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.
"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.
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.
"Amazing - never head anything so brilliant"
Stunning amazing genius - very very impressive. Computer scifi at its finest. Loved every minute of it.
"cyberpunk masterpiece well narrated"
Neuromancer is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to.
The narrator captures the mood perfectly, and helps those who may struggle by trying to understand reading the book.
An epic journey through the dystopian future, where cyberspace so chillingly echoes a vision of our own cultural understanding of the infantile internet.
Any reviewer giving this and its' performance less than four stars ought to question their grasp of reality.
"There's a story in there somewhere"
I came to the book expecting too much. The whole cyberspace "invention" thing had me excited. I see echoes of Neuromancer in the daily jacking of my children into the world of minecraft (and adult friends into social media platforms). Of course some ideas in the book are prescient, some are not (eg: banks of public telephones). But that is where it ends for me. Cyberpunk as a genre here reads like a 1950s pulp detective novel, where the setting takes priority over the plot and character. In the end I didn't really care.
I'll be trying a bit of non-fiction.
Perhaps not. I did find the narrator's take on accents irritating. Cliched Jamaican to absurd Finnish that sounded Irish. The accents on the whole were terrible. So much so that I'm not sure if he's actually American, because even that accent sounded ridiculous by the end.
Yes, the descriptions of this dystopian world were very evocative and at times beautiful.
A film adaptation might win me over...
Normally I have no problem following the plot in a sci-fi story, but I never cough up to what was happening and why. This book feels like a description of an environment rather than a exiting story.
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