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Neuromancer by William Gibson
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Nov 22, 11

bookshelves: all-time-favorites, own, science-fiction, time-all-time-100, 100-howell-favorites
Recommended for: cyberpunk historians, post-hip nerds
Read in January, 1996, read count: 4

The book that launched Gibson into the scifi pantheon -- and not without good reason.

This seminal work of speculative fiction captures the futureshock of its era (c. 1984) in such boldly present and startlingly prescient ways that it's almost hard to imagine literature of the late-80s and onward without this book.

Though Gibson's later work is more mature and more well-rounded, Neuromancer captures the thirst of the scifi authors of its time -- yearning to break-free of the space operas and get all PKD on the rest of our futures. It's a sordid, unique dystopia [1] that Gibson penned for us here: two parts pulp, one part hallucinogenic head-trip, a dash of political poison.

I wish I was old enough to appreciate it (well, read it at all) when it came out but I don't regret my temporal misplacement. Reading it now, you get a quaint Cold War nostalgia and still shudder in fear at how we were a stronger wall in Berlin away from this kind of story as a reality.

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[1] Though Gibson has been quoted as saying that his work is only dystopian "if you’re some middle-class person from the Midwest." (interview in Paris Review No. 197, link)

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SIDE NOTE: Has anyone else stopped to consider how the opening line is changed by the advent of digital television broadcasting?
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Dimitris Hall Clever side note!


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