The Dehumanization of Desire

Jomoe Fray '10, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

In Gibson's novel, Neuromancer, the future looks very bad. Most shocking is the description of prostitution in this new era of media immersion. Gibson's future strips everything away until only the raw pleasure remains. Prostitution becomes robotic. The prostitute undergoes the ultimate dehumanization; feeling is removed, cognitive thought is removed, life itself is removed. This dehumanization produces a cyborg.

The girl sat up in bed and said something in German. Her eyes were soft and unblinking. Automatic pilot. A neural cutout. He backed out of the cubicle and closed the door....You know how I got the money, when I was starting out? Here. Not here, but a place like it, in the Sprawl. Joke to start with, 'cause once they plant the cut-out chip, it seems like free money. Wake up sore, sometimes, but that's it. Renting the goods, is all. You aren't in, when it's all happening. House has software for whatever a customer wants to pay for [p. 143]

Discussion Questions

1. Is this a far off reality? To some degree are we already there?

2. Lobot, a character from George Lucas's Star Wars saga, was half man, half cyborg. Lobot was a criminal who was allowed to "repay his debt to Cloud City by becoming an indentured servant to the community, and undergoing cyborg augmentation. The end result was one of the most loyal employees Cloud City has ever had" ( His cyborg modifications made him a drone; he did anything and everything administrator Lando Calrissian asked of him without question. Is this a futuristic form of slavery?

3. As technology has evolved have we lost our basic human rights? Is Lobot's situation and the prostitutes similar?


Gibson, William Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.

Cyberspace OV Cyborg  Mona Lisa Overdrive

Last modified 30 October 2006