You probably thought that I only read serious non-fiction now? Nope, I still love science fiction, and that’s another post entirely. In William Gibson’s breakout 1984 science fiction novel which has since gone on to define and influence the cyberpunk genre.
I went into this book knowing pretty much nothing about it or what it was supposed to be about, which I honestly recommend that you do as well, and for most art as well, not just this book. The story is a bit hard to follow at times, with an interesting way of bringing the reader into the mystery slowly, because our characters are just as ignorant as we are, being guided along by unseen outside forces whose motives aren’t even cognitively verbalized.
Gibson really bends the structure of story-arc driven story telling as a result of the ambiguity surrounding the characters, to the point where you can’t really label anyone as protagonists or antagonists until pretty much the very end. He also bends, sometimes beyond recognition, the English language. The rate at which new words are introduced, often without any explanation or definition other than vague context and frequent repetition, is actually quite exhilarating. Gibson develops a world which more than three decades later still holds up, with only a few underestimations of the technological advancements we would actually come up with in real life. The language he develops and uses really submerges you into the world, and there are multiple times where you kind of have to come up for breath after reading sentences which would be completely unrecognizable and incomprehensible outside of the context of his fantastical futuristic world.
I’m trying not to describe what the world is like or what any of the characters are like or do on purpose, so that everything can be just as enjoyable for you as it was for me. This book reads the way I wished that “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” did, particularly in how it evoked in my mind the mixed up and lived in chaos of life and the dark and smokey underworld feeling that Blade Runner (1982, just two years before Neuromancer was published) accomplished so perfectly. I read this book pretty quickly, and the promise of two more books in Gibson’s “Sprawl” trilogy is enticing me to stay in his cyberpunk world.