Saturday, January 24, 2009

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Needing a break from cozy mysteries, I stood in front of my husband's bookcase and looked for something different. His shelf tends to be science fiction and fantasy heavy. Knowing I was in the mood for something heavier than "fluffy," he handed me William Gibson's now classic Neuromancer.

I read a decent amount of science fiction, but I don't read heavy cyberpunk much. So Neuromancer was definitely outside my normal comfort level. The reason my husband suggested it, and the reason it is worth reading, is because of the role it has had in creating the genre of cyberpunk. Believe it or not, this book coined the phrase cyberspace. It is a momentary drop in the plot of the novel, but nonetheless, Gibson helped create a world which is terribly familiar today.

The main character in Neuromancer is a down on his luck computer hacker in a futuristic Earth. Living in an undesirable Japanese slum, Case is hunted and hired by a sketchy military agent to hack into a closed, protected computer system. A heavily surgeried female is his physical entré into the computer system he needs to hack. The story revolves around the two main characters, their past, and the AI that keeps leading them on. A decent amount of the story takes place inside the computer.

This book is not for the un-cyberpunk educated. It is hard to read and hard to get into. I can't say I *enjoyed* the story. That's not to say I didn't like reading it. When I finished Neuromancer I was glad to have read it. Not the least because it was the first novel to win The Hugo Award, The Nebula Award AND The Philip K. Dick Award -no easy feat. I felt like I have a better understanding of the hacker/cyberpunk work having read this book. My husband is trying to get me to read more Willim Gibson. I will... One of these days.

2 comments:

Apatt said...

Just read your review of Neuromancer 2 years after it was written. Great review, I am struggling through the book myself and your review is helping me to get through it with some clarifications.

g.n.a.t. said...

Apatt - glad my review helped. I noticed two more William Gibson books on my husband's shelf. He tried to hand me one a couple of months ago and I have so far not picked it up. One of these days...