Gibson's Neuromancer trilogy in the Context of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Zachariah Boyle

William Gibson's Neuromancer is a work that seems to me as a bit ahead of its time. Gibson's unique writing style, invented vocabulary and dark future world all combined to impress me.

I actually had read Neuromancer as an eighth-grader and just thought it was okay. I looked at it with a sort of cynical eye and found Gibson's writing style to be irritating at times. For example, Gibson never physically describes his main character, Case. If he did, I failed to see it. However, other characters are described in detail. I'm a bit more open-minded now to accept this way of character creation. In a sense, Case's looks don't matter--he's a born cyberspace cowboy in which his appearance doesn't make a difference.

Other elements in Neuromancer serve to distinguish it from the rest of the huge market of science fiction novels. For example, when Case is a rider inside Molly's body, it's a weird experience for the reader. 'For a few frightened seconds he fought helplessly to control her body. Then he willed himself into passivity, became the passenger behind her eyes,' Gibson writes. I'm sure this sort of thing has been done before in science fiction novels, but never in this way: a mix of science and magic, almost, allowing Case to experience exactly what Molly is.

Gibson also successfully creates a dark future that would be imitated again and again, just like Tolkien's world of Middle-Earth. I was impressed with the ingenuity of the impossibly huge Sprawl, in which people could take tubes from Baltimore to New York in between lunch and dinner. Animals are long gone--a rarity (much like Phillip K. Dick's Bladerunner novel) vainly attempted to bring back to nature by scientists. The reader knows it's impossible. Gibson also forsees a future of cyborgs much like Mitchell's City of Bits touches on, but in an extreme; young teens sport highly visible "microsoft," street samurai and "joe boys" have cybernetic weapons, biological mods and synthetic muscle. One would wonder where normal people live in this world. Probably in remote strongholds in the midwest or something.

I also found Gibson's writing style to be interesting--short, descriptive sentences and tons of words bonded together to seem futuristic. All in all, I enjoyed the book.

Neuromancer Cyborg Cyberspace OV