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Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
June 3, 2022

This is a wild ride. If you like Philip K. Dick’s writing and wondered what would happen if you extended his vision into the not too distant future, if you liked Bladerunner, if you liked The Matrix … and even if you like all the film and fiction that has made an attempt to be any of the above, you will love Neuromancer.

William Gibson said that while writing Neuromancer he went to see the Ridley Scott film Bladerunner and thought that his ideas for the book were hopelessly lost, that everyone would naturally assume that he had taken all of his queues from the film. I have written that Bladerunner was that most rare of accomplishments, a film that was as good or better than the book. Bladerunner was of course patterned loosely after Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick. One reason why Bladerunner was as good was because Scott’s vision was so different from Dick’s. Bladerunner was a distinctly cyberpunk vision, whereas Dick’s was dystopian but not necessarily cyberpunk.

Neuromancer has been called the definitive, benchmark novel of the cyberpunk sub-genre. Gibson takes his influences from Escape from New York, Anthony Burgess and from Phillip K. Dick, among others, but then goes to a wholly different level. It can even be said that Gibson, who in turn heavily influenced the producers of The Matrix, is a bridge between the older 60s post-modernist dystopian science fiction with the more modern, computer driven, angst ridden world weariness that has represented artists since the 80s. Neuromancer defined the genre and I could hardly go a few pages without noticing how it had influenced literature and film since.

As a book, this was excellent, I could not put it down. Gibson creates an edge, a tension that exists throughout the narrative that grabs the reader and won’t let him go. Gibson is the literary successor to Phillip K. Dick, an observer who does not skip ahead to a distant dystopian rebirth, but instead chronicles the ugly fall itself.

******* 2018 re-read

As I type these words here in June of 2018, Goodreads says that I have rated over 1400 books and have reviewed over 1300. Of these I have listed six as being my all-time favorites. After thinking about Neuromancer for years and having just re-read it, almost literally not putting it down, I am adding this to my very short list of beloved books.

The PKD allusions are still there as is the Bosch-esque attention to detail – this is a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds and ideas coming at you at ludicrous speed. There are also the references to Bladerunner and Escape from New York and this makes me think of the shared consciousness and Jungian gestalt cultural observations that Gibson was tapping into in the early eighties. What was going on in this time that made such talented artists as Ridley Scott and John Carpenter also envision such a world?

What caught my eye this time around was the noir elements to the story and Gibson’s writing, heavy but fast moving as it is, tunes into a retro style that you can almost hear Harrison Ford’s Deckard narrating as Case gets to the bottom of the twin AI mystery.

At it’s heart, this is of course THE cyberpunk novel, honorable mention to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 Snow Crash. Gibson was jacked into a time and space phenomena that was just below the subconscious and so struck a chord with so many. But it is also a timeless speculative fiction novel in the sense that it depicts human isolation and technological alienation that Yevgeny Zamyatin and E.M. Forster wrote about decades before. Necromancer’s influence on the Matrix films makes it the Godfather of post-modern techno-punk thrillers.

A must read.

*** 2022 reread –

As before I was quickly taken in to Gibson’s world and carried through the story on his tightly packed prose and then dumped unceremoniously at the end, gasping for breath and again impressed with this unique literary experience that is Neuromancer.

If this were music it would be a wall of sound, a cacophony of noise that at first seems chaotic and yet the listener is soon absorbed into the composition, identifying and distinguishing various melodies and themes within the complex score.

I think I've wondered this before but will formally wonder now and here: was Gibson inspired by the writings of John Varley? There seems to be some similarities in style and theme and if so I like Varley even more.

Case and Molly are archetypes now, the anti-hero and the tech femme fatale. Wintermute and Neuromancer are twin godfathers of the Matrix and all the stories that fall into that genre.

Cannot believe that I let four years go by between readings and this may / should be an annual reread for me.

Profile Image for Sandi.
510 reviews277 followers
February 25, 2009
For well over 20 years, I have seen copies of William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” on the Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelves of nearly every bookstore I have gone into. I recently decided to pick up a copy and read it. I figured a book that’s been continuously in print for over twenty years and is considered a ground-breaking work in Science Fiction had to be good. I figured wrong.

“Neuromancer” is a very convoluted novel. It jumps from local to local and situation to situation in a very jerky way. To add to the confusion, a good chunk of the novel takes place in a 1980’s cyberspace that seems very dated to this 21st century reader. Gibson utterly fails at making any of the characters or settings come to life. And, the action isn’t very active. There’s plenty of sex and violence in the book, but it’s all very pedestrian. (The violence is slightly more exciting than the sex.) I couldn’t even bring myself to care about the “hero” and what happens to him. He has no passion, even when his ability to plug into the matrix is restored. There is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness to the novel that doesn’t ever let up. It’s depressing from beginning to end.

“Neuromancer” is considered to be groundbreaking in that it brought us the sub-genre of cyberpunk. However, it’s just not very good. For a much better cyberpunk read, try Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.” It has many of the same elements as “Neuromancer,” but it’s fleshed out better, has better character development and brings both the real world and cyberspace to life.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
December 4, 2013

Eureka!...Hallelujah!...I've had a wondrous epiphany!
I finally get it...I have seen the light and understanding has dawned. Gibson’s manifest brilliance has revealed itself to me and I am left humbled and quivering in AWE.

After a rocky, tumultuous courtship that oscillated between respect and frustration through my first two readings of Neuromancer, number 3 became the CHARMing, rapturous awakening into a hopelessly devoted, head over heals love affair that I’m confident will last a lifetime. Now, with the ebullient fervor of the newly converted, I feel compelled to give testimony and proselytize the glory that is William Gibson’s singular masterpiece.

To begin...a small history.


My first exposure to this book was late in the 1990‘s, long after it had already spent over a decade as the magical source of all things cyberpunk. I came to it after having read several of its prolific spawn and decided it was time to visit the source code.

My first mistake...for “Neuromancer” is not the first cyberpunk novel or at least, that is not all it is...not even close. I viewed the novel within the narrow confines of the world that it had created and completely missed its true magic. I saw the novel through the fog of my faulty preconceptions.

I believed Neuromancer to be a jargon-heavy, inside joke by the techno-savvy and the computer literate as they thumbed their nose at the tech-tarded luddites who couldn’t see the pending future that lay before them. I saw this as a novel for the cyberspacially erudite, and those not coded for the new paradigm were to be left behind in the trash heap of history along with the abacus and the printed word.

For those who have had a similar reaction to this book, you...I...we were so, so, SO wrong.

It missed the point entirely. Neuromancer didn’t preach to the creators of the new, new wasn’t even, at its core, about least not in the instructional manual, code-writing sense of the word. William Gibson was more techno-stupid than techno-proficient and his interpretation of the interpretation of the future was the vision of an artist not an engineer. In fact, the few areas where Gibson had any knowledge about what he was writing are the areas that have become the most anachronistic.

What Gibson did see...with a clarity and exactitude that would make Nostradamus green with envy, was the path on which humanity was travelling. Increased dependance on technology, increased detachment among individuals and a blurring of lines between nations. And all of this led to that central, crystalizing vision of cyberspace, artificial intelligence and the world wide web.

And now we come to the reason why this book belongs among the MOST IMPORTANT WORKS OF LITERATURE ever created. Gibson’s inspired, non-technical vision of the future was the lightning that created the fire of inspiration for the generation that then made his vision come to pass. The teenagers and bidding technophiles of the 1980’s saw the “fictional elements” of Gibson’s novel and said, “holy shit, wouldn’t that be cool"...and proceeded to make it so.

From Neuromancer's memorable first words, “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel” to the final, mind-shattering conclusion of the mystery of Winter Mute...this novel is probably the greatest example of life imitating art that literature has ever known and our world would be profoundly different, for good or for ill, in the absence of this amazing work.

....WOW, sorry for waxing on so long, but like I said, I am the newly converted.


Our protagonist, Case, is an amoral, ex-cyber cowboy (i.e., hacker) whose former bosses destroyed his ability to enter the matrix (i.e., cyberspace) as a punishment for his stealing from them.
They damaged his nervous system with a wartime Russian mycotoxin. Strapped to a bed in a Memphis hotel, his talent burning out micron by micron, he hallucinated for thirty hours. The damage was minute, subtle, and utterly effective. For Case, who'd lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it was the Fall.
Since his involuntary exile from the matrix, Case has become self-destructive and suicidal and is hell bent on shuffling off this mortal coil but is unwilling or unable to accomplish the task himself.
A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he'd taken and the corners he'd cut in Night City, and he'd still see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void… The Sprawl was a long strange way home over the Pacific now, and he was no console man, no cyberspace cowboy. Just another hustler, trying to make it through. But the dreams came on in the Japanese night like livewire voodoo, and he'd cry for it, cry in his sleep, and wake alone in the dark, curled in his capsule in some coffin hotel, his hands clawed into the bedslab, temperfoam bunched between his fingers, trying to reach the console that wasn't there.
in his "i wanna die" despondency, Case has been taking the most dangerous scores, the biggest risks, all along waiting for someone to put him out of his “meat-trapped” misery.

That is the "hero" of our little tale.

After this brief intro and some layered world-building involving Chiba City, Case finds himself recruited by a group of criminals who agree to “cure him” in exchange for working with them on a complex caper involving aspects of cyberspace hacking and real world breaking and entering. That is really the basic set up (though it gives you less than a hint of the real flavor of the book). The heist/hack is really comprised of two primary “jobs” that are both connected to a burgeoning artificial intelligence known as Winter Mute. That is really a bare bones description of the plot, but there are so many well crafted summaries floating around that I wanted to stick mainly with commentary.


Gibson’s prose is like nothing I have read before and it took me a while to come to grips with that statement. Gibson’s writing is poetry, not jargon. It's personal, internal and emotional, not cold and externally descriptive. It's the dark, fevered dream of a world where humanity and technology have been inextricably fused together with results both miraculous and profane. His prose is slick and jagged like a serrated knife; beautiful, breezy and hard-edged. His verse is color of gunmetal and electricity and the texture of anger spilling on a meadow of dashed hope and unearned rewards. It is as much about mood as it is about message. Here’s an example:
The drug hit him like an express train, a white-hot column of light mounting his spine from the region of his prostate, illuminating the sutures of his skull with x-rays of short-circuited sexual energy. His teeth sang in their individual sockets like tuning forks, each one pitch-perfect and clear as ethanol. His bones, beneath the hazy envelope of flesh, were chromed and polished, the joints lubricated with a film of silicone. Sandstorms raged across the scoured floor of his skull, generating waves of high thin static that broke behind his eyes, spheres of purest crystal, expanding...The anger was expanding, relentless, exponential, riding out behind the betaphenethylamine rush like a carrier wave, a seismic fluid, rich and corrosive.
Yeah, I am a big, big fan. In case I wasn't clear about that before, I don’t want you to think I was being wishy-washy. Before i wrap up, here is one more example of the visual, visceral nature of Gibson’s verse:
Night City was like a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button. Stop hustling and you sank without a trace, but move a little too swiftly and you'd break the fragile surface tension of the black market; either way, you were gone, with nothing left of you but some vague memory in the mind of a fixture like Ratz, though heart or lungs or kidneys might survive in the service of some stranger with New Yen for the clinic tanks.
A unique, important and truly amazing reading experience and it only took me three tries to realize it. DOH!!!!


Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Winner: Philip K. Dick Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best First Novel
Nominee: British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
795 reviews3,612 followers
December 19, 2021
Let's get digital in one of the milestones of modern Sci-fi enabling a little beast called Cyberpunk, also known as the coming future, to enter the scene.

His Nostradamiam abilities don´t just include the internet, but also corporatocracies controlling everything, cannibalizing the state, grown out of the once, in a very short period of time between 1945 and 1970 in some regions, fairer social and economic systems, now making neoliberals and Milton fangirls and boys happy because they can watch the downfall of all civilizations that could be paradises with a tiny grain of distributional justice. We are not even talking about an unrealistic 50 50 or something, just a few percent of what the 1 percent owns, to just leave them with something between 40 to 45 percent of all wealth left, would be enough to solve all human problems.

But history is over, greed has won, politics and faith are out of the game, and predator turbo capitalism rules the world, Dystopian nightmares become reality everywhere, ranging from true Orwellian visions that might become impossible to rebel against because of the grade of surveillance enabled by technology, to dead, pseudo fringe democracies controlled by lobbyism and consumerism while most of the population is starving and impoverishing, numbing themselves with consumption and drugs. Not to mention nature, she´s already dead.

The combination of neurochemistry pimped by drugs, AI´s and implants is, in contrast to the dirt, desperation, and filth of this wasted megacities, something seemingly pure and clinical, also close to positive, because it shows that advanced medicine and pharmacy could be used for good too, but aren´t or can´t.

The internet is an easy, cheap, and understandable alternative in a world without hope and perspective, something that is already happening with the main target audience for self destructive behavior, hopeless male teenagers and young adults that are fleeing reality for social, and still not economic reasons, because the superficiality of a predator mobbing society is nothing they long for. But soon they´ll be joined by hundreds of millions and billions of others whose only option for a good life outside a desperate job and social life will be fictional AR and VR worlds, which is also very attractive for governments and corporations, because it´s cheap and easy to avoid revolutions by having happy, busy slaves who are just thinking about their next World of Warcraft raid.

All of this is inevitable, because a fairer, eco social, strong state model with universal basic income, 15 hour workweeks, and open borders
would cost the wealthy elite, as mentioned, a few percent and they will wait until it´s close to total collapse, civil war, total inevitable destruction of all of nature´s treasures, etc. before they change the lucrative, neo feudal system. Or just threaten the stubborn country with leaving it or unleashing the Cerberus chain dog lawyer armadas to litigate billions out of corporate unfriendly rebel maverick states.

This subgenre of Sci-Fi, just as the games that are coming out at the moment; is the most important one in contrast to the ones that are playing hundreds and thousands of years in the future and have already fixed the problems with logical technological and socio economical methods we are too greedy and stupid to use at the moment, because it could prevent the catastrophe if anything in the political and economic circuses would be changed, if creative visions would be seen as worthy of being discussed and not seen as unrealistic fiction, even if one can already look out of the window and see its awakening and dawn. There are other, classic or unknown, and a bit hard-sci-fi authors
that are playing with these themes that are even going into more detail in describing how Western democracies are and will be failing.

Worthless personal note as extra infodump: I don´t play games at the moment, will maybe restart it as a midlife crisis hobby, when whatever follows 8k is on the market, and I can waste my silver years gaming and reading, but I read about the developments in gaming and analysis of the underlying themes.

The funny and tragic thing is that, as mentioned, far future sci-fi sees the solution of all of these problems, in most of them there is a good, enlightened fraction that used technology and science to automate everything to form a post scarcity utopia, and that these works aren´t seen as important beacons towards realizing a better tomorrow, but as trivial fiction. All of these things will happen, it´s inevitable and necessary epigenetic human evolution fueled by a technological singularity, but it will be too late for the only real and first habitable planet garden Eden humankind once had. Remember, back then, a century ago at the beginning of the 20th century, when most of the world´s nature was still existing?

This work is truly nothing for all readers, it´s unconventional, Gibson´s style needs getting used to for not sci-fi prone readers, and some of his later works are more meh, because he starts recycling his topics, getting redundant, not investing as much time in plotting and character development as would be necessary, and losing control over or interest in finetuning plotlines and premise. Consider this if you are a bit picky with your genre conventions, everyone else, enjoy the implications, innuendos, and connotations.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,770 followers
May 27, 2007
A lozenge is a shape. Like a cube, or a triangle, or a sphere. I know that every time he types it, you are going to imagine a cough drop flying serenely by, but it's a shape. It's from heraldry for god's sake. You may want to look up some synonyms to insert for yourself when he uses it, here are a few: diamond, rhombus, mascle.

Now that the greatest obstacle in Gibson's vocabulary has been dealt with, I can tell you that he writes in one of the finest voices of any Science Fiction author. His ability to describe things in succinct, exciting, sexy ways is almost certainly the reason we owe him for words like 'cyberspace'.

It took twenty years for his visions of leather-clad kung-fu ladies and brain-computer interfaces to reach the mainstream in The Matrix, but only because he was that far ahead of his time.

However, Gibson was no early adopter. He used a typewriter to write a book that predicted the internet, virtual reality, hacking, and all the nonsense we're embroiled in now (and some stuff we're still waiting for). It can sometimes feel unoriginal, but, much like Shakespeare, that's because what we have today is based on what he was doing then.

Though Gibson may not be as radical as Dick, or as original as Bradbury, there is something in his words, his stories, and his 'coolness factor' that keep bringing me back. Indeed, he is much more accessible than the philosophically remote Dick, Bradbury, or Ellison, and all in a slick package.

Just don't try to watch Johnny Mnemonic. Ever. He did write the best X-Files episode, though: 'Kill Switch'. He also wrote a script for Alien 3, which I have never read, but can state with certainty was better than the one they chose to film.
Profile Image for E.B..
11 reviews
October 13, 2008
Wow. What a terrible book.

First, let me just say that I read for entertainment value. Anything else that happens is gravy. That being said- the biggest reason this book is so awful is that Gibson's characters are completely hollow. Gibson makes it up as he goes along. He'll introduce a character, barely describe him and then 10 chapters later toss in another description. As if to say "Oh, yeah did I mention his hands were chainsaws? Yeah, they were totally chainsaws. Cool right?"
The reason this is such a headache is that once your mind's eye has cast the characters, as shallow as they are, all of a sudden there's a new dimension tossed in. He doesn't just do this with characters, he does it with locations as well. Never giving you a chance to really place the characters in a setting. Other than "a dark city street." I mean, Try a little harder Gibson. I'm not a writer, but isn't that a sign of BAD WRITING?

The second reason this book is so bad, is Gibson's writing "style". I hate writing "styles". Stop trying to show off and just tell me a story. The "style" makes Neuromancer a very difficult book to read. I'd read 2 or 3 chapters and literally have no idea what was going on. Gibson will write a whole page with four lines of dialog and the rest of the page will describe absolutely nothing. Reminds me of the Mark Twain quote: "Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."

Now- for the positives. Gibson clearly just wanted to write a string of action sequences and techno-babel. Being a computer nerd myself, I found all of that interesting. Towards the end the characters actually have dialog with each other and as things come to a head it actually get's entertaining here and there. Another huge plus is that this book is considered the first true Cyberpunk work and has been heavily mined by Hollywood, Anime and pop-culture in general. Coining phrases like Matrix, Cyberspace, etc. For me, this was probably the first book I ever read just to say I read it. I don't regret it, but believe me, I'm glad it's over because I literally forced myself through it. Just wait for the movie. It'll probably make more sense.
Profile Image for Loren.
95 reviews18 followers
January 30, 2008
Adapted from

The first time I tried to read Neuromancer, I stopped around page 25.

I was about 15 years old and I’d heard it was a classic, a must-read from 1984. So I picked it up and I plowed through the first chapter, scratching my head the whole time. Then I shoved it onto my bookshelf, where it was quickly forgotten. It was a dense, multilayered read, requiring more effort than a hormone-addled adolescent wanted to give. But few years later, I pulled the book down and gave it another chance. This time, William Gibson’s dystopic rabbit hole swallowed me whole.

Neuromancer is basically a futuristic crime caper. The main character is Case, a burnt-out hacker, a cyberthief. When the book opens, a disgruntled employer has irrevocably destroyed parts of his nervous system with a mycotoxin, meaning he can’t jack into the matrix, an abstract representation of earth’s computer network. Then he receives a suspiciously sweet offer: A mysterious employer will fix him up if he’ll sign on for a special job. He cautiously agrees and finds himself joined by a schizophrenic ex-Special Forces colonel; a perverse performance artist who wrecks havoc with his holographic imaginings; a long-dead mentor whose personality has been encoded as a ROM construct; and a nubile mercenary with silver lenses implanted over her eyes, retractable razors beneath her fingernails and one heckuva chip on her shoulder. Case soon learns that the target he’s supposed to crack and his employer and are one and the same -- an artificial intelligence named Wintermute.

Unlike most crime thrillers and many works of speculative fiction, Neuromancer is interested in a whole lot more that plot development. Gibson famously coined the word “cyberspace” and he imagines a world where continents are ruled more by corporations and crime syndicates than nations, where cultural trends both ancient and modern dwell side by side, where high-tech and biotech miracles are as ordinary as air. On one page you’ll find a discussion of nerve splicing, on another a description of an open-air market in Istanbul. An African sailor with tribal scars on his face might meet a Japanese corporate drone implanted with microprocessors, the better to measure the mutagen in his bloodstream. When he’s not plumbing the future, Gibson dips into weighty themes such as the nature of love, what drives people toward self-destruction and mind/body dualism. It’s a rich, heady blend.

That complexity translates over to the novel’s prose style, which is why I suspect my first effort to read it failed. Gibson peppers his paragraphs with allusions to Asian geography and Rastafarianism, computer programming and corporate finance. He writes about subjects ranging from drug addiction and zero-gravity physics to synesthesia and brutal back-alley violence. And he writes with next to no exposition. You aren’t told that Case grew up in the Sprawl, which is the nickname for the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis, a concreted strip of the Eastern Seaboard, and that he began training in Miami to become a cowboy, which is slang for a cyberspace hacker, and that he was immensely skilled at it, et cetera, et cetera. No, you’re thrust right into Case’s shoes as he swills rice beer in Japan and pops amphetamines and tries to con the underworld in killing him when his back is turned because he thinks he’ll never work again. You have to piece together the rest on your own.

Challenging? You bet. But it’s electrifying once you get it.

I’ve worked by paperback copy until the spine and cover have split, until the pages have faded like old newsprint. Echoes of its diction sound in my own writing. Thoughts of Chiba City or BAMA pop into my head when I walk through the mall and hear a mélange of voices speaking in Spanish and English and Creole and German. Neuromancer is in me like a tea bag, flavoring my life, and I can’t imagine what it would be like if I hadn’t pressed on into page 26.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
December 4, 2008
Context. Sometimes the key to understanding something is context. And never is that more the case than with the book Neuromancer. Neuromancer is a very famous, genre creating/changing book, winner of many awards. I’m reading Neuromancer for the first time; while not quite done, I find the story to be decent and the writing to be ok. As just a book that I am reading, I would call it fair. But that is an evaluation without context.

Under what context does my evaluation change? Well, one of the first things I noticed when I picked it up is that it was originally published nearly 25 years ago, in 1984. And it is at that point that the context suddenly clicks and becomes crucial. Neuromancer is a book about, in large part, individuals exploring and exploiting cyberspace and, to a lesser extent, about artificial intelligence. When this book was written, the vast majority of people did not own a computer; it was just around the time when the idea of a family buying one started to become prevalent, and the computer they could buy did not have a hard drive and probably had no more than 64kb of RAM (the Apple IIe my family got in 1985 was “expandable” to 128kb of RAM…more than almost any program we would want to run could possibly need). Pretty much no one had heard of the internet and email was virtually unknown. The World Wide Web and webpages as we think of them today were still about 8 years away (I was reasonably plugged in at the time and I first heard about WWW and html around ‘92/93…prior to that the internet for most people was email, independent bulletin boards [anyone remember CompuServe?:], anonymous FTP, and Gopher). When one considers what the world was like, what fiction about computers was like, at the time it was written, Neuromancer must have been absolutely stunning. The innovation and direction were ground-breaking in a way that little other fiction has likely been during our lifetime.

An analogy would be the movie Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane is considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made. Sit down and watch it with someone who enjoys movies but has never seen it. Citizen Kane is a decent film with a decent story, but is hardly a stunning, blow the mind away movie, in any sense. I’m not sure it has aged particularly well, and I suspect a lot of people today find it a rather boring film. But again, that is if we view it without context. Contextually, Citizen Kane is one of the most influential movies ever made. Many have said, rightfully so, that it not only taught Hollywood how to make movies, it taught the audience how to watch movies. Citizen Kane uses nonlinear plot and flashbacks. It uses unique camera angles and closeups and shadow, all in ways that were completely innovative and unheard of for the time. Today, we watch Citizen Kane and it seems sort of ho-hum, because generations of movie makers (and watchers) have been influenced by it. At the time Citizen Kane was revolutionary, and it is in that context that its importance and influence are judged.

While everything is created in some context, the context is not always critical. Some works are timeless and stand fairly well on their own: I think a book like The Count of Monte Cristo or The Hobbit can largely be enjoyed (or disliked) by someone without appreciation of when and under what circumstances it was written (others will disagree). Other works are best appreciated with respect to context. The Jazz Singer is a rather poor film, but as the first “talkie” it killed the silent picture and changed Hollywood. Citizen Kane was arguably even more revolutionary, although in somewhat subtler ways. And it is with a consideration of context, that the importance and value of Neuromancer can be judged.

I'm not trying to claim that Neuromancer is as important or ground breaking as Citizen Kane. Neuormancer was likely not the first novel to explore the themes and concepts that it did, but it popularized a way of thinking about the role and future of computers and computer networks like no other novel has since. The word “cyberspace” was popularized by this novel (although original coined by Gibson in an earlier short story) and Neuromancer has had both direct and indirect influence on all social cybernetworks and games (e.g., World of Warcraft or Second Life). I suspect the book is much easier to read now then it was when written, because so many terms and concepts which were new at the time are now just part of our current culture.

If you newly read Neuromancer, you may or may not enjoy it (as I already stated, I’m finding it to be rather middle-of-the-road overall), but you certainly will not understand its importance or influence (for better or worse), without some consideration of context.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book862 followers
October 12, 2020
Towards the end of this novel, the protagonists, Case and Molly, are walking down the rooms of the Villa Straylight, which looks like an abandoned and labyrinthine library or museum, spinning in orbit around the Earth. At one point, Molly passes by the shattered glass pane of Marcel Duchamp’s masterpiece, La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même. Gibson’s reference to the cubist and dadaist artist, at this point of the novel, might look casual and unsubstantial; but to me, it implies a lot about the whole novel’s lineage.

In Neuromancer, as in Duchamp, there is this massive display of artefacts and dehumanised techno stuff: on the one hand, computers, artificial intelligence, cyberspace, ROM modules, augmented ninjas, razorblade-fingertips, cyberspies, stealth aircraft, orbital space habitats (Gibson); on the other hand, a urinal, a staircase, a bicycle wheel, a bottle rack, a waterfall and illuminating gas, a box in a suitcase, lumps of sugar in a birdcage (Duchamp).

There are also, in contrast to this, many graphic displays of organic and anatomic parts: on the one hand, blood vessels, drug addiction, pancreas and liver, reconstructive surgery, cryonic clones, disembowelled skulls and sexual intercourses (Gibson); on the other, a spread-legged female holding a gas lamp, a descending nude, a stripped bride and a switching from virgin to bride, Mona Lisa’s hot arse, and whatever could be exposed at the fountain (Duchamp).

The junction of these two contradictory movements, dirty bodies and hallucinatory objects, is precisely what defined surrealism in the 1920s. It is, too, what defined Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Blade Runner (which references Un Chien Andalou in subtle ways) and William Gibson’s debut novel in the early 1980s — around the same time as Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, when “cyberspace” wasn’t even a reality outside of Gibson's imagination. Even the very first sentence, “The sky above the port was the color of television” has the flavour of surrealism, redolent of Paul Éluard's “La Terre est bleue comme une orange”. Gibson's novel is in turn a seminal work, ahead of Ghost in the Shell, Akira, The Matrix, Snow Crash, the whole pop culture movement labelled as “cyberpunk”, and down to Nolan's Inception in recent years, as well as mainstream sheer entertainment works, such as Ready Player One.

If it were not for the science fiction setting and Gibson’s rather outlandish ideas, the overall plot would probably sit alongside the espionage and spy thrillers of John Le Carré, Tom Clancy, Ken Follett or Ian Fleming. However, Neuromancer’s messy, fast-paced plotline is a bit secondary and, quite frankly, silly and hard to follow.

William Gibson’s writing, despite his regular use of slang, jargon and ironical repartee, has a surprising rhythm throughout, a sort of syncopated prosody, ending most of his sections with the recurring line “He flipped” or “He jacked in/out”. His musical style makes Gibson a prominent prose writer, tied with American authors such as Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut (remember “So it goes”) or Thomas Pynchon — I would even venture to say that Pynchon’s last novel, Bleeding Edge, is indebted to Gibson’s debut novel.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews867 followers
March 16, 2022
“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

William Gibson's Neuromancer: A Novel Ahead Of Its Time —

Reminding me of both hard-boiled detective novels in the style of Dashiell Hammett and the cyber punk genre it spawned (yeah, it definitely reminded me of the 'Matrix' movies), though groundbreaking when it was published in 1984, to me William Gibson’s Neuromancer was more attitude and atmosphere than substance. The plot is very thin and predictable and I felt almost no connection to the characters. It wasn’t unenjoyable to read. There was some interesting use of language and it was quite possibly prophetic in its pronouncements of a world wide web that would become the default shared hallucination of the world. So it was interesting in that respect, but I didn’t quite feel connected to how the characters moved and interacted in this world. 3.25 stars.

“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...”
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,562 followers
September 9, 2020
A bit of an embarrassment on the canon's part, really. Oooh Harsh! This one's "a landmark novel" that was actually ripped off by thousands of other sci-fi endeavors afterwards, like a chunk of meat devoured by the ever-hungry idea-challenged.

And it has explosive sentences with new and often-inexplicable lingo that ends making one feel alienated by the entire lit. crowd, this being a perennial favorite of theirs. It is a messy concoction thats too cool to let you ever, well, absorb. To allow you time to stop an smell the roses (this would imply having a memorable time with the book). Guess I can see how that was revolutionary, at the time. But today, honey: NO!

It is basically this: an over-explanation of location, although the location is never an issue. The theme is comic-book party on uppers (with insipid guests to boot). It is a disdainful William Burroughs wannabe, but the nausea does not come from the prose, but from the implausibility & laughability of plot, characters and "themes."
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
853 reviews5,854 followers
September 17, 2021
I was watching Jeopardy a few weeks ago when I first heard of Gibson (Technology for 200: “I coined the term ‘cyberspace’”) and the next morning on my commute to work I heard another allusion to the Canadian author on NPR. A few days later, someone recommended I read Neuromancer so seeing as the stars were seemingly aligning to place a Gibson novel at the top of my ‘to-read’ list, I went out and bought this novel. I am glad I did. Not only did it remind me that I needed to read more sci-fi from time to time, but it was just good fun. It recalled my high school days of first watching Ghost in the Shell, or Bladerunner or even Cowboy Bebop. While Neuromancer, which brought cyberpunk to the main stream, may have its flaws, it delivers a good punch to the mind and will definitely keep you entertained.

Gibson is clearly ahead of his time. As I learned from Jeopardy, Gibson coined the term cyberspace in a short story of his back in the early 80’s. He created futures heavily reliant on the internet and virtual reality far before either would be actualized and it is impressive how he wasn’t far off the mark. In Neuromancer, which was the first novel to win Science Fiction’s triple crown of the Hugo, Nebula, and Phillip K Dick awards in 1984, washed up hacker Case is given a second chance after a double cross lead his former employer to inject a drug that would disable him from ever jacking into cyberspace again. His second chance into cyberspace comes with a job veiled in secrecy involving a powerful AI and some sort of elaborate break-in. Teamed up with a program of a dead friends personality and a mysterious woman named Molly, who Case is able to ride along with seeing the world through her eyes as he can literally hack into her brain and become a passenger in her body (begin mind melt), Case slowly pieces the job together as the danger and stakes rise.

It may not come across as the most ‘fresh’ story, or set of ideas, but that is due to this novel being a major influence on countless books and films to come. Back in 10th grade English, I remember classmates complaining that Shakespeare was riddled with clichés. Our teacher countered this saying that it only seems cliché since Shakespeare was the one who created this cliché in the first place. The same can be said of Gibson and Neuromancer. Here you will find discussion of cyberspace and the Matrix - a full realistic programmed world where the AI program Wintermute often brings Case to have a private discussion, that pop up constantly in later sci-fi works. The anime Ghost in the Shell may have found influences in this work and has several connections, and the film The Matrix has some obvious ties to both of these. It was hard not to just picture the lobby scene from the Matrix when reading Molly’s invasion of Sense/Net. This isn’t intended to be a rip on the film, seeing as Gibson himself was quoted as saying that The Matrix was “an innocent delight I hadn't felt in a long time” and also called Neo his favorite sci-fi hero ever (Wikipedia as a source doesn’t fly in the classroom, but it’s always a good one-stop research shop). It is also amusing to note that when Gibson first saw Bladerunner in 1982, he damn near gave up on Neuromancer figuring his audience would just regard it as a rip-off. Thankfully he finished and received a much better critical reception than he anticipated. It should be interesting when they finally get around to making this into a film ( claims one is in the works for a late 2012 release, but apparently a film for this has been in some sort of works since the 80’s without any camera finally getting the ‘record’ button pushed) if the general population, especially those who aren’t well-read, will cry that it is a cheap Matrix rip-off. That would be some irony. Also, you will find the origins of many band names (the title of part 4 is The Straylight Run to name one) and other film names (if you shit your pants as a kid to Event Horizon you will find its titles origin near the end of the novel).

Gibson does an excellent job creating this cyberpunk futuristic world, complete with new drugs and drug addictions, a strange blending of futuristic weapons and old ninja weapons, space stations, weird gravitation, and many others. He completely immerses the reader in his world and does not bother with slowing it down and feeding it to you and instead just keeps ticking off his invented names and ideas and letting the reader put them together as they go. Ice, for example, first caused me to scratch my head and wonder “what the hell is ice” before realizing it is a sort of anti-virus firewall of sorts. This technique gave the novel a better feel than others I have read where the author keeps removes the reader from the world to gloat about how creative his ideas for something are by overly describing it and its uses. It is occasionally humorous how his 1980’s ideas of the internet come across compared to the actual modern day internet, although his Tron-like virtual world where you immerse yourself into a visual internet seems much more badass than the internet I am looking at right now. As a reader you have to suspend your knowledge of what the actual internet and computers are like to fully appreciate and believe in Gibson’s vision, but this is altogether not distracting and can cause some giggles like watching an old Planet of the Apes film.

The characters are a bit flat and Gibson doesn’t employ the best use of language, but we are reading sci-fi here, not The Sound and the Fury so this is forgiven. Also, the ideas are enough to keep your mind working and there are a few mind-bending moments (I loved the concept of The Flatline and when Case sees himself through Molly). The flat characters are forgiven because there is a space station full of dub-listening, ganja-smoking, shotgun-toting Rastafarians and Gibson’s use of dialect for them kept a smile across my face. I fully endorse picking this up despite its flaws. If you were a fan of anime or The Matrix, this will give you that same dorky joy (I don’t embrace my dork-joy enough anymore) and you can see the origins of many sci-fi plots and concepts. But don’t just take my word for it, I’d recommend reading Mike Sullivan’s or K.D.’s reviews (and literally any of their other reviews, always spot-on) and Time also included this on their "Top 100 of the century" list. I will definitely read another of Gibson's books in the future.
Profile Image for Matt Quann.
628 reviews382 followers
August 7, 2019
Neuromancer is a most peculiar novel that deserves a peculiar review. So,



1. The Reader With Delicate Sensibilities

Does swearing, violence, lots of sex, and drug use sends a shiver of disgust down your spine? Then this is likely not the book for you. Though it rarely veered into territory that made me uncomfortable, Neuromancer refuses to be censored and depicts acts of deviancy with unique prose. You're not likely to find stabbings that are "silicon quick" or sex and violence described in such vibrant neon hues anywhere else. Yet part of the appeal of this novel is a culture that has been rapidly altered by technology, one that is not so unlike our own present. Things that you might find deviant in this novel are presented as perfectly acceptable within the confines of Gibson's future.

2. The Reader Looking For A Casual Sci-Fi Novel

Neuromancer is assuredly not a typical science fiction novel, but it is undoubtedly a classic in the field. Gibson rarely leaves space for the reader to catch up to the fast-paced nature of his story, opting instead for repeat, strobe-like, in media res chapters. What a mind Gibson must have to have created a world that isn't easily understandable, but relentlessly believable. Some terms are never explained and the onus is placed on the reader to figure out exactly what has taken place. As I was contemplating how to write the review for this novel, I kept thinking that the exposition is best described as impressionistic. The world may not be described in terms that we all understand, but it surely captures the feeling of living in an extremely strange future.

3.The Reader Who Loves Everything to be Neatly Tied Up

Though there may be sequels to Neuromancer, I fully plan on treating this like a stand-alone novel. Case, the tale's protagonist, is a hacker in a futuristic world where one connects to the Matrix (think advanced internet, not Wachowoskis) through a port in your skull. Case is cut-off from the Matrix after a hacking deal gone bad, and is made an offer to be restored in exchange for an extremely dangerous hack. Case is surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters who help to peel back the layers of this complicated world. Though the main heist/hacking story is resolved by the end of this novel, there's a lot of high-concept sci-fi that is left up to the reader to consider. If you want a decisive rather than contemplative ending, you should probably avoid Neuromancer.


1. The High School/University Student

I think almost everyone has to read 1984 or Brave New World as part of Western education. Well, I'd be hard pressed to think of a reason why Neuromancer shouldn't sit alongside them as sci-fi with important messages, and literary depth. Though the world isn't strictly dystopian, the characters are living in a world that is consumed by technology, physical modification, and a wide selection of narcotics. Sound in any way familiar?

Neuromancer was written in a time where the shape of the internet's influence was being contemplated, and where Gibson was allowed to paint a speculative picture of what a world interconnected by technology might look like. This book is rich in its interpretation of how internet culture would develop, and I found it to be oddly accurate in some regards. Neuromancer is the type of book I would have loved to have read when I was in high school, and can imagine animated discussions about it in today's classrooms.

2. The Hipster/Punk/Skater/Mom/Dad Looking for Some Cool Cred

Though there is a lot to be said about the literary and speculative merits of Neuromancer, it is also undeniably cool. Molly, a street ninja with mirror-eyes and blades under her nails, seems to be an almost archetypal badass. How about the visit to the orbital space station run by Rastafarians, constantly cloaked in ganja smoke? So much of this book reads as instantly iconic, and it is no wonder that it was the first winner of the "sci-fi triple crown" (Winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and Phillip K. Dick Awards). Neuromancer is a world that is grimy around the edges, and is all the richer for it. This isn't a shiny-white future that looks like an Apple store, more like Star Wars in that it is science fiction without all the gloss.

3. The Reader Looking For Something A Little Different

You'll feel no shame in having read Neuromancer. You might not like the book, but its craft is undeniable. Gibson shaped a world and cast of characters that could have easily filled a 600-page epic, but Gibson instead chose a restrained, tight, slightly confusing, 271-page romp. I was able to appreciate the book for its literary aspirations, the curiosity of an imagined internet-age, but also to sit back and enjoy some foreign imagery and high-stakes action. There are obvious flaws to the novel: it isn't easily understandable, and the prose can seem a bit tedious on occasion. So, it isn't as if I loved this one the whole way through. However, when taken as a whole, Neuromancer provided an interesting, complicated, and challenging read that I won't soon forget.
Profile Image for N.
22 reviews129 followers
June 27, 2021
To say that this book was out of my comfort zone is an understatement. It took me forever to read and I took week-long breaks, however, I knew from the very beginning this is definitely not a #dnf!

I can't say what the experience is like if you are a sci-fi reader, but for a newbie like me, it is a rollercoaster ride. I spent the first 50 pages in confusion thinking something is wrong with my brain, why don't I understand what this man is talking about?! Then something clicked and I learned to roll with it. Soon enough I felt at home in the Sprawl's techno criminal subculture.

Reading this book you will most likely reach the limits of your imagination. This is a world of chartered hovercrafts, space cowboys, simstims, AI constructs, and razorgirls. On top of that, our protagonist spends his days jacked into a cyberspace deck, doing God knows what in the matrix.

This book is part of the Sprawl Trilogy and although I need a rest after this one, I already added the other two to my #tbr.

I don't do this very often, but here is a plot summary for people who are curious about the book, but not sure if they can handle the techno-punk genre.


The main character, Case is a "retired" cybercriminal, a matrix ridin' badass, who gets a second chance at doing what he does best by a mysterious new employer, an AI. With the help of his new partner, Molly, a body-enhanced killer, a stolen software trafficker called Finn, and even the computer program reincarnation of his old mentor, Flatline, aka. Pauley McCoy, he sets out to free Wintermute and Neuromancer, two AIs created by the matriarch of the Tessier-Ashpool business clan who was an AI enthusiast and got killed by her husband for this reason. Their children, Jean and Jane, were cloned many times over, they are on their 8th and 3rd versions, respectively.

In the end, 3Jane helps Case and Molly in their quest partly because she is intrigued by her late mother's philosophy, partly because she is bored and wants something to change. No one knows how these freed AIs will change the world.
913 reviews401 followers
October 25, 2009
True Confessions

1. I am a nerd.

(I know this is a shocking revelation from someone who spends most of her free time reading and writing book reviews for pleasure).

My overall personality, compounded by my sheltered religious background (as in, I spent most of my life going to school, marrying and having kids early, and being a homemaker with periodic stints in the workplace), makes it difficult for me to relate to characters who frequent bars, regularly use drugs, sleep around, and pepper their dialogue with lots of confusing futuristic slang and cursing. I’m aware that this is my limitation, although I can’t help thinking that some of it is the author’s as well. After all, I didn’t feel this alienated when I read about Humbert Humbert.

2. I had to look up the definition of “cyberpunk” on Wikipedia.

And then, that explained my difficulty getting this book. I can read academic articles. I can read in a foreign language (Hebrew). But much of this book was impenetrable to me. Witness the following randomly chosen paragraph (I simply copied this from the first page I opened up to):

“Cowboys didn’t get into simstim, he thought, because it was basically a meat toy. He knew that the trodes he used and the little plastic tiara dangling from a simstim deck were basically the same, and that the cyberspace matrix was actually a drastic simplification of the human sensorium, at least in terms of presentation, but simstim itself struck him as a gratuitous multiplication of flesh input.”

Do you get this? It didn’t make any more sense to me in context than it does out of context, because the entire context was more or less written this way. I suppose that’s expected for this genre, but I’m just not a fan of this type of writing.

3. I never finished the book, because writing this review was more fun (see #1 above).

And that was when I knew, around p. 55, that it was time to stop reading.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,890 reviews1,919 followers
September 7, 2017
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus- hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace . . .

Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employers crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction.

Hotwired to the leading edges of art and technology, Neuromancer ranks with 1984 and Brave New World as one of the century's most potent visions of the future.

My Review: The seminal work of cyberpunk, the novel was published in 1984 as a mass-market paperback original. It's the story of a twenty-first century dominated by Japanese corporations, feeding off American talent, and dominating a planet only recently recovered (if one can call it that) from the most recent pandemic as well as a horrific war between the USSR and the USA. So far, Reality 1, Gibson 0...but wait.

Molly, Case, and Armitage are a weird little unit, chasing after a huge, game-changing paradigm-shifting score: Access to Wintermute, an AI that a powerful family-controlled corporation has...what, blocked up, imprisoned, how does language cope with this? Even Gibson didn't do so well here. Case, the cyber-cowboy, is in the team because he can jack in to the matrix, do the necessary cybercrime, and find the breadcrumbs that will lead to Wintermute. Murderous Molly is the cyber-enhanced muscle, and Armitage of the shady past is the money channel. Though Molly and Case know he's a front for someone(s) else, things just don't add up in his bio. (They turn out to be right, of course.) In the end, though characters walk away, there are not really any survivors of the battles that they must fight. At least, not ones you'd recognize as such.

My teenaged stepson ordered me to read this book in 1987. Tony wasn't given to thundering pronunciamentoes, so I think it was sheer surprise that made me take it from him and read it. As his mother and I were in the process of disentanglement, I was falling in love with someone wildly inappropriate for me (comme d'habitude), and so on and so on, I think I gave it about 30% of my attention. I shall now quote, in its entirety, the thought I had as I finished the book that year: “*snort*”

You see, I am short on the visionary giftedness tip. The cyberspace that Case inhabits made me roll my eyes, though due to friends in the Austin computer world I got the idea that home computers were going to be huuuge pretty early on. (I chortle now at the level of OOO AAAH we felt when one friend got a 512K hard drive IBM PC!) But Japanese world business dominon? Snort, said I, this time rightly. American innovation remaining preeminent? Snort said I, again correctly. The seeds of destruction weren't hard to see.

But cyberspace, said he to the people he talks to in it, that was a big miss. This beautiful Internet thing that allows us who live so far apart to interact and learn to be a community among ourselves, that idea I missed the implications of and I missed the meat (!) of the book therefore.

It's an important book, I can finally see only 27-1/2 years later, because it both foresaw and called into being the world we live in now. My previous two-star derisive dismissal is herewith retracted, though I still don't think I'll ever revisit this book. I've been wrong about that before, though....

Rant: Certain perfidious people, who shall remain nameless in this text but who answer when the sound “Stephen Sullivan” is uttered within their hearing, suggested in an ever-so-innocent, crack-merchantly way that I should mosey over and read a review that this, this individual had written of the book. I, all innocent smiles and dimplings, casually went to the appointed spot and was promptly pushed to the mat by a huge, muscular, testosterone-poisoned review-cum-paean. The imprint of the six, yes six!, stars that the individual in question had rated the book is still a quarter inch deep on my forehead from being bashed on me multiple times.

I warn all who read this: Beware the blandishments of Fanboy Gush, as I now dub the reviewer in question. Persuasive? Huh. I've met boiler-room bond salesmen with lower persuasion quotients. Aggressive? I've escaped being buttonholed by impecunious brothers-in-law in search of loans with greater ease. THE MAN IS A MENACE TO YOUR READING TIME, YOUR BUDGET, AND YOUR PEACE OF MIND. If he can persuade me, a curmudgeonly old man with more books than he will ever have time to read ALREADY, to revisit a book long ago dismissed (however incorrectly and unjustly), I shudder to think what he can do to you.

Unfriend him immediately, or suffer the consequences. /Rant

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Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,222 reviews2,052 followers
June 20, 2021
I started to read this book in fear and trepidation having already glanced at the reviews. Many of them ranged from disdainful to damning but I took heart from the people who did like it and, after all, it is the winner of many prestigious awards.

I loved it. For me it was a sci fi thriller, two of my favourite genres rolled into one. I was grabbed immediately by the characters of Case and Molly - especially Molly with her attitude, her mirror eyes and the blades under her finger nails. And do not forget Dixie the Flatliner, such a clever little creation on the author's part. This is a very visual book and it was easy to start choosing who would play the roles in a movie.

The language was tricky at times but at no point did I lose the overall sense of what was occurring. Once or twice I went back to reread a bit for example the first appearance of Riviera made no sense to me at all until I discovered what his party trick was. There was plenty of action, a good story and I found the whole thing very readable.

For me this was a very well written book with some intriguing and novel ideas, plenty of action and suspense and a satisfactory conclusion. I did however have to read the ending twice. It took me a minute to understand what Gibson was telling me but when I realised what it was I was left happy.
Profile Image for Blaine.
748 reviews608 followers
February 17, 2023
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
Science fiction is one of my favorite genres, using different worlds or possible futures to say something about our present condition. The Time Machine. Jurassic Park. This Is How You Lose the Time War. As part of reading my way through the Pop Chart 100 Essential Novels list, I finally made the time to read Neuromancer, another sci-fi classic that has lurked on my TBR pile for years.

Neuromancer is probably most famous for introducing the concept of the Matrix and the word “cyberspace” into our lexicon. While the cyberspace here is more of a physical representation of the interconnected data—firewalls are literal walls of smooth ice, for example—it is a somewhat prescient depiction of today’s interconnected society. The plot revolves around a hacker named Case who’s been hired by a mysterious client to infiltrate an AI system. While it’s considered the quintessential cyberpunk novel, it read to me more like classic noir detective novels like The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep.

However, Neuromancer just didn’t work for me. The reader is thrown into this story with little explanation of jargon or the relationships between characters. While I enjoyed the noir aspects, many sections of the book are more impressionistic or even hallucinatory. I didn’t have any emotional connection to either the characters or the story, and I have no idea what conclusions the reader is supposed to draw. Perhaps the story would be more understandable, and better, on a second reading, but I can’t imagine ever choosing to read it again. Ultimately, this feels like the kind of highly influential book whose reputation exceeds its actual readability.
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
467 reviews161 followers
January 28, 2022
This book started off interesting but by the end it seemed convoluted, I've heard good things about this book over the years but the writing style just isn’t for me.

I found the story difficult to follow because it jumps around a lot.

There was potential for world building but I could never see it in my mind's eye, due to the poor writing which lacked details.

The storyline could have been cool, but the author just complicates it.

Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,051 reviews577 followers
November 14, 2022
The thing is I just didn’t get it. I like my SF near future and close enough to present day reality for me to be able to translate what we do now into what we’re supposed to be doing (or able to do) in the future. If it’s too wild, or just too big a leap, my mind doesn’t seem to allow me to make the jump.

Then there’s the language thing. The use of a new vocabulary left me befuddled and confused. I honestly didn’t know what was going on most of the time. And when I did glean a bit of the narrative it just seemed to have been too much like hard work to get there. So that’s another thing, I like my fiction easy. Well no, not easy but understandable. I’ve coped with most of Murakami’s surreal tales and I love time travel books, so escape from reality isn’t a problem for me – in fact it’s a joy – but everyday life lived in an environment so alien, so different and (for me) so unbelievable is just a switch-off.

A quick synopsis for anyone who hasn’t read the book:
Case is a hacker who has been ‘altered’ so he can’t hack any more. He lives life as a hustler in Japan until he gets an offer from a mysterious type who offers to restore his hacking ability in exchange for undertaking some work for him. Case is suspicious and, having teamed up with a modified female, he sets out to find out more about the man. The rest (as far as I could tell) was a sort of hardboiled detective tale but set in the netherworld of cyberspace. It also had a touch of The Magnificent Seven about it. Though, in truth, I gave up at half way – my mind fried by terminology I couldn’t comprehend and a story that had jettisoned me and left me behind some time ago.

On the up-side, I like Case who I found to be the archetypal street-smart hardass who is on his uppers but has sufficient moral compass to keep him from straying too far from the straight and narrow. I also enjoyed some of the brilliant descriptions – mainly of the cyberspace world – that pepper the book.

Not my cup of tea but note my rating simply reflects the fact I didn’t finish it.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews782 followers
July 25, 2015
This is my third reading of Neuromancer, the first time was while in my teens decades ago, I hated it then and was not able to read more than 50 pages. The second time was around five years ago, I liked it better then but still found much of it inaccessible. This third reading was inspired by The Three-Body Problem which is only partially a cyberpunk book. I keep coming back to this problematic book not because I love it, but because the story and its iconic status interests me and I really want to “get it”. I think I have got it now. Mostly.

Neuromancer is just about the most divisive classic science fiction book I can think of. Sure, some people do not like Dune or Foundation but such "blasphemers" are few and far between compared to the opponents of Neuromancer*. The basic story is not too hard to follow or summarize. Ex-hacker and junkie Henry Dorsett Case is recruited by a mysterious sexy badass woman called Molly Millions on behalf of an even more mysterious man called Armitage to do some unspecified hacking for him. Previously Case was injected with a mycotoxin that damaged his nervous system and disabled his ability to plug (jack) into cyberspace. Clearly hacking entirely via keyboard and a mouse is no longer an option. Armitage has the means to repair the mycotoxin damage so Case – who is desperate to get back into cyberspace where he belongs – quickly agree to take the job. The job of course turns out to be difficult and deadly, involving AIs, a space habitat, the Turing Police, killer robots, VR and even a ninja!

If this sounds like a hoot, it is, the difficulty lies in deciphering William Gibson’s writing. Thankfully his writing is not the kind of "stream of consciousness" post-modern style that you find in the likes of Ulysses or Mrs. Dalloway, the punctuations and the quotation marks are all in place. Gibson’s prose style is fairly readable but it is stuffed to the gills with neologisms, jargons and slangs; he also has a penchant for employing techy and hip metaphors. His dialogue is much more problematical. Beside the neologisms and slangs most of his characters speak in choppy and terse sentences where pronouns and prepositions are often deemed unnecessary. The heavily accented dialogs from a couple of Rastafarian characters serve to exacerbate the comprehension issues. While the basic plot is fairly simple the twists and turns of the storyline can seem quite convoluted and the reader needs to maintain focus at all time and not start wandering about what to have for lunch etc.

It is a shame that Neuromancer is quite difficult (for some) to access because there is fast paced thrilling adventure buried underneath the opaque language. The world building is also excellent from the grimy dystopian Chiba city at the beginning of the book (where the sky is famously “the color of television, tuned to a dead channel”), to the Sprawl city, the Freeside luxurious space habitat and the weird Villa Straylight mansion. The cyberspace of course is the most imaginative location (if you can call it that) in the book. Sometime it seems to look like a place pixelized geometrical shapes, other times it is in full VR mode and looks just like reality. The scenes inside cyberspace are some of my favorites, though the word cyberspace itself seems oddly quaint these days.

Gibson also did a good job developing (and designing) the main characters. Case is damaged and flawed but also complex and sympathetic. Molly is a wonderfully vivid creation, with her numerous implants, her cybernetic eyes and deadly assassination skills. She literally lights up every scene she is in. The AI characters are also great but I will leave you to discover them for yourself. There is even a smidgen of an unrequited love story in there somewhere.

Molly Millions by AspectusFuturus

Some people take to Neuromancer like ducks to water, I envy them, but if you are not so adaptable you may want to avail yourself to online sources like the chapter by chapter guide on It is extremely helpful but I find their feeble attempts at humour a little grating (I much prefer but they don’t cover this book).

So with plenty of help at hand there is no reason why you should not read this book if you are interested. This is a difficult book to rate in quantitative terms, I will break the process down into components:

For the story – 5 stars
For the world building – 5 stars
For the characters – 4 stars
For the prose and dialogue – 2.5 stars (2 to 3 really)
=average(story:world:characters:prose) = 4.125 stars!

I will probably read the rest of the Sprawl series, you will be the first to know!
* I don't actually have any statistical proof of this, so consider this my hypothesis if you disagree.
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
860 reviews2,185 followers
July 24, 2016
To Call Up a Demon, You Must Learn Its Name

As punishment for a business indiscretion, Case, who lives for the "bodily exultation of cyberspace" (one of many neologisms first used in "Neuromancer"), is injected with a wartime Russian mycotoxin and hallucinates for 30 hours, only to suffer damage that is "minute, subtle and utterly effective".

He falls into a "prison of his own flesh". After some fringe medical treatment in Siberia reinvents him, he emerges debt-ridden and physically compromised, a secondary character in his own fiction, an ex-cowboy relegated to support for the uber-competent, sub-Amazonian cyber-warrior, Molly, in a mission dictated by the savior of his health.

The world he returns to is a composite of analogue real life and a digital information-rich matrix. His surroundings are "a field of data, the way the matrix had once reminded him of proteins linking to distinguish cell specialties...totally engaged but set apart from it all, and all around you the dance of biz, information interacting, data made flesh in the mazes of the black market..."

The experience of cyberspace is "a consensual hallucination ...a graphic representation of data abstracted from the 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."

For all of the social applications that would eventuate on the internet, Gibson focusses on business and the market (especially the black market). Where there is knowledge, there are insiders. And therefore, crime.

Still, everywhere, Case sees a sensorium of "symbols, figures, faces, a blurred, fragmented mandala of visual information..."

The language is as fractal as it is alliterative: "It flowed, flowered for him, [a] fluid neon origami trick, the unfolding of his distanceless home, his country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to infinity."

Molly is a fellow professional, a razorgirl, someone Case gets to share these sensations with, and perhaps even sometimes to experience a "mutual grunt of unity".

The novel is basically an action story in which the two use a firmware construct and a Chinese virus program to penetrate deep into the matrix on a secret, but illicit, mission to correct the "Gothic folly" of the Villa Straylight (a manifestation of the multi-national zaibatsu or corporate business entity, Tessier-Ashpool), their accomplices, quasi-terrorist, dub-loving Rastafarian Panther Moderns.

The folly, a demon which at first has no name, turns out to be a dialectical conflict between two segments of cyberspace, Wintermute and the Neuromancer.

Like Apollo and Dionysius, each is unknowingly necessary to the survival of the other, but can they be synthesised, can they be united, can they become one, can they eventually go by one name? And what of Case and Miss Linda Lee, or Case and Molly?

These are questions best answered by the pleasure of reading this pivotal work of cyberfiction.

The prose style is economical, but filmic. It’s a tragedy that this novel hasn’t yet been made into a big-budget film that does justice to its imaginative scope. For the moment, at least, the book must remain the sole source of the reader's bodily exultation of cyberspace.


The Whole Thing

Wintermute can’t change
The world outside without a


I never found out
The colour that her eyes were.
She never showed me.

On the Beach (with Miss Linda Lee)

He saw three figures
On the edge of the data,
Waving at himself.


He touched the nine points
Of the star, one at a time,
His chrome shuriken.


Larry McCaffery:"There are so many references to rock music and television in your work that it sometimes seems your writing is as much influenced by MTV as by literature. What impact have other media had on your sensibility?"

William Gibson:"Probably more than fiction. The trouble with "influence" questions is that they're usually framed to encourage you to talk about your writing as if you grew up in a world circumscribed by books. I've been influenced by Lou Reed, for instance, as much as I've been by any "fiction" writer. I was going to use a quote from an old Velvet Underground song- "Watch out for worlds behind you" (from "Sunday Morning") - as an epigraph for Neuromancer."


The Velvet Underground - "Sunday Morning"

"Watch out for worlds behind you."

The Velvet Underground - "Cool It Down"

"All of the other people
Tryin' to use up the night,
But now me l'm out on the corner
You know I'm lookin' for Miss Linda Lee."

Lou Reed with Robert Quine – "Sweet Jane" [Live 1983]

"[Case had] been trained by the best, by McCoy Pauley and Bobby Quine, legends in the business."

"Bad timing, really, with 8Jean down in Melbourne and only our sweet 3Jane minding the store."

King Tubby – "Zion Dub"

"His gloved hand slapped a panel and the bass-heavy rocksteady of Zion dub came pulsing from the tug's speakers..."

"It was called dub, a sensuous mosaic cooked from vast libraries of digitalized pop; it was worship, Molly said, and a sense of community."

Slimmah Sound – "Zion Dub"

Sly & Robbie – "Zion In Dub"

Grace Jones - "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect For You)"

Grace Jones – "Slave to the Rhythm" (Jubilee Concert, June 4, 2012)

"Keep it up..."
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,644 reviews5,102 followers
July 19, 2016
the following is a Reverse Exquisite Corpse Review, brought to you by the good folks at Sci Fi Aficionados.

I first read Neuromancer about 20 years ago. Writing with strokes instead of details is an interesting way to describe Gibson's writing. That's how I feel about some of the performance art I saw in my art school days. The strokes were far too numerous. I found it impossible to tell what was detail, what was colour, what was clue. I get bored with things being laid out to me, writers that paint words with strokes appeal to me more than writers who lay everything out. A writing style is like food, different people have different tastes. It's not that I don't like Neuromancer, just that it leaves me entirely cold. One of my professors said that if you are used to narrative writers such as Stephen King, you would have a particularly hard time with Gibson's writing style. I loved the imagery that opens up the novel, Neuromancer is one of those books that you have to reread to catch everything.

Just finished rereading Neuromancer, even better then I remembered. i'm curious if hollywood will go the Battle Royale route and keep all the graphic kid violence, or if they'll somehow soften it. It will be very interesting to see how they deal with the graphic violence when the movie comes out next year. I'll be reading the follow ups at some point.

I was just thinking the other day how kids in high school for the most part have always have had the world wide web around and as such, they're both a little "warmer" or "more human". It's like eating junk food.

I usually love books like Neuromancer, but it just didn't work for me. I don't get it. I think it's my mood. I do enjoy complex books but I think Neuromancer was just out of my reach. I would say a person of the current internet generation would have written the book coldly and less philosophically. I also had trouble understanding some of the goings in the novel, which is partly a result of my being slow, lol, but I think that Gibson is playing with perception on purpose and leaving some subtle hints along the way.

I can imagine those guys in the most sexually deviant scenes. That's why Neuromancer is so great. I like books that make me work for it.

That was my biggest problem with the book: trying to figure out why the characters were acting the way they did. I need to reread this book again to get all the nuances.

Would someone please explain to me whose side Riviera was on? I'm so confused... I think he stole plot elements from his earlier work... Gibson is obviously doing that and able to draw from noir aesthetics largely to differentiate himself from more, should I say space oriented scifi stories, towards gritty urban stories that focus on modern technology, but also show how modern cities still create some of the same concerns that existed when someone like Chandler was writing.

I think it's too dreamy and stream of conscious for me. While reading this book, I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingertips, just on the edge of really understanding what's going on. I appreciate that it is a groundbreaking book and the authors creativity but it was still a struggle to 'get into' it in the first half. The book certainly improved as it went on but it wasn't as amazing to me as others have found it.

The women are generic, Linda and Molly, maybe symptomatic of the culture of the world where there's no love and everyone is a whore for someone. It's a bit bizarre though because they're both pretty unique, Linda the sad burnout and Molly has freakin' implanted sunglasses and auto-nails! i'm like WHAT? i do not get this book at all, what's going on, it really is challenging me with every sentence!

I am about halfway through and feel like everytime I read it's just an adrenaline rush... This book was like a beacon in the bleak and shallow suburbia I instinctually loathed and was desperately searching for a way out of. I was entranced from the first sentence to the last; dark but also excitedly looking forward as well, It's amazing how much imagery Gibson can pack into one sentence.

One of the things that stands out for me early on in the novel is its construction and the way the various plot threads came together, but the constant dystopian world view, was terribly depressing. Surely our science and tech. can bring us more than greed and misery. This is quite dark! Too dark for my tastes... not a lot of love for this book from me, I'm afraid.

I love the first line to this book.

I'm going to try to start it tonight, too. I'm starting this tonight. I started this last night. I've been wanting to read this one for some time now.

Profile Image for Anna.
568 reviews102 followers
February 25, 2018
Θεωρείται ως το βιβλίο που ενέπνευσε το matrix, και να φανταστείτε ότι γράφτηκε το 1985 που δεν υπήρχε καν ίντερνετ (πόσο μάλλον όλες οι υπόλοιπες εφαρμογές). Μπροστά από την εποχή του και απόλυτα σύγχρονο σήμερα, θα μου άρεσε πολύ να το δω και στον κινηματογράφο (ή την τηλεόραση).

Γλαφυρές περιγραφές του μέλλοντος και εντελώς στο κλίμα του Ντικ ή του Ασίμοφ, μου άρεσε πάρα πολύ. Ομολογώ όμως ότι όλα αυτά τα κλασικά βιβλία σε κάποιο σημείο με κουράζουν, εξ'ου και τα 4 αστέρια αντί για 5. Επίσης, δεν μπόρεσα να δεθώ με τους ήρωες (νομίζω ότι όλοι τους ήταν μεγάλα @ρχίδι@ και τους άξιζαν όσα τράβηξαν - όσο μπόρεσαν βέβαια να καταλάβουν τι έπαθαν!!!!)

Και μιας και το ανέφερα, θα μου άρεσε να ακούσω τη γνώμη σας για το πόσο εκπαιδευμένος πρέπει να είναι ο αναγνώστης για να διαβάσει κλασικά βιβλία sci-fi. Νομίζω ότι ένας σύγχρονος έφηβος δύσκολα θα τα αντιλαμβανόταν στην πλήρη τους διάσταση. Ως φανατική του fantasy και του fiction σε κάθε του μορφή, νομίζω ότι τα κλασικά βιβλία του είδους είναι άκρως πολιτικά και κοινωνικά και μπορούν να αναλυθούν σε μεγάλο βάθος.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,539 followers
September 28, 2021
One of the true scifi classics that inspired so many blockbuster movies. A cyberpunk extravaganza with drugs, sex and lots of tech. A very fun read. I don't know why I didn't write a review immediately after reading it, so to be fair I'll have to reread and write a proper review!

I do recall that it gave me a good visual for listening to Sonic Youth’s song “The Sprawl” on their extraordinary Daydream Nation album.
Profile Image for Frank Hidalgo-Gato Durán.
Author 10 books213 followers
March 24, 2021
Buen libro 3,8 para mi gusto. Es un libro oscuro, lioso y enrevesado, y aburre en muchas ocaciones. Pero sí, realmente sí que es predictivo.
En mi opinión es excesivamente descriptivo y redundante.A día de hoy no creo que se pueda escribir de esta manera sin que uno no comience aburrirse de inmediato. Cuando se escribió la gente tenía no solo más tiempo para todo, en consecuencia se tenia más paciencia y se esperaba con más gusto,hasta dar con la información y los secretos del final.
Hoy día está uno obligado a escribir con más agilidad, y debe ser más... escueto?
De todas formas, este libro ha representado sin duda una fuente de inspiración para cualquier escritor a lo largo de su existencia. Y la historia no está nada mal! 😉👍
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,856 followers
March 29, 2016

This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Gibson has a real gift.

Think of Blade Runner - the movie with Harrison Ford. This book has the same kind of slick, urban, grimy, futuristic feel to it. It has aged wonderfully. Written in 1983, it has done nothing to date itself and still feels fresh and new and possible, even now.

Case is a hacker, it's what he lives for - being jacked in and connected to the matrix. But he loses that ability when he tries to cheat his employers and as a punishment they poison him so that he's unable to hook into the mainframe - to him this is worse than death. So he's been eking out a living - if you could call it living - in filthy Chiba, Japan, a wretched hive of scum and villainy. He's killed three people, two men and a woman, and his life is a drugged haze of barely disguised suicidal tendencies. He's 24 and he's an old man - his life is basically over.

Then some strange ex-military man shows up and tells Case he can repair him - for a price. Even though he knows it's dangerous and he knows the man will probably backstab him, blackmail him, and use him ruthlessly - Case can't resist the chance to be connected to the Net again. It's the only thing that makes him feel alive and powerful. Besides, there's this woman...

I went into this novel completely blind and very unsure about how I would like it. I don't really think of myself as a hard science-fiction kind of person. Actually, I don't think of myself as a science fiction fan at all - which is complete bullcrap, I totally am, and I should seek more of it out, because apparently I love the stuff - as my reviews will testify to. o.O Strange and exciting to find out new things about yourself...

I digress. Anyway, the novel was wonderful. Case is EXACTLY the kind of guy I adore. Chill, calm, observant, smart, takes-life-as-it-comes, type-b personality type of man that makes me very excited. :) This isn't to say he's passive or weak - far from it - but a kind of roll-with-the-punches, shit-happens, wait-and-see, patient, no-temper, kind of guy.

If it wasn't for his serious drug addiction, I would be ga-ga over this man.

I love how he treats women and I love how he reacts to life and the problems that come his way. I really enjoyed being in his head and reading his story and seeing what happened to him.

I also really appreciate Gibson not trying to write from a female perspective ever in this book. I personally think it would have been a disaster and sometimes I really am grateful when a male author decides to stick with what he knows. Not to say a man can't write a woman well - but I really wanted to enjoy every minute of this book and I didn't want to see Gibson screw it up. So.

What else?

Oh, yes, Case's love interest - Molly. I really liked her. She's an ex-prostitute, and ex-prostitutes and prostitutes in general (while very popular characters in fiction) are really difficult to write - but I thought Gibson did a stellar job here. Her difficult, painful past is not dwelled on, but it is mentioned and treated respectfully. They didn't make too big a deal out of her past, and I liked that. Also, she turns her money from tricking into becoming a badass lethal assassin and I really liked that. She was very strong, confident, self-assured, and bold - but in no way crass or easy or cheap or dirty. She's also not a caricature of a 'kickass babe.' Gibson did a great job of making her a real person with real feelings and he also made her a strong character - mentally and physically. I enjoyed it immensely. :)

Molly makes her attraction to Case obvious and she chooses to have sex with him at the earliest opportunity. I was nervous about that, and worried about Case. After all, Molly is working for the man who is helping/blackmailing Case and I was unsure about her motives for sleeping with him. Not because I think the blackmailer is ordering/asking Molly to have sex with Case - those days are long over for her and she's never going back - but because often times a woman who is in the Life or used to be in the Life has sex with a man as a kind of power-thing. If she can get the man to have sex with her, she's already won. Having carnal knowledge of the him makes him 'not a person, but just a man' in her eyes. Now that she's seen him at his most vulnerable and also knows that she makes his cock twitch - she can dismiss him as a person and also lose any fear she has of him, because he's already in a way submitted to her (by submitted, I don't mean 'submissive,' he could be a woman-beating rapist asshole but still the sex gives her a tool to use, see?). Do you understand? It's a common tactic that women who have lived very difficult lives and seen terrible things and are ancient in spirit if not in body use to make themselves a little more sure, a little less afraid, and gives them a little more control over a situation they may be unsure about.

So, I was afraid that THIS was why Molly was having sex with Case right away, in order to get a read on him and get a hold on him. But it wasn't - she was really interested in him as a person and she made an excellent choice in a partner, in my opinion.

That leads me to the fact that Case makes...not exactly bad...but 'iffy' sexual decisions throughout this book. It's as if, when presented by any reasonably attractive female who is offering to fuck him, he is quite unable to say 'no.' I really, really hope this is not an accurate portrayal of SINGLE (not married/partnered) men - feel free to chime in, guys - because I've seen it in about a billion books that are written by MEN. I've talked with this to some of my male friends, and have gotten no clear answer. Even when the main character of these books is being offered sex from a female who might have a desire to kill them/hurt them/blackmail them/steal from them/spy on them, etc. etc. in other words, IT MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST IDEA TO GO TO BED WITH HER, the men always, always, and without fail - choose sex. o.O This is baffling to me on so many levels. Are guys really this much of a slave to their own dicks? I genuinely want to know. Because their stupidity and blatant willingness to disregard any negative consequences makes me fret and scold and worry. I'm yelling at the book, "Don't sleep with her, you moron!!!" But of course, the man never listens to me.

ANYWAY. Sleeping with Case was a super-good idea on Molly's part - no stupidity there - there's absolutely no scenario in which having sex with him would not give her some sort of benefits or advantages. And I (and Molly) was really grateful that they were sexually and ...kind of romantically... involved when Case got his powers to "jack in" again. Because they set her up with a port that allows him to see through her eyes and feel what she feels (he can't talk to her or control her, just observe and feel and hear) and the fact that she's in his bed regularly gives them a bit more of an equal footing. And it means someone she trusts and likes is in her head - not some stranger or a sicko. I usually hate mind-invasion scenarios with a passion (paranormal romance authors, I'm looking at YOU) but here it not only works but doesn't leave me feeling the least bit slimy or unsure. Like I said before, Case is exactly the kind of man I trust and end up falling in love with - I was NEVER worried he'd hurt Molly in any way or take advantage of her.

I love the way he treats Molly, he's there for her and he doesn't expect or demand anything from her, and he takes her as she is, and he takes whatever she's willing to give him but he doesn't push, and he doesn't try to own her or possess her or control her in any way. He's just an amazing guy and my heart was melting all over the place. :)

I also liked how he was living this numb, zombie-like, drug-fueled life until this man came and gave his life a purpose again. Case is FEELING again, for the first time in about two years, and it's fun to see him work it out in his mind and experience emotions again. Molly is good for him, the adventure is good for him, getting hooked into the mainframe again is good for him, and even the anger and rage he feels towards certain 'bad guys' in the book is good for him. It's like seeing him wake up or come alive and it's good reading.

I liked the Jamaican character, Maelcum, and his slang and attitude throughout the book.

After reading a slew of reviews on GR, I have to say that yes, sometimes his writing is a little challenging or hard to follow. But I just relaxed and went with the flow and it all worked out. I find that trusting the author and letting go a bit really helps especially with the harder science-fiction. I was completely satisfied with this book - not frustrated or lost. But then again, I didn't try to fight it.

Another thing that I think is funny after reading all these GR reviews is that I completely focused on the human relationships in this book and focused very little on the technology and cyber-talk. :) Those are my priorities in a book though - how are people loving, hating, interacting, and what are they feeling? So that's what my reviews always end up centering on. I could care less about technology or the future or Cyberdyne Systems or whatever - give me the human element and I'm happy.

Tl;dr - A surprisingly human, enchanting novel with gorgeous writing dripping from every page. I'd recommend it. :)
Profile Image for Shovelmonkey1.
353 reviews875 followers
October 23, 2011
This book should be so covered in shiny, spangly stars to indicate all the sci-fi awards it has received that the cover should look like the milky way and possibly be shinier and brighter than the sun. I just had the plain old paper back version with no spangles. Very sad. I like a nice bit of shiny.

Any goodreaders who have already perused my shelves will note that I am not someone who has read a great deal of science fiction. Is this a glaring oversight on my part? Hmm maybe.

I was persuaded to read Neuromancer because it is one of the 1001 books to read before you die and therefore is probably worth a punt, although that said, some of the books on that list are god-awful (Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School being a case in point) but no pain no gain and it all feeds into my OCD book list reading so whatever.

If anyone came up to me and told me that they could explain definitively what Neuromancer was all about I would not believe them. Not for one second. Gibson rockets right off at the deep end with this one and you are left trailing in the wake of a spew of what amount to descriptions of geometry while trying to figure out what the hell is going on. (Hint: it's something to do with being in cyber space and stealing information by making yourself into some sort of human mass storage device in a post-modern industrial espionage way).

Does this make this a bad book and a piss poor read? No, actually it doesn't. It makes it a confusing read, but then Gibson chucks in a few sentences which do make sense and that sort of fortifies the nerves and allows you to plough ever onwards. Overall it was oddly jarring, too full of geometrical jargon and tricky to focus on in place - like reading while jumping on a trampoline - but Gibson should be awarded top marks for daring to be different and for churning out future-fabulous phrases such as cyber space, microsofts and the matrix when even Bill Gates and his future megacorp were still in metaphorical short pants.
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