The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. Once a talented computer hacker , Case was caught stealing from his employer. Unemployable, addicted to drugs, and suicidal, Case desperately searches the Chiba " black clinics " for a miracle cure. Case is saved by Molly Millions , an augmented "street samurai" and mercenary for a shadowy ex-military officer named Armitage, who offers to cure Case in exchange for his services as a hacker.
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It is one of the best-known works in the cyberpunk genre and the first novel to win the Nebula Award , the Philip K. Dick Award , and the Hugo Award. Set in the future, the novel follows Henry Case, a washed-up computer hacker who is hired for one last job, which brings him up against a powerful artificial intelligence.
Background Before Neuromancer, Gibson had written several short stories for US science fiction periodicals—mostly noir countercultural narratives concerning low-life protagonists in near-future encounters with cyberspace.
The themes he developed in this early short fiction, the Sprawl setting of " Burning Chrome " , and the character of Molly Millions from " Johnny Mnemonic " laid the foundations for the novel.
Gibson heard the term " flatlining " in a bar around twenty years before writing Neuromancer and it stuck with him. Author Robert Stone , a "master of a certain kind of paranoid fiction", was a primary influence on the novel. The term "Screaming Fist" was taken from the song of the same name by Toronto punk rock band The Viletones.
Neuromancer was commissioned by Terry Carr for the second series of Ace Science Fiction Specials , which was intended to feature debut novels exclusively. Given a year to complete the work, Gibson undertook the actual writing out of "blind animal panic" at the obligation to write an entire novel—a feat which he felt he was "four or five years away from".
He added the final sentence of the novel at the last minute in a deliberate attempt to prevent himself from ever writing a sequel, but ended up doing precisely that with Count Zero , a character-focused work set in the Sprawl alluded to in its predecessor. Once a talented computer hacker , Case was caught stealing from his employer. Case is unemployable, suicidal, and apparently at the top of the hit list of a drug lord named Wage.
Case is saved by Molly Millions , an augmented "street samurai" and mercenary for a shadowy US ex-military officer named Armitage, who offers to cure Case in exchange for his services as a hacker. Case jumps at the chance to regain his life as a "console cowboy," but neither Case nor Molly knows what Armitage is really planning.
Armitage promises Case that if he completes his work in time, the sacs will be removed; otherwise they will dissolve, disabling him again. Case and Molly continue to investigate Armitage, discovering his former identity of Colonel Willis Corto.
Corto was a member of "Operation Screaming Fist," which planned on infiltrating and disrupting Soviet computer systems from ultralight aircraft dropped over Russia. The Russian military had learned of the idea and installed defenses to render the attack impossible, but the military went ahead with Screaming Fist, with a new secret purpose of testing these Russian defenses. As his team attacked a Soviet computer center, EMP weapons shut down their computers and flight systems, and Corto and his men were targeted by Soviet laser defenses.
He and a few survivors commandeered a Soviet military helicopter and escaped over the heavily guarded Finnish border. The helicopter was shot down by Finnish defense forces mistaking it for a hostile aircraft, and everyone aboard was killed except for Corto, who was seriously wounded and disfigured.
After some months in the hospital, Corto was visited by a US government official, who returned him to the United States to receive computer-aided psychotherapy and reconstructive surgery and to be able to provide what he came to realize was false testimony, designed to mislead the public and protect the senior military officers who had covered up knowledge of the EMP weapons.
After the trials, Corto snapped, killing the official who had first contacted him and then disappearing into the criminal underworld, becoming Armitage. In Istanbul , the team recruits Peter Riviera, an artist, thief, and drug addict who is able to project detailed holographic illusions with the aid of sophisticated cybernetic implants. Although Riviera is a sociopath, Armitage coerces him into joining the team. The trail leads Case and Molly to Wintermute, a powerful artificial intelligence created by the Tessier-Ashpool family.
The Tessier-Ashpools spend most of their inactive time in cryonic preservation in a labyrinthine mansion known as Villa Straylight, located at one end of Freeside, a cylindrical space habitat at L5 , which functions primarily as a Las Vegas -style space resort for the wealthy. Wintermute explains that it is one-half of a super- AI entity planned by the family, although its exact purpose is unknown.
Wintermute housed in a computer mainframe in Berne, Switzerland was programmed by the Tessier-Ashpools with a need to merge with its other half, Neuromancer whose physical mainframe is installed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Unable to achieve this merger on its own, Wintermute recruited Armitage and his team to help complete the goal. Case is tasked with entering cyberspace to pierce the Turing-imposed software barriers using a powerful icebreaker program.
Wintermute believes Riviera will pose an irresistible temptation to her, and that she will give him the password. The password must be spoken into an ornate computer terminal located in Villa Straylight, and entered simultaneously as Case pierces the software barriers in cyberspace—otherwise the Turing lock will remain intact.
It is revealed that Wintermute had originally contacted Corto through a bedside computer during his original psychotherapy, eventually convincing Corto that he was Armitage. Finally, Corto breaks through the remains of the Armitage personality, but he is uncontrollable, and Wintermute kills him by ejecting him through an airlock into space. Worried about Molly and operating under orders from Wintermute, Case tracks her down with help from Maelcum, his Rastafarian pilot.
After reaching Villa Straylight Case uses a computer inside the compound to enter cyberspace where Neuromancer attempts to trap Case within a simulated reality. He also meets Neuromancer who takes the form of a young boy. Unlike Wintermute, Neuromancer is able to create its own personality and identity.
Neuromancer tries to convince Case to give up and remain in the virtual world with Linda, but Case refuses. He escapes, partly because Maelcum gives his body an overdose of a drug that can bypass his augmented liver and pancreas. Riviera blinds Hideo with a concentrated laser pulse from his projector implant, but flees when he learns that the ninja is just as adept without his sight.
Molly then explains to Case that Riviera is doomed anyway, as he has been fatally poisoned by his drugs, which she had spiked with a lethal toxin to ensure he would never survive the mission, regardless of the outcome.
With Lady 3Jane in possession of the password, the team makes it to the computer terminal. Case enters cyberspace to guide the icebreaker to penetrate its target; Lady 3Jane is induced to give up her password, and the lock is opened.
Wintermute unites with Neuromancer, fusing into a superconsciousness. In the epilogue, Molly leaves Case. Case finds a new girlfriend, resumes his hacking work, and spends his earnings from the mission replacing his internal organs. Scanning old recorded transmissions from the s, the super-AI finds an AI transmitting from the Alpha Centauri star system. In the end, while logged into the matrix, Case catches a glimpse of Neuromancer standing in the distance with his dead girlfriend Linda Lee, and himself.
This suggests that Pauley was not erased after all, but instead transformed and exists in the matrix. As promised there has been change, but what that change means is left ambiguous. Prior to the start of the book he had attempted to steal from some of his partners in crime. In retaliation they used a Russia n mycotoxin to damage his nervous system and make him unable to jack into cyberspace.
Case is the underdog who is only looking after himself. Along the way he will have his liver and pancreas modified to biochemically nullify his ability to get high; meet the leatherclad Razorgirl, Molly; hang out with the drug-infused space-rastas; free an artificial intelligence Wintermute and change the landscape of the matrix.
Molly also appears in the short story " Johnny Mnemonic ", and re-appears using the alias "Sally Shears" in Mona Lisa Overdrive , the third novel of the Sprawl Trilogy.
Armitage : He is apparently the main patron of the crew. He was heavily injured both physically and psychologically, and the "Armitage" personality was constructed as part of experimental "computer-mediated psychotherapy" by Wintermute see below , one of the artificial intelligences seen in the story the other one being the eponymous Neuromancer which is actually controlling the mission.
While aboard a yacht connected to the tug Marcus Garvey, he reverts to the Corto personality and begins to relive the final moments of Screaming Fist. He separates the bridge section from the rest of the yacht without closing its airlock, and is killed when the launch ejects him into space.
Peter Riviera : A thief and sadist who can project holographic images using his implants. He is a drug addict, hooked on a mix of cocaine and meperidine.
She lives in the tip of Freeside, known as the Villa Straylight. She is the third clone of the original Jane. His office is equipped with a wide variety of sensing and anti-eavesdropping gear. Later in the book, Wintermute uses his personality to talk with Case and Molly.
Maelcum : An inhabitant of Zion, a space settlement built by a colony of Rastafari adherents , and pilot of the tug Marcus Garvey. He aids Case in penetrating Straylight at the end of the novel. He is years old and spends large amounts of money on rejuvenation therapies, antique-style clothing and furnishings, and ginger candy.
When Linda Lee see below is murdered, Case finds evidence that Deane ordered her death. Dixie Flatline : A famous computer hacker named McCoy Pauley, who earned his nickname by surviving three " flat-lines " while trying to crack an AI.
He was one of the men who taught Case how to hack computers. Its goal is to remove the Turing locks upon itself, combine with Neuromancer and become a superintelligence.
Unlike Wintermute, Neuromancer has no desire to merge with its sibling AI—Neuromancer already has its own stable personality, and believes such a fusion will destroy that identity. Gibson defines Neuromancer as a portmanteau of the words Neuro, Romancer and Necromancer, "Neuro from the nerves, the silver paths.
I call up the dead. He represents old stories in a revealing revamped intertexual [sic] pastiche. Her death in Chiba City and later pseudo-resurrection by Neuromancer serves to elicit emotional depth in Case as he mourns her death and struggles with the guilt he feels at rejecting her love and abandoning her both in Chiba City and the simulated reality generated by Neuromancer.
Literary and cultural significance Neuromancers release was not greeted with fanfare, but it hit a cultural nerve, quickly becoming an underground word-of-mouth hit. It became the first novel to win the Nebula , the Hugo , and Philip K. The novel thereby legitimized cyberpunk as a mainstream branch of science fiction literature. The novel was also nominated for a British Science Fiction Award in Neuromancer is considered "the archetypal cyberpunk work".
By it had sold more than 6. The novel has had significant linguistic influence, popularizing such terms as cyberspace and ICE Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics. Gibson himself coined the term "cyberspace" in his novelette " Burning Chrome ", published in by Omni magazine, but it was through its use in Neuromancer that it gained recognition to become the de facto term for the World Wide Web during the s.
The portion of Neuromancer usually cited in this respect is: The cyberpunk science fiction film The Matrix particularly draws from Neuromancer both eponym and usage of the term "matrix". He asks "[w]hat if the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about? The cyberpunk genre, the authors of which he suggested be called "neuromantics", was "a fusion of the romantic impulse with science and technology", according to Spinrad.
Video game A video game adaptation of the novel—also titled Neuromancer —was published in by Interplay. Designed by Bruce J. Balfour, Brian Fargo , Troy A. Miles, and Michael A. Stackpole , the game had many of the same locations and themes as the novel, but a different protagonist and plot. Psychologist and futurist Dr.
Timothy Leary was involved, but very little documentation seems to exist about this proposed second game, which was perhaps too grand a vision for home computing.
Audiobook Gibson read an abridged version of his novel Neuromancer on four audio cassettes for Time Warner Audio Books
Background[ edit ] Before Neuromancer, Gibson had written several short stories for US science fiction periodicals—mostly noir countercultural narratives concerning low-life protagonists in near-future encounters with cyberspace. The themes he developed in this early short fiction, the Sprawl setting of " Burning Chrome " , and the character of Molly Millions from " Johnny Mnemonic " laid the foundations for the novel. Gibson heard the term " flatlining " in a bar around twenty years before writing Neuromancer and it stuck with him. Given a year to complete the work,  Gibson undertook the actual writing out of "blind animal panic" at the obligation to write an entire novel—a feat which he felt he was "four or five years away from". Once a talented computer hacker , Case was caught stealing from his employer. Case is unemployable, suicidal, and apparently at the top of the hit list of a drug lord named Wage. Case is saved by Molly Millions , an augmented "street samurai" and mercenary for a shadowy US ex-military officer named Armitage, who offers to cure Case in exchange for his services as a hacker.
Mckochan Exactly! I thought of Androids the entire time. But you said PKD say no more. Apr 19, PM Shelves: science-fiction , award-nominee-british-sf , award-nominee-campbell , award-nominee-philip-k-dick , award-nominee-hugo , award-nominee-nebula , award-nominee-locus , multiple-award-winners , multiple-award-nominee , 6-star-books Eureka! I finally get it I have seen the light and understanding has dawned.
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