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
NEUROMANCER, beyond being a landmark in the sci-fi genre, is just a plainly well-written novel by one of the best current practitioners in the English language. It's a hard-boiled noir tale set in a brilliant future imagined in the 1980s. If that doesn't sell you, then this just isn't your cup of tea.
Roberston Dean perfectly executes the narration here-- his low-toned, guttural voice complements the prose in a surprising way. I had read NEUROMANCER before listening to it here, and found I enjoyed it in a whole new way, which is rare for me when it comes to audiobooks on fiction.
Shamelessly geeky; mathematically delicious.
The impact of Neuromancer is hard to overstate. Few other modern works can claim to have altered the public lexicon, let alone society's expectations of what a future with technology should look like. Neuromancer has done both. But despite this level of impact, many will find this book a difficult read, and one with some very clear flaws.
Perhaps the most difficult (yet rewarding) part of Neuromancer is its writing style. Gibson's prose is jagged but poetic, confusing but evocative. On paper, without the assistance of tone, it is often hard to tell where the metaphor ends and reality begins. Luckily, the narrator (Dean), helps to untie the tangle of words with his delivery. Moreover, the adoption of many words used in Neuromancer by the general public in the last 25 years has made this book much more accessible to the modern audience. Thus, with the hard work done for you, you can really appreciate how Gibson's style helps to characterize the protagonist (Case). We learn that Case is curt, even in his own thoughts, and how he interfaces with the world experientially rather than intellectually. It helps to explain some of Case's flaws, like his fixation on drugs and sex, without having to beat the reader over the head with it.
That brings me to the single biggest problem in this book: sex. Gibson's use of sex often feels cheap. He throws in sexual encounters with too little pretense and goes into too much detail too often. I don't consider myself a prude, and I recognize that sex often has a literary purpose, but the portrayal of sex in Neuromancer is something of a distraction throughout the book. That said, the distraction is not great enough to ruin the experience, but it does seem like a stain on what would otherwise be a flawless novel.
Dean's performance in Neuromancer is impressive. He flies through Gibson's difficult prose, and really brings the character of Case alive. He makes occasional use of character voices, which is a very welcome addition to the reading. However, his female voices feel out place, too breathy and sometimes coming across as dreamy air-heads. While this fits for a few characters, it's unfortunate that a character like Molly, who should come across as a no-nonsense action girl, feels more like an aloof ninja.
Ultimately, in spite of its flaws, it's hard not to recommend Neuromancer. The role this book has played in both modern culture and sci-fi literature is just too great to pass up. To top it off, the book is fairly short and the audio format untangles Gibson's difficult prose, making this a surprisingly breezy read.
I don't know why I have only now found this book. I have been a long time lover of sci-fi but this book blew me away. I grew up playing Shadow Run, I'm not talking about the video game either. I played the paper and dice RPG. I loved the world and the characters especially the Matrix. I can't believe that with all that I never knew about William Gibson. I am glad I found it now though. This book is a must read for any lover of Sci-Fi or Cyberpunk. William Gibson is truly a visionary without him I believe the world of Cyber Space would be very different. Pick this book up. Read it. Then Read it again. It is that good.
The fact that the characters are the most important thing in the story and don't get overshadowed by the technology which is what happens far too often in Science Fiction.
In my opinion a narrator should be practically transparent, I want the story to spark my imagination. Robertson manages this quite well.
I just finished my first run through Neuromancer by William Gibson. I say first as I cant imagine not experiencing it again. It is an excellent book in so many ways but suffice it say that Gibson was practically prescient.
I'm just this guy, y'know?
It's been more years than I care to remember since I first read this book. So, I was a bit nervous to get the audio version and give it another go. The story holds up very well though, and the few anachronisms lend character more than distract from the plot. At least, that is my opinion. The narrator's performance is very good.
In 1984 the novel might have been breathtaking, even a step ahead of time. 30 years later the book feels out of context. Gibson's style isn't unique anymore, parts of his story are reality and some ideas are simply outdated. This work has often been called the first cyberpunk novel. That might be, however, today remains a fairly meagre story only. And one that isn't an easy read.
I'd recommend it to everyone who does not go for the sparkling and futuristic sci-fi genre only but enjoys a detour to a more dark and critical style. From that point of view it's an addition but not a must-read.
The narration was a disappointment: Very slow and boring. Maybe on purpose but it didn't help the story at all.
I enjoyed reaching the end and reading the epilogue that reviews all of the fresh ideas and new vocabulary that Neuromancer has brought to the tech world.
i saved a drab colored lizard who thrashed desperately in your makeshift bird bath this morning, around eight. he was beneath your notice.
Indubitably. The book has aged surprisingly well and the prose is wondrous. I'm not sure it will ever be required reading in schools, but perhaps it should be. You can tell a tale that's bizarre and people *will* keep reading (listening) if you make your characters engaging and your prose hypnotic.
Better than average.
Several, most regarding Molly. Case may have been the protagonist, but Molly's tale intrigues me more.
The narrator's voicing for Molly is so poor, and so wrong for the character, it makes this edition unsustainable.
Say something about yourself!
Neuromancer is one of those books I have read a few times over the years and I was excited to see it in this format so I could listen to it while I sat in rush hour traffic. I hate to say it but the narrator, Robertson Dean, ruined the experience for me. He is obviously a good reader but I felt he was a bad casting choice for this "cyberpunk classic". His regular reading voice reminded me of the character Gail Boetticher from Breaking Bad- like he's sitting in a comfy chair, wearing a cable knit sweater, reading this book out loud to his cats. His Dixie Flatline voice sounds like Tommy Lee Jones doing drag. He makes Molly the Razorgirl sound like a housewife from the Fifties who is either scolding Case or wants to bake him something, or sometimes both... and the Jamaican patois for Maelcom the Rasta was just terrible, like someone imitating Spanish mixed with Hindi or Urdu. The Panther Moderns sounded effete and sleepy. The feel of the writing is futuristic and gritty and the narration just fell short, making it all sound sort of awkward and a little creepy- like accidentally hearing senior citizens getting it on. I know there's only so much a narrator can do with such a myriad of characters, and they deserve some wiggle room to make it work, but in this case I am being taken right out of the story. Yeesh...
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