Partway through Chapter 3 of One-Dimensional Man, Marcuse enters into a discussion about the changing role of sexuality, libido, and eroticism in modern technological society. I think that this discussion illuminates certain aspects of the world that Gibson has constructed in Neuromancer, and the complex ways in which the novel reflects, exaggerates, or negates certain elements of our own world.
On page 33 of Neuromancer, Case and Molly engage in sexual intercourse, and during orgasm Case immediately has a vision: "...his orgasm flaring blue in timeless space, a vastness like the matrix, where the faces were shredded and blown away down hurricane corridors, and her inner thighs were strong and wet against his hips." Here Case is experiencing images of technology, violence, and sexual pleasure all at the same time. I think that this demonstrates that eroticism, in Gibson's world, has in some ways returned to the pre-modern mode of sublimation that Marcuse describes. Rather than the "de-eroticized" modern space in which sexual drives relate only to themselves and are no longer sublimated into a "landscape" or "field of libidinal experience," Gibson's world is characterized by constant black market activity (what Case calls "biz") which subsumes all other activity into itself.
The Panther Moderns exemplify another form of this sublimation. They are the latest expression of what Case thinks of as a "ghostly teenage DNA" (p. 58) which is constantly reconfiguring itself as a series of new fads, trends, and underground groups in the Sprawl. They are "nihilistic technofetishists" (p. 59) basically intent on engaging in terrorist activity purely for its own sake, "divorce[d] from its original sociopolitical intent" (p. 58). Tellingly, Case characterizes the social group he (and the Moderns) exist within as an in-between state which is somewhere between crime and art. In other words, cyber-terrorism is what Marcuse calls the "truly avant-garde" of Gibson's world. The Moderns release their libidinal energy in high-risk, massively destructive pranks, exemplifying the sublimated eroticism of the romantic artistic vision, while also communicating the "break with communication" by abstracting terrorism from any actual political message or goal. Each Panther Modern prank is in itself a kind of surrealist artwork that releases the prankster's libinal energy in order to express the "refusal to behave" (Marcuse).
On the other hand, none of this implies that the world of Neuromancer is the kind of world that Marcuse is trying to hypothesize in his writing. Obviously the Sprawl is a location riddled with violence and addiction, and the average person is essentially at the mercy of local crime lords and his or her own ability to stay alive in the constant flux of the black market. However, I think that Gibson has offered us, within the limits of the extreme, hyper-capitalist, dystopian world he has created, some possible paths of resistance which relate to the criticisms Marcuse has of our own world.