December 10th, 2012


Book Review: Neuromancer, by William Gibson

The book that invented cyberpunk.


Ace Books, 1984, 271 pages

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 the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way--and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance--and a cure--for a price...

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Verdict: Neuromancer is the original "cyberpunk" novel. It defined cyberpunk. It's got a voice and an edge and you will recognize every single trope in the book because it was the trope definer. I found it entertaining but mostly unremarkable, the characters flat, the plot something that's been imitated into unoriginality. It was worth reading, but I've given Gibson several chances to impress me, and he doesn't that much. Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive can just stay on the shelf. But I will remain thankful to Gibson for Shadowrun and Neal Stephenson.

Also by William Gibson: My review of Pattern Recognition.

My complete list of book reviews.