8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that changed the world...
For those of you out there under the age of 30, it may be hard to fathom the impact of Neuromancer and the stories that preceded it (collected in "Burning Chrome"). I really am NOT exaggerating when I tell you they changed the world.
When "Neuromancer" was published, SF was a genre whose time had passed. While some good writers & old masters were laboring in the...
Published on June 12 2003 by L. Alper
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to Explain
Normally I would attempt to explain to plot behind "Neuromancer," but in this case I'm going to skip it. I'm going to make a statement that will make all of you judge me: "I do not understand anything that happens in this book."
Now, I'm no sesquipedalian by any means, but I've been able to decipher some pretty convoluted plots, and understand wording in a variety...
Published on Jan. 16 2004 by MicahA
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2.0 out of 5 stars Historically important, moderately interesting, very difficult to read,
This review is from: Neuromancer (Paperback)
I should preface this review by stating that Gibson's Neuromancer was the first-ever winner of science fiction's so-called triple crown: all three of the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K Dick awards. A bit of research suggests that Neuromancer is in fact the only novel to do so, but if you replace the PKD award with a 1st Place Campbell award, only three other novels meet the challenge: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke, Gateway by Frederik Pohl, and Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman.
With all this said, I can state plainly that Neuromancer was not an enjoyable read, and that I disagree with its triple crown status. Let me explain.
The novel tracks the adventures of Case, a computer hacker who's been out of work since he got caught on a botched job. In Gibson's world (keeping in mind this was written in 1984, pre-Internet), the Net is vastly different from our own Internet. Power users such as Case literally jack their minds into the net, experiencing a Tron-like reality complete with glowing cubes for data structures and creeping "Ice"-like structures for computer viruses. After Case's botched job, he was captured by his targets and had his Net-link capabilities destroyed. The main part of the novel begins when Case is recruited by an ex-military officer named Armitage, who promises to restore Case's abilities in exchange for one last job. In the course of the job, Case discovers that Armitage and the job are not what they first appear to be—what initially started as the theft of some computer code turns into an attempt to create a fully-functional AI, led at every step of the way by two lesser instantiations of the AI itself, Wintermute and Neuromancer.
At this point, I've re-read some plot summaries of Neuromancer, and it actually seems like an interesting storyline. The problem? Gibson's writing style makes it nearly impossible to follow the action. Characters appear with no introduction as if they had already been part of the story for several chapters. The setting jumps around from Boston to Japan to Russia to Istanbul to a space station at the L5 Lagrangian point without much notice. The depictions of the Net, while ambitious and probably very vivid for some readers, don't make it easy to visualize what Case is actually doing while he's hacking.
To be honest, the best part of Neuromancer was the end, or rather the epilogue—and I'm not just being facetious here. Without spoiling the motives or the details, the plot to fuse Wintermute and Neuromancer into a superAI is successful, and the new superAI detects in astronomical data from the 1970s the transmissions of another superAI in the Alpha Centauri system. Write *that* novel, Gibson! That sounds far more interesting! Imagine—we make First Contact with an alien civilization, but most of the shots are being called by superAI's on either end. While we deal with the issues of alien contact, we also have to face a growing loss of autonomy to our own superAI, and hope at the same time it decides not to declare war on its alien counterpart.
At the end of the day, Neuromancer was a very difficult and mostly unenjoyable read, but was saved to some degree by a moderately interesting story. Overall, 2 stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening Ground-breaker,
William Gibson is an amazing old-school sci-fi writer - a definite pro in the field. Read this book and realise that it has been 'borrowed' from and 'ripped off' many times by countless video games and movies (namely Ghost in the Shell). Overall, an incredibly great, smooth read with hacking, neo-futurism, violence and existentialism!
4.0 out of 5 stars Vacillates between confusion and lucid clarity,
I gained an interest in the 'cyberpunk' genre by first reading Shadowrun novels as a kid (and even some as an adult). So I found it interesting to take a look at the book that begun to define the parameters of the cyberpunk genre. And in fact it influenced the meanings and definitions of 'cyberization' before these things even started becoming mainstream and Gibson's terms have already proliferated and become a part of modern culture. You can look at a lot of old scifi and laugh at how silly it is, but this book seems nearly as relevant today as it was when it was written (in the 80's). So lets dive into the book itself.
The book starts out very slick. 'The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel'.
In my opinion, the best poetry possesses the ability to express feelings, visuals and nuances which cannot simply be described by plain exposition, recreating in the readers mind the picture and thus the thousand words that describe that picture. For this, Gibson does a good job, his style is very visual like that. The inner narrative is important but the visuals themselves are described in a way that no amount of pictures can do justice, there are just too many nuances to notice, and Gibsons nuances of description form a very important part of the reader's ability to build the world around Case (the protagonist).
The first act of the book is the best in my opinion. The world building is simply outstanding, the text and prose is clear. It feels as you (through the eyes of the protagonist, Case) are on the streets of a night and future society, being hunted. The clarity is occasionally broken by moments of franticness and bursts of activity which shatter the clarity, but these are very stylistic and I believe put you into the mindset of Case himself. And honestly, after reading the first act this was easily shaping up to being one of the best books i've ever read.
The second act is where things start to lull. The purpose of the second act it seems is to expound on things, to take that international adventure as a type of 'secret agent', but it lacks the visual power and worldbuilding of the first act. However it still advances the story in a critical way.
The final act is long and at times confusing. I believe Gibson explains the story well enough, however I've occasionally felt a sense of disorientation that I don't think was meant to be there. The ending is not as satisfying or clear as I wouldve hoped.
However, all throughout, Gibson does a great job of writing very visually. If you are a fan of cyberpunk or want to see what the genre is about, then definitely read this book -- it's very unique and definitely a piece of history, maybe even enough to be considered 'literature'.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read,
Great book, very dense with information but very entertaining. Amazing Cyber Punk world portrayed in this book, with many twists and turns.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Seminal Novel for Cyber Punk, Poor Writing at Times,
Overall I enjoyed the book. The problem with the book is that the writing is at times very confusing. It is William Gibson's first novel and it shows. The author is over indulgent with his use of description at times. Definitely an interesting read, especially knowing it was one of the first published in the genre and that the book really inspired some of the great SciFi writers of the next twenty years.
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that invented Cyberpunk,
This review is from: Neuromancer (Kindle Edition)
A fantastic read from cover to cover. Pretty much every trope of cyberpunk started here, and it's clear to see why. Gibson masterfully creates a universe chocked full of interesting places, characters and situations. Even thou this book is more than 30 years old it still manages to feel relevant and futuristic. Its one hell of a ride and when it comes to it's inevitable end you'll be wishing for more. Thank god William Gibson obliged and wrote a whole series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Most memorable opening line,
"The sky above the port was the color of a television tuned to a dead station." I have a simple rule about shopping for books in a store: if the opening line grabs me and I want to find out more, I buy it.
I have re-read this classic and the two sequels (Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive) countless times and I enjoy them every time. It should be noted that his book was published before the movie, The Matrix, was released.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vast, jacked-in fantasy,
It is my understanding that Gibson coined the term "cyberspace"-and very beautifully. When I dream of cyberspace realities, I can not help but invoke fragments of William Gibson's vast, jacked-in hallucination-what you might call "virtual reality".
There was one more component to William Gibson's cyberspace-that of the spiritual-and these segments are quite beautiful.
I'm giving this book 4 "Amazon" stars because I think Gibson's "Count Zero" is even better--especially the references surrounding the artist Joseph Cornell. One can't nitpick a classic such as this--too much--although some aspects of the adolescent "cyberpunk" content are difficult to reconcile in maturity--regardless, I can acknowledge the need for these significant concepts to be made available via an accessible pubescent perspective.
This book left me craving more Gibson "cyberpunk"--and there's not much to be found. I've read Gibon's short stories--not bad. I couldn't get into "The Difference Engine" or "All Tomorrow's Parties"... I'm not feeling "Pattern Recognition" in the store either, but his blog has piqued my curiousity. I want Gibson to bring the world to its knees, in tears. Pretty please?
To discuss the book--if it's allowed by Amazon, hit me up on AIM/Yahoo "yesiliveinaustin"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SF Noir...Poetic DreamScapes of a Dystopic Future...,
I have read this masterpiece (together with the other two of the Sprawl series: COUNT ZERO and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE) during my university years, about a decade ago. Since then I have re-read it countless times. Even reading only some pages brings up powerful imagery, dark poetic language, unforgettable prose...
The strength of William Gibson, demonstrated here in full colors, is his ability to create the atmosphere and placing the reader in the middle of things. After reading these books of his, one has the feeling of actually having lived in the Sprawl in a past life!
Start with this one. Then COUNT ZERO. And finally MONA LISA OVERDRIVE.
A Masterpiece Trilogy!!! Own them all!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply awesome,
I remember reading this for the first time in '86 or '87, and it changed my worldview. Now I just re-read it for the first time in years and was once again blown away. This is simply magnificent sci-fi and magnificent writing. There are occasional dated references, but on the whole it still stands. The sad thing is that we're not even close to realizing the world he describes. In fact it felt closer in the mid-80's than it does now. Anyway, this is a great book, truly a great book, and a must read for any sci-fi enthusiast.
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Neuromancer by William Gibson (Paperback - Jan. 11 2002)
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