This document is about William Gibson's cyberpunk classic
"Neuromancer". The book itself can be found in
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 1984 Nebula, and
the 1985 Philip K. Dick Memorial
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
The book centers on Case, a former computer hacker who makes
his living by breaking into security systems. Caught stealing from his
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
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
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.
- 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
- William Gibson Toolkit
- Neuromancer encyclopedia by firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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