old dreaded organic chemistry classes; once you get behind, there's no way to catch up. To be honest, I was not fair to this novel by virtually skimming it. Neuromancer requires time to read and digest. Everyone I have talked to said they almost had to read every paragraph twice to properly understand what was happening.

Despite my uncertainty on plot details, I enjoyed this book. The world and characters Gibson creates are finely crafted and realistic. Case was an engaging hero, while Molly and her glasses provided a little chemistry and mystery (for more on Molly read Gibson's Burning Chrome). The dark urban and technological setting of this book provided a foundation for the slew of cyberpunk scifi that exists today.

In fact, this is the main reason I feel that Neuromancer is considered a modern classic. Written in 1984 (why does that year keep cropping up?), this book predicts the tech-reliant world of today and tomorrow surprisingly well. Original in plot and character, perhaps most important is the setting that paved the way for the cyberpunk genre.

POINT BLANK:
If you're looking for an entertaining and easy read, skip this. However, if you're interested in cyberpunk at all, this book is a necessity. Remember it's going to take effort to enjoy, but it's worth it. I think I should follow my own advice and read it again.