A review by soniek
Neuromancer, by William Gibson


Either this book is highly underrated, or I am completely ignorant about works in this genre.

I had never heard about this book until I picked it up for a reading challenge. For a debut novel written in 1984, this is brilliant in terms of the concept, the complexity, the imagination, the narratives, the characterization, the language used, and most importantly - the plot!

This is my first cyberpunk so I don't really have much to compare it with. But personally, it was a difficult read for me, mainly because of the language used. Also, there's a lot going on in the plot. How does one imagine something which doesn't exist in reality? Of course, one needs a very good imagination. I lacked that in the first half of the book because I still was not getting the hang of it.

An abundant use of slangs, and frequent jumps between locations (be it geography, space, consciousness and even dimensions) made it even more confusing in the beginning.

An advice to the reader: Please pay attention to every new term, right from the beginning!

The plot and the imagination: It's a battle against an AI. Of course, being a cyberfiction, there's got to be an AI gone rogue. And there's a bunch of people, dead and alive, all physically modified with replaceable parts and organs, hired to attack an AI. Dead people continue to live as stored consciousness in RAMs, the rich extend their lives through cryogenics. The human consciousness, AI and software all seem to merge into a fuzzy mess.

The characters: I loved the characters. There isn't a lot of delving into their histories, nor is there a lot of time wasted in developing chemistries. And yet, the writer paints a fine picture of their behaviour, their attire (clothes, appearances and appendages are some of the few things described in great detail in this book). Every character brings a spice of his own, be it the protagonist Case, Mollie who sounds like a cross between an android and cat-woman, the Rastafarian Maelcolm or even a cute little cart crying non-stop.

The technological fantasy: let's just say it heavily inspired The Matrix. I absolutely loved the imagery of a "Chinese virus" attacking the AI's defence systems: "The face of the Kuang logics kinda sleazes up to the target and mutates, so it gets to be exactly like the ice fabric." The author literally likened the software program to a biological pathogen!

I could probably go on and on about the book. To summarize, this is a must-read for anyone interested in cyberpunk and sci-fi. And of course, those who loved The Matrix. As for me, I wouldn't mind re-reading it.