William Gibson
Neuromancer Cover



SF books suffer from dating more so than any other genre. Probably because the trajectory of technology is so hard to predict, that when a book comes along and differs from what we percieve to be the future or what has become the future, our immersion is broken.

There's something to be said for a book that still resonates, despite its unfulfilled prophecies.

Neuromancer is one such book. This book was a joy to read, and though I can see why people say it hasn't aged well, I disagree.

Dark technology permeates everything in this book. The world of the Sprawl is bleak and merciless. The multitudes are lost in a haze of cyberspace, drugs, and perversion. I certainly wouldn't call it a happy place, but I would call it alive.

Gibson accomplishes this through intricate detail and a break-neck writing pace. Warning Number One: You'll have to pay attention. This isn't some frilly, eye-glazed, skim at your discretion story. If you want to understand what's going on, you're going to need to pay attention (and even then, it can be a bit tough).

The writing is swift and can cut deep, like Molly's razorblades. If you can appreciate that you'll be rewarded with a painting of a world both bleak and vibrant.

Warning Number Two: If you're in the mood for do-gooders, look elsewhere. The people in Neuromancer are not good people. They're theives, addicts, murderers, sociopaths, and scizophrenics. They're not in the mood to learn anything and they won't become better people by the end. You will get to peel back their scabs and see their humanity though. You see their fears and hatreds and perversions and sicknesses played out before them, and you'll watch them break and soldier on anyway.

SF owes a lot to Neuromancer. The term cyberspace comes from this book, and you can't help but draw parallels to the Internet as it exists today. Its depiction of artificial intelligence is mesmerizing, and though it seems a bit dated now, the interactions with Wintermute are some of the highlights of this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a thriller dripping with SF. You're going to need to make a commitment to it, however. Like I said, don't expect to just sit down and power through this. My copy clocked in at just under 300 pages, but you've got to work at those pages.

An excellent book, worthy of the awards it won and the praise it still gets.