Book Review: Neuromancer (Sprawl #1) by Wiliiam Gibson

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation


Hotwired to the leading edges of art and technology, Neuromancer is a cyberpunk, science fiction masterpiece—a classic that ranks with 1984 and Brave New World as one of the twentieth century’s most potent visions of the future.

The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus-hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace…

Henry Dorsett Case was the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees 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.

The winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer was the first fully-realized glimpse of humankind’s digital future—a shocking vision that has challenged our assumptions about our technology and ourselves, reinvented the way we speak and think, and forever altered the landscape of our imaginations.

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My Thoughts

Whew. I struggled with Neuromancer. Why did I read a classic foundation piece of science fiction? In short, it was a book club pick.

Neuromancer is one of the first cyberpunk books. I have never read a cyberpunk book or really ever interacted with this concept. Neuromancer was a decent read. After reading it, I think it is safe to say it greatly influenced the science fiction community. Clearly a foundation piece in the science fiction world. But did I enjoy it?

Overall, no. Neuromancer could not be further from the books I enjoy reading. Case is a hacker who has been cut off from the network. He is lost without this connection, often running through the cyber world while walking around town. He is approached by someone who claims they can restore his connection to the network and he can join a team to embark on a hacking mission. In this world human can change their bodies with technology and link into a cyber world, in which they can perform missions. Thus kicks off the adventure that feels like a gritty detective novel meets science fiction. There is a lot of sex, drugs, and tech lingo that flew right over my head. As the novel comes to a close, you discover just how powerful AI has become. The last few chapters reminded me of Inception (2010 movie).

Neuromancer challenged me as a reader. I did not feel connected to the characters which fed into my confusing of the plot. Gibson shifts locations without much explanation, I need just a little more details than were provided. I am not sure if that was the writing style of the time, or just something I look for in books. I did enjoy the futuristic outlook Gibson held, using words that are commonplace today. There are many noteworthy elements within Neuromancer, if you have the patience to read through and discover them.

We monitor many frequencies. We listen always. Came a voice, out of the babel of tongues, speaking to us. It played us a mighty dub.

Should you read Neuromancer?

Neuromancer is not for everyone. If you love cyberpunk and science fiction, more so older science fiction, this is the book for you. If you are new the the genre, skip over Neuromancer for now.

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