Book Review: Neuromancer

NEUROMANCER (Sprawl #1) | William Gibson
07.01.2000 (first published 1984) | Ace Books
Rating: 3/5 stars

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The matrix is a world within the world, which represents every byte of data in cyberspace. Case is an expert on the matrix and has been hailed as the sharpest data-thief in the business. The problem is, Case messed up. He chose to steal from his former employer and they exacted revenge upon him by injecting him with mycotoxin, which damaged his central nervous system and left him unable to access the matrix. Case is at the end of his rope. He can’t find work, he’s feeling suicidal, and his extensive drug habit has landed him on the local drug lord’s hit list.

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Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…

Just as Case thinks things are over for him, a mysterious woman named Molly comes in to his life. She’s an augmented street samurai and mercenary working for a shady ex-military officer known as Armitage. Armitage gives Case a proposition he can hardly refuse. He is willing to cure Case in exchange for him working exclusively as a hacker for him. Case and Molly are quickly swept up on a whirlwind mission which has them performing dangerous work for Armitage. Who is this mysterious figure and what is the real end goal of their mission?

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When the past is always with you, it may as well be present; and if it is present, it will be future as well.

William Gibson was ahead of his time in 1984 when he published NEUROMANCER. The book is laced with futuristic technology and cyberspace capabilities prominent in this dystopian world he has created. Gibson isn’t subtle about his jargon and readers should prepare themselves to feel confused from the start of this book. The reader is forced to decode the environment, the technology, and the people who make up this novel. As someone who does not declare science fiction to be one of their most read genres, I certainly had one heck of time understanding NEUROMANCER! Gibson’s writing is somehow clear and concise, but also written at a level above my science fiction bravado. Despite my issues, I was able to grasp the story as a whole and understand the majority of the mission Case and Molly were on. There were definitely times when re-reading was a must! I would recommend NEUROMANCER to an experienced science fiction reader. This book was nothing short of a bizarro ride straight in to the future!

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