The first 135 pages of Neuromancer were a blend of scientific/fictitious jargon, drugs, and introduction to the Matrix. Throughout reading the first half of the novel I cannot help but compare this book to Philip K. Dick's novel. However, a distinct difference I noticed between these two books are the modifications of the humans. Most, if not all the characters in the book have had some sort of work done to them- whether it be obvious physical alterations, or internal work. As Case puts it, "The body was meat." But the section that caught the most attention was when the character of Molly is introduced. On page 25, it says "She held out her hands, palms up, the white fingers slightly spread, and with a barely audible click, ten double-edged, four-centimeter scalpel blades slide from their housings beneath the burgundy nails."Besides the obviously interestings modifications that have been made to her body, my thought process slides to whether or not the people in this novel have become non-human. In Philip's novel, the humans have androids to serve them, and these humans do not have alterations made on their bodies. Perhaps there is no need of robot humans in Gibson's novel because the humans have become the androids.
I found that so far, the way that "Neuromancer" is written has made it extremely difficult to figure out what's actually going on. Multiple times I have had to check Wikipedia to make sure I understood what was happening, and determining whether or not a section was a flashback, something happening, or occurring in the matrix was next-to-impossible, although I'm enjoying the book a lot.Anyway, I think an interesting passage is when Lupus Yonderboy describes the purpose of the Panther Moderns. He mentions that their goal is "chaos" more than anything else, whether or not they perform good or bad. I couldn't help but be reminded of Anonymous, who as many on the internet are aware, tend to behave almost identically to the Moderns. Occasionally they'll do something horrible (like harassing an 11-year-old girl to the brink of suicide) and other times, they'll do something vigilanteish (like tracking down a teenager who posted a Youtube video of himself beating a cat), depending whatever they decide will amuse them. The only reason they operate is "for the lulz" as many on the internet describe them, no matter what harm or help occurs.
I've actually found this novel to be a relatively challenging read. The lists and brand names were hard to follow. The different language from the characters seems so natural and developed that I feel that I'm not in their world -- which I suppose is Gibson's goal.However, one thing that stuck out to me as I was reading was the idea of people being assembled parts. This sort of relates to Frankenstein to a degree, but I related it more to Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep merely because of the science fiction ties. Early in the novel, Linda Lee is described as having a "splintering" personality (8). Case is described as "coming apart at the seams" (29). Molly has enhanced parts. I think this relates to the idea of the subjectively assembled cyberspace. Or perhaps the people are assembled through some sort of pattern. This kind of goes to what Caia says in her post about people becoming non-human. I don't necessarily think they have quite literally become non-human, but more of an unstable being.
I agree with everyone that Gibson's description of the book's cyber world is hard to imagine, and because of this it is alienating to readers. The first sentence, for example, is difficult to picture, a world where digital technology merges with reality, "a city port with a sky the color of television." What are we supposed to think about this? Marcuse references Brecht in chapter three and his desire for his art to "represent the contemporary world in theater" by estranging the reader from the world of his art the same way modern society distances or detaches the individual from reality (or emotion or eroticism). Marcuse would take Gibson's "cyborg" prose as a form of Great Refusal, an attempt to show readers what they are missing from their own reality, what a disembodied lifestyle is actually like through the "subversion of linguistic structure, [implying] a subversion of the experience of nature." Just look at Gibson's sex scene in which he actually uses the words "scrotum" and "impaling" and Molly actually tells Case not to touch her face because he might get fingerprints on her robot eyes. Gibson is definitely saying something about the natural feelings of human alienation and estrangement that come with the process of societal "desublimation" (I'm not quite sure if I'm using Marcuse's word right here). Readers of Neuromancer should feel put-off by Gibson's almost untouchable world because I think that's the point. He wants to make you appreciate reality.
This book makes no sense! Neuromancer completely fails at a literary level for me. I understand the basic plot, but the details are way too technical for me. I have no patience with pages upon pages detailing how Case is doing whatever he is doing something in the matrix (I keep seeing pictures of Keanu Reeves slow-mo windmilling while streams of binary code flash by in the background). Most of what is written is wasted on me; but perhaps because I still understand what--in the most general sense--is happening, I am even more frustrated at not understanding the world in which it is set. I am having great difficulty getting into the novel.As with Caia, I cannot help but comparing Neuromancer with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. However, I look at Dick's world and see something that I can understand. With Gibson's world, I feel as if I am decidedly an outsider. I cannot get into the story and it feels as if most of the text is superfluous. My question is, to someone who understands technoshit, when Case is in the matrix, surrounded by "infinite blue space ranged with colour-coded spheres strung on a tight grid of pale blue neon," does this really add to the story, does it serve some purpose that I just cannot understand, or is it indeed superfluous?
Personally, I really enjoy the impressionistic descriptions of the world in Neuromancer! But I'm much more interested in style than plot, anyway. I'm all right with not exactly knowing what's going on at first...I was really into the passage on page 12 where Gibson describes Julius Dean's office: "meticulous reconstructions of garments of the past century [...] random collection of European furniture [...] Neo-Aztec bookcases [...] Disney-styled table lamps [...] Kandinsky-like coffee table [...] Dali clock [...]" etc.I think this passage is a really good indication of the way that hyper-advanced capitalism sort of compresses culture and melts everything into this totally commodified eternal present where everything from ancient civilizations, avant-garde art, mainstream corporate children's entertainment, etc. etc. are all brought together. Zizek talks about this in refernce to the movie "Children of Men" here and I think it totally applies to what Gibson is doing with some aspects of the Sprawl culture in the book as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbgrwNP_gYE
I agree that this novel is hard to follow. I think my biggest hang up is whether the characters in the book are people, or robots, or some bio-engineered in between. Case gets new pieces and parts and everyone seems to be cosmetically altered to suit their whims or to assist in their profession. They talk right in the beginning about this being an age of complete cosmetic control but does that somehow spill over into the medical sector as well, or is it all the same? There also seems to be a really interesting class issue, evn though I can't really say exactly what causes the divide. I"m struggling with the plot because it moves quickly and seems to be written under the assumption that I know more than I do. However, I really like the novel and find myself desperately trying to solve the Neuromancer puzzle, which I can only guess is part of the appeal this novel has.
Neuromancer is not an easy read. I found the plot hard to follow, and I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one that had trouble following the story line.I did pick up on a few things though. I read online that this novel falls into the genre of "cyberpunk." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but in comparison to DADES, there is a lot more drug use, jargon, and an overall greater use of technology especially in terms of body modification. So I'm sure that has something to do with it.For the first twenty or so pages of the novel, Case uses drugs to... get things done? There is direct mention to cocaine and amphetamines. But then I wonder about Molly. Is it a coincidence that Molly's name is also a nickname for MDMA, which is also an amphetamine?Overall, I'm not that fond of this novel. But it's intriguing enough that I want to finish it.
I had a lot of trouble reading this book so far. I found many parts very confusing about what sense of reality, or lack of reality, they were taking place in and found myself rereading many parts over and over again to the point where I just decided to reread most of the first half almost completely. The only sense of semblance I was able to make of the novel was the connection I found with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Like the characters in Dick’s novel, I thought the characters in Neuromancer were largely dehumanized and more materialistically and technologically connected than anything else. Perhaps the disconnect that we feel as readers to the novel is meant to simulate the disconnect some of the characters feel to the reality that we, as the readers, consider reality and their distant connection to their individual realities. While I don’t love this novel, I do take comfort in the fact that other people had a hard time with this too.
Along with some people posting in here, I also found "Neuromancer" to be a rather difficult read. Unlike "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", I found it difficult to follow the plot, with many characters and detailed descriptions. What I found synonymous to Dick's novel was the usage or undertone of usage of drugs. Just as Rick and Iran used the Penfield to control their emotions, Case is a user as well. What caught my attention was the detail Gibson puts into the descriptions of people and attributes. This made it a little easier to picture what was going on, what what people looked and acted like. Another aspect I found interesting in this book were the nicknames or lingo used for certain objects. This confused me a bit, not sure what was being referred to. It seems to be very futuristic, not something written to be portrayed as the near future. Overall, it seems like an interesting, yet complex read, but I am engaging it with an open mind.
I find that I actually enjoy Neuromancer thus far. The language is very reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange, although perhaps different in a few ways considering levels of difficulty in understanding it, as I'm generally able to understand the new words in Neuromancer through context pretty quickly. The setting seems very surreal, however I can appreciate how present Japanese culture is in the novel, such as references to Pachinko.The whole time while reading this novel thus far, I couldn't help but think of the song 3030 by Del the Funky Homosapien. His album Deltron 3030 is described as "a rap opera concept album set in a dystopian year 3030." In the first verse of the song 3030 he states:"Neuromancer, perfect blend of technology and magicUse my rappin so you all could see the hazards"and in the last verse:"While I flow to Neo-Tokyo with OpioOr discuss combusitible rust clusters with PlusEvade cyber police in a computer crib confuse the kidsBut I can make a kickin' rhyme that's sacredTelepathic mind that takes his greatness from the Matrix"My interpretation of these lyrics is that he is putting the word Neuromancer out there in the first place as a Sci-Fi related term, as this album takes place in the future. Then, the line "Telepathic mind that takes his greatness from the Matrix" could also be related to Neuromancer (although very arguably about "The Matric") as Case himself could be considered a "telepathic mind that takes his greatness (stealing data) from the Matrix. These are just my interpretations and connections to this song, but I think it's pretty cool. I find that there are many Sci-Fi references in this song when looking through the lyrics, and I would not be surprised at all if Del is familiar with Gibson's Novel.here's a link to the song:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7_jbluF0qo
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