Cyberpunk Information Database
Science Fiction



This document is about William Gibson's cyberpunk classic "Neuromancer". The book itself can be found in Cyberpunk Library.


Title: Neuromancer
Author: William Gibson
Year of publishing: 1984

William Gibson's debut novel Neuromancer gained a cult-status very soon after its publishing by being one of the first novels in a new science-fiction genre called Cyberpunk. So it has become "the definitive cyberpunk book" and the most famous cyberpunk novel of all the time.

Neuromancer was book of the year 1984 in the USA, and it also gained 3 sci-fi literature awards: the Hugo, the 1984 Nebula, and the 1985 Philip K. Dick Memorial Awards.

Although Gibson used the word "cyberspace" first time in his story "Burning Chrome" already in 1982, in Neuromancer he presented the whole idea of a global information network called the Matrix.

"Neuromancer" also introduced the notion of a technology dominated dystopian society in which social decay is apparent everywhere and lasting interpersonal relationships are nonexistant. "Neuromancer" presents an image of the future. There is corruption everywhere and the essence of being human seems to be slipping away. In his novel Gibson portrays not only what the future of technology may hold, but some of the negative externalities that directly effect human nature and social interaction. In fact, Gibson focuses almost entirely on the ugly aspects of technology which is in contrast to his "matrix". Gibson totally neglects to represent any positive aspects of new technology. The society of "Neuromancer" seems to be utterly advanced in terms of technology. However, upon closer inspection this is not exactly the case. There is no evidence of successfull technology in Gibsons novel. The society of "Neuromancer" willingly allows itself to be directly controled by technology. They create incredible technologies and then use them for evil and material gain, rather than for their social well being.

Neuromancer shows the power of technology and how it can control society without producing positive benefits. The society presented is technologically advanced but extremely rude, materialistic, hedonistic, and self-centered. The overall view of the future is pessimistic: Rise of multinational capitalistic corporations forecasting the negative effects of new technologies of everyday human life.


The book centers on Case, a former computer hacker who makes his living by breaking into security systems. Caught stealing from his employers, Case is rendered physically unable to withstand the rigors of access to the worldwide computer net. Unable to work, he welcomes suicidal thoughts, entering into deals that can only go bad. Willing to do anything for the chance to work again, he turns to a mysterious figure named Armitage, and by so doing begins a journey out of the gutters of 21st century Tokyo and into an ever-expanding world of multinational intrigue. Armitage pays off Case's debts, repairs his neural damage, and places him under the protection of Molly, a professional killer. As Case progresses through his assignments with Molly and a range of others enlisted by Armitage, he becomes aware of larger forces working to control his activities. Ultimately, Case realizes that it is Neuromancer, a far-reaching artificial intelligence, that he has been working for. The opus ends with Case's realization that he has been controlled by the very technology he uses.

Explanation of the word "neuromancer"

The word "neuromancer" itself consists of 2 compounds:

stands for nerves and artificial intelligence

stands for a (white) magician and romance. It also stands for Case as a computer "hacker" who disrupts the social order (much like an evil magician) by throwing virus programs into society, thus causing chaos in the world.

The word is also a pun from the word "Necromancer": magician dealing in evil spirits and death.

Scientific Writings

Representations of Ecocide in Blade Runner and Neuromancer
Post-Humanism and Ecocide in William Gibson's Neuromancer and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. An essay by Tama Leaver.

Links & References

The book by William Gibson.

Study Guide for William Gibson: Neuromancer
A study guide for the book. Provides background to understand what you are reading, and lots of information, explanations, translations, and questions to think about when reading.
By Paul Brian, Washington State University.

Covers the books and the film.

The Neuromancer Project
The Neuromancer Project prepared by an English class at Western Illinois University. Students in the class prepared hypertexts exploring issues raised by Neuromancer as a course assignment.

Resources on William Gibson
William Gibson resource list by Loyola University New Orleans Library.

William Gibson Toolkit
Neuromancer encyclopedia by

Neuromancer - The novel
By Vanessa Ghaderi & Eva Zydek.

Neuromancer as a Cyberpunk Novel
An essay by Dave Rivera.

Neuromancer Movie
Movie by Chris Cunningham.

Neuromancer Graphic Novel

Neuromancer Audio Book


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The Cyberpunk Project