Wednesday, December 29, 2010


William Gibson
Ace, 1984 (my copy is from 1997)
Size: Average (my copy has 263 pages)
Theme: Cyberspace
Narrative: Third-person
Main character: Case
Recommended minimum age: Young adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: LIKELY

This was my first cyberpunk book. Most of the sci-fi I had read until then was about time travel, space exploration, alien species, alternative future societies, super powers, and other traditional topics. Although I have continued to pursue the more conservative sci-fi styles, and have not read other cyberpunk novels since, Neuromancer was quite enjoyable.
This is the story of Case, a cyber-freelancer, who previously stole from an employer, and was infected by him with a neurotoxin that damaged his bodily functions and prevents him from further working in cyberspace. In this book, Case is offered a chance of redemption by performing a high risk job to a very wealthy citizen. He is grouped with Molly, and both have little information about what exactly is the job they are tasked with.

There is technology all around, and everything in the story revolves (as expected) around computers and information technology. Even though the book is over 2 decades old, it still feels quite up-to-date and the topics addressed, such as corporate espionage, corporate power, and living online, continue to be very pertinent. Another such issue is the evolution of society in the face of the current global communication network.

I found the book to be quite good, with a fast pace and adequate character development (even if the story is very focused on Case). However, it did not make a very lasting impression, and details rapidly leaked from my mind compared to most books I read. I enjoyed the take on cyber espionage, although this topic has been so extensively explored in different media (particularly movies) for the past couple decades that I did not feel particularly impressed by novelty or originality. Still, the book did define an entire new theme (cyberpunk) at its time, and is worth reading even if only for historical pertinence.

Follow-up books:

Even though Neuromancer reads very well independently, there are 2 sequels: Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive. Not having read these two books I cannot comment them, but it is always good to know readers are able to pursue the story further if desired.

Spoilers (warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):
Case gets enough money from the job that he is able to purchase a new liver and pancreas, and starts a relatively new life elsewhere. He never saw Molly again after the job.

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