Twenty years ago, it was as if someone turned on a light. The future blazed into existence with each deliberate word that William Gibson laid down. The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer didn't just explode onto the science fiction scene - it permeated into the collective consciousness, culture, science, and technology.Today, there is only one science fiction masterpiece to thank for the term "cyberpunk," for easing the way into the information age and Internet society. Neuromancer's virtual reality has become real. And yet, William Gibson's gritty, sophisticated vision still manages to inspire the minds that lead mankind ever further into the future.
©1984 William Gibson (P)2011 Penguin Audio
Easily one of my favorite stories by far. When I first acquired it, I listened to the story at least 7 times in the first month, eager to hear the story told over once more.
That, despite the book's own admitted dated technologies in place, the story still tells of a future we are still only beginning to explore, where the once fanciful portrayals given inside are becoming a reality.
Robertson Dean's performance in this book is exceptional, and after having listened to the other books in this series, I found his portrayal of The Finn not only spot-on, but made the other audio portrayals of him poorer by comparison.
Hard to listen twice. I would miss tiny details when I was listening in the car. Then a section wouldn't quite make sense. Listening more carefully the second time, it all came together and it is quite a story
My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine; (fortunately) everybody drinks water. - Mark Twain
Perhaps in 1984 the "tech" in this book was more infatuating, although I have never been one to let an outdated Sci Fi novel stop me from diving in. I can totally deal with outdated. The entire story line is artificially derived from 1980's anecdotal ideas of what the future held. For me it seemed the story was over half way through. I realized I didn't care what happened to case. I don't understand why this book is celebrated. First and foremost, a writer needs to make the reader care about the characters.
Late bloomer to science fiction, or is it science faction?
Anyway an enjoyable read and looking forward to the other two novels the author has set in this world that could very easily be like our future still.
Forward and afterword were also very thoughtful , humble, provoking.
I first encountered and read Neuromancer years and years ago. I must have been, perhaps 19, or 20 when I first read the book, I wasn't too impressed. I had heard a lot about the book. Terms like "Game changing" And other hype buzzed around this book. It seemed like anyone into cyberpunk made this book out to be a bible or the master authority on anything related. At that time I was heavily into fantasy and science fiction and had only recently been exposed to the sub genre of cyberpunk. So I was eager, perhaps too naive, and wanted the book to fulfill, a space that I carved out and had pre-defined as to what I thought it should be.
When I first got the book, I was even unimpressed by the look of it. A small paperback, un-assuming blue-greyish copy that looked like it could have just as easily passed for some dime a dozen novel in a pharmacy rack. But I cracked it open and read and read. ...And boy was I disappointed. While I dug into the chapters, vague hints and allusions as to what I was expecting were made but it just didn't feel like "it". Surely this novel, which had been praised and cut to be such a great work, couldn't be what I held in my hands. I eventually dumped it, and never got passed chapter 5 or 6 or so, and moved on to flashier less subtle books.
I'm now currently 28. In eights years time, my tastes have changed (hopefully, and thankfully). I also am a very big believer in returning to your past. After discussing some popular science fiction on a forum, William Gibson's name inevitably turned up. I then decided to return to what I started, and see if the book held to my prior thoughts, or perhaps with age and temper, I would find something in it that I had missed....
I did indeed miss something. While I'm still (very) apprehensive to impart *too* much praise onto this book, I must also take into account when this book was released. I think that is the largest, and biggest point that I so clumsily missed. Surely, if someone watches the Wizard of Oz in 2015, with no prior context, they scoff and disregard it as a joke. But often, you must read or watch something with the varied lens of time. It really changes your perspective!
Also something else I learned very, very quickly, slang, and books with a lot of made up adages, words and terms are extremely hard to equate via audio. I found myself mis-hearing and having to actually pull out my old copy of Neuromancer (of course I still had it tucked away) just to make sure I kept things straight.
The world of Neuromancer wasn't what I had remembered. Now I returned to the book with a finer toothed comb...and boy did I catch a lot more. What a difference, everything seemed clearer and more defined. While I won't go so far as to say it was a complete 180, I could see even from the first chapter this would be a different ride. Unfortunately as I said, paired with a horrible narrator, it actually was a bit of a struggle in the beginning keeping the names and terms straight. (I had misheard 'the Finn' as 'the thin' and thought they were referring to some sort of description of an A.I.) My opinion is, if you want to enjoy this book and really dig into the background and "flavor"... get the print copy and read it. One of my gripes is that everyone has like 3 different monikers and when being read to, these all jumble up. It's far easier to read into the context when you have the text in front of you.
The main character, Henry Case is like a cliche of a bad cliche, which makes him a good character. (remember that lens of time thing) He's a down on his luck, two bit criminal, who's sort of a low life we gather. Definitely not evil or anything, but finds some unreputable methods to get by. Of course he's given a gritty, grim dark past, and has a checkered history. We're meant to feel sorry for him pretty much, but honestly, I don't. He can no longer hack or enter cyberspace. (ok...actually I do feel sorry for him..)
He's supported and countered by an array of other characters that all perform and fill different roles, but honestly, they all come off as blank slates. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but each character, seems to be more of a computer program than actually a personality. I feel like Case and perhaps Maelcum are two most relatable characters. This is countered by the fact that Gibson does an excellent job is giving us a far more "relatable" universe. By that I mean the world that he's built. Some area's, defined with extreme richness, others left to more vague suggestions.
The narration was pretty forgettable. Falls prey to the bad narration of female voices that plagues so many male narrators. While the narrator does a decent job at accents, it all sounds pretty forced, artificial and a bit bland. It doesn't detract *too much* from the story, but I've heard much better.
The themes and characterization of the places while, they now seem familiar through other sci-fi and cyberpunk, when viewed at the time, what a 'sprawl'. The idea of night city still seems so cool, and murky to me. And coupled with the most visual suggestions and images we're given in movies like "Blade Runner", it really helps set the mood for this book.
Something that I took away from this reading of Neuromancer is the idea of separation. I'm not 100% sure this was intended... (edit: I wasn't the first obviously to notice this :( ) but the book seems to play with the idea of separation, isolationism, and division. Even the plot of the book itself (uniting Wintermute and Neuro) suggests the two halves are separate beings. Case himself is an isolated figure, needing to be re-united with his lost ability to hack. Even Corto and "Armitage" are two distinct and split personalities.
This concept and idea would have been completely and utterly lost on me during my first reading.
I enjoyed my second attempt at this...I really did. I think the book provides something that wasn't seen much of and filled a space for the imaginative amongst us. I mean so few books can claim that they actually sport a real ninja assassin...
mad oz mcbrer
This book has had such weirdly widespread effects. Read it. Try to find which pieces have directly affected your life. It's like a game of ontological Where's Waldo.
This was a challenging book to follow. I found it very difficult to stay focusd on the narrator's voice. The first instance where I sort of wish I had bought the paperback version instead.
The story is fantastic though.
The reader, Robertson Dean, for Neuromancer is suberb, bringing out the poetry of this amazing novel, the lovely word-weaving that reminds me of Ray Bradbury or Tolkien's care with words. But he also differentiates the characters as I could not while reading silently from a book. Molly is excellent. Dixie Flatline is my favorite -- Dean's got the Southern accent perfect, and the understated disenchantment of Dixie's condition: he died, and his personality and memory are trapped in a ROM, a read-only-memory device. "Old dead man needs his laughs, Case," he says flatly when Case protests that his eerie laugh does something to Case's spine. I like the Jamaican outlaws, too, who are hired to help Case make the run. "You were dead, mon," says Malcolm, and Case, by now a desperate veteran of this experience, says, "It happens." "You going to the dark, mon," Malcolm fires back, and Case replies, "Looks like it's the only game in town."
I liked Robertson Dean so well that I bought some other of his books on the strength of his Neuromancer. Fortunately, he also read Gibson's Count Zero, a sequel that in my opinion is even better than Neuromancer.
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