The Matrix: a world within a world, a graphic representation of the databanks of every computer in the human system; a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate users in the Sprawl alone. And by Case, computer cowboy, until his nervous system is grievously maimed by a client he double crossed. Japanese experts in nerve splicing and micro bionics have left him broken and close to death. But at last, Case has found a cure. He’s going back into the system. Not for the bliss of cyberspace, but to steal again, this time from the big boys, the almighty mega corps. In return, should he survive, he will stay cured.
©2012 William Gibson (P)2012 Audible Ltd
If at first you don’t succeed; call it Version 1.0 ...
It has all the elements of a top rate science fiction and a post-industrial dystopian novel. First published in 1984, it was ahead of its time. It coined the term "cyberspace" which Gibson, long before the internet and other virtual technologies were integrated into everyday life, described as "a three-dimensional representation of computer data through which users communicate and do business, alongside a whole host of more dubious activities." In fact, this book said to have inspired a generation of technophiles.
Gibson is one of the stars of the genre, and I was looking forward to revisiting Neuromancer after I first read it years ago. Sadly, this performance is betrayed by terrible narration; Harding's voice is horribly annoying, and when he tries to do characters' voices he descends to amateurish depths. I wasn't able to stand more than about fifteen minutes of it.
"READ THIS INSTEAD OF THE (RUBBISH) BLURB ABOVE"
Oh dear. Whoever wrote the official blurb above has clearly not even bothered to read the book. Here's something slightly more accurate courtesy of me and Amazon.com:
"Here is the novel that started it all, launching the Cyberpunk generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science fiction: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. With Neuromancer, William Gibson introduced the world to cyberspace - and science fiction has never been the same."
Case was a cowboy cruising the information superhighway; one of the best - jacking his consciousness into the Matrix, soaring through tactile latices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. But then he made the classic mistake and stole from his employers - who caught him and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courts death in the high-tech Chiba underworld...until a new employer, and his scary little razorgirl, scoops him up and offers him the cure he thought didn't exist - in return for one last run.
All of the above is for the book, of course. And I would add that, although most reviews concentrate on its massive impact on the SF genre and indeed wider culture, personally I just love the way Gibson uses words. He's a real artist (which sometimes disappoints those looking for something more prosaic) and what he does with language - and his eerie grasp of the human condition - at times approaches the sublime.
As for the audiobook: the narrator could be better. I can just about handle the massively macho American timbre (amusing rather than grating; unlike Gibson's other Audible narrators) but the careless mistakes, clunky artistic choices (the Finn's accent; oh dear) and lack of talent depicting female characters are harder to forgive. But forgive them, I do, because the quality of the writing shines through making such minor quibbles irrelevant.
"Couldn't finish -("
Despite multiple attempts to read the actual book - never could finish it. Trying listening rendered the same results.
It may well be a classic in cyber-punk, but impossible to follow the plot.
"Really came alive, excellent"
Very well read and the characterisation worked well, some accents took a little getting used to - the Molly in my head didn't sound quite so weedy, but it worked and I enjoyed the listen immensely
"a great story well told!"
narrator is fantastic. have read this book 6-7 times..but this narration brings it to life in a new way. thanks.
"I enjoyed the experience but whats it about.."
This was one of these books that i just let washoverme.. It was great i felt immeresed but not sure i got all the story. I will re listen and will listen to the other stories in the series.
Just enjoy the worlds and ideas.
"Genesis of cyberpunk - not showing its age"
The characterisation and punchy style of the writing stands out, holding the reader's attention. The very human needs of the characters allows the reader to identify with an unfamiliar world with the sci-fi elements well blended into the background.
Case holds his own as a central character. A good mixture of wit, toughness and a wonderful half-felt cynicism - you never know its hiding a more optimistic and positive side.
This is one of Jeff Harding's weaker performances by his excellent standards and still manages to be beat a lot of the competition. It sounded like one from his earlier days before he settled into full book narration.
No - I rarely listen to a book in a one go and tend to listen on the move.
The book lived up to expectations as the main progenitor of cyperpunk. Overall, an enjoyable and entertaining book.
"Amazing - never head anything so brilliant"
Stunning amazing genius - very very impressive. Computer scifi at its finest. Loved every minute of it.
first time reading it. and i realised i should have read it ages ago. i could clearly see how this has influenced the matrix. yery well read
I gave this book about 90 mins, then had to give up. I don't know if the story develops into something interesting, but here's a very fine example of the reader getting in the way of the narration- 'here, let me put on my narrator's voice'... Sounded like a dated movie from the '50. Awful.
"Found it hard to follow"
I really wanted to like this but got lost in what was happening. . never really felt like it made much sense although I could tell there was lots of cool ideas in there which the matrix etc have stolen.
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