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Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)
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Monthly Read: Random > November Random Read--Neuromancer

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Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments Neuromancer by William Gibson is our random read for November. I've been wanting to read this one for some time now.

So let us discuss.


message 2: by Maggie, space cruisin' for a bruisin' (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maggie K | 1282 comments Mod
I started this last night.
I have to say the imagery is very good-I can picture the whole town and the various places written so far.


Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments I'm starting this tonight.


message 4: by Kristen (new) - added it

Kristen I'm going to try to start it tonight, too. Looking forward to the discussion.


Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 490 comments I love the first line to this book.


Aloha | 538 comments I finished it. I'll wait until everybody else is done before I discuss about it. If you enjoy movies like The Matrix or Blade Runner, you'll enjoy this. It brings up that type of imagery.


Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments Ooh, that really makes me want to read this even more, Aloha! Did you like it?


Oscar | 35 comments Neuromancer reminds me of Snow Crash in a good way. :)


Weenie | 28 comments Finished this - can't say I enjoyed it to be honest. Maybe just not what I was expecting. Yes, similarities to The Matrix and Blade Runner, films I love but hmm..not a lot of love for this book from me, I'm afraid.


message 10: by Maggie, space cruisin' for a bruisin' (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maggie K | 1282 comments Mod
This is quite dark! (I love that-but I am kinda sick) I have a feeling this will be a new fave for me


message 11: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Bloomer | 8 comments I think all the above comments are pretty spot on. I admired the book for its construction and the way the various plot threads came together, but the constant dystopian world view, was terribly depressing. Surely our science and tech. can bring us more than greed and misery.


Oscar | 35 comments One of the things that stands out for me early on in the novel is that along the mycotoxin that chase gets in order to damage his CNS, his pancreas is replaced, thus making him unable to get high. One, possibly, might before that such a 'cure' to addiction would be welcome, but that really doesn't seem to go well with Chase.

I like how both of these 'procedures' set up the tone early in the novel that we are now in a world where technology/body modification is using to improve/weaken people's lifestyle.


message 13: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Meyers (markmeyers) | 41 comments It's amazing how much imagery Gibson can pack into one sentence. Chase is in a harsh world and sure hope I don't live to see it.


message 14: by mark, personal space invader (last edited Nov 05, 2011 03:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
i wonder how folks felt about the tone. it was cynical, obviously, and the Powers That Be (including the title 'character') are fairly intimidating, threatening.

but as i read this, when it first came out that is, i remember feeling a lot of excitement - as if the book itself (and certainly the author) was genuinely excited at the the things our future may bring. dark but also excitedly looking forward as well, in a way that felt very different from Blade Runner. if that even makes sense.

it has been many years though since that first read.


message 15: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Meyers (markmeyers) | 41 comments I have Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? on the shelf right next to Neuromancer. I'm thinking I'm going to read that next to compare the two books.


message 16: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
that would be an interesting comparison.

although i should be clear that i meant the movie, not the wonderful book. i think the movie Blade Runner has a dystopic vision that reminds me of Neuromancer, from its visuals to its melancholy. the book Do Androids is, to me at least, very different from the movie in its meaning and style.


Brainycat | 11 comments I read this book the year it ended up winning the Hugo and Nebula when I saw it on the shelf and recognized the author from some great short stories in the magazine Omni. Bladerunner had just come out, and I was one of the bazillions of youth entranced with the idea of hyperaccelerated technological advances changing the nature of human's relationships to the world, each other and ourselves.

I was entranced from the first sentence to the last; I finished it in hours. I made all my nerdy friends read it. It struck a deep cord with me; back in the heady days of the AppleII, TRS-80 and Commadore64, I was a wildly disaffected lad and the only kid I knew in "real life" who knew how to program and network. I envisioned a world where computing power was ubiquitous and consciousness could be handled like software. This book was like a beacon in the bleak and shallow suburbia I instinctually loathed and was desperately searching for a way out of. As I grew a little older, I found my cultural home in the industrial/goth scene, still the most technophiliac of all the "DIY countercultures".

I've read the whole trilogy at least a dozen times. I've been naming servers on all my networks after characters from this book ever since I put my first server online. The tone and texture have influenced my aesthetic sense in a dialectic that's lasted for 27 years and shows no signs of letting up. Molly and Case are like best friends I've never met, Wintermute and Neuromancer two poles between which I can reference the powers that shape my life.

Cyberpunk is more than a genre of sci-fi in my experience. It's been a core part of my identify for nearly 75% of my life. I won't try and write some sort of post-modern navel gazing love letter here; that's been done a million times for this book already. Suffice to say, I gave this book (and the rest of the series) 5 stars :)


message 18: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
oh my gosh - Brainycat, yahoo! it's been too long!

i have had mixed feelings about Neuromancer - loved it the first i read it, had more mixed feelings the second time around. still, it is a real touchstone for me. me and one of my oldest friends have had a very, very long-running conversation about who should direct the film and, especially, who we'd cast in various roles.

love your post. it has everything i want in a book review, especially personal context.


message 19: by Maggie, space cruisin' for a bruisin' (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maggie K | 1282 comments Mod
I am about halfway through and feel like everytime I read it's just an adrenaline rush...great feeling to get out of such a dark book!


message 20: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Meyers (markmeyers) | 41 comments I'm on chapter 5 and it is indeed a rush in every chapter. Even though I have a technical background, it really is challenging me with every sentence!


message 21: by Alex (new)

Alex Miller | 6 comments i am enjoying this book, after adjusting to the fact that new elements of the world are added, and then explained about 5 pages later.

for example, when we first meet Rivieria, he explodes and out of him crawls a disgusting no-necked monster with a cone shaped mouth. then everything is back to normal right away...

i'm like WHAT? i do not get this book at all, what's going on, until we learn that Riviera can manipulate our minds OR produce holographic projections, that part is actually still somewhat unclear.


message 22: by Alex (new)

Alex Miller | 6 comments Brainycat wrote: "I read this book the year it ended up winning the Hugo and Nebula when I saw it on the shelf and recognized the author from some great short stories in the magazine Omni. Bladerunner had just come ..."

I love the names of the characters in this book. You can tell a lot of thought was put into them and they set the tone for the entire novel. Case, it's really anesthetic, like he's a patient, he's this "case" that we have to deal with. The women are generic, Linda and Molly, maybe symptomatic of the culture of the world where there's no love and everyone is a whore for someone. It's a bit bizarre though because they're both pretty unique, Linda the sad burnout and Molly has freakin' implanted sunglasses and auto-nails! Later, Case names himself Lupus (wolf). Wintermute, because data is called "ice" and I just get this image of nuclear winter. Anyway...musings.

Extremely well-written and thought out, can't wait to finish it!


message 23: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
i'm like WHAT?

i had that same reaction to Riviera.


George (wegason) | 33 comments In all honesty I was a bit disappointed by the book and part of the reason is I think because I was born just after it was published so I don't know the 80s. I appreciate that it is a groundbreaking book and the authors creativity but it was still a struggle to 'get into' it in the first half. The book certainly improved as it went on but it wasn't as amazing to me as others have found it.


Brainycat | 11 comments That's a good point, Jack. I know that as I read all the cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk I can get my hands on, I bring into it a thorough knowledge of the history of the genre, and it usually adds to my enjoyment (except when it's derivative and unoriginal, of course).

OffTopic: Does anyone read noir, and what would you consider to be the classic canon?


Sheron McCartha (sherimc) I waited and only got into Gibson over the last two years...and then I plunged in. He is amazing and his future worlds are intriguing. Considering that he wrote the first book ages ago, he certainly saw a more accurate future than most. I just finished Zero History and liked it. I am looking forward to what he writes next.


message 27: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
Brainycat wrote: "That's a good point, Jack. I know that as I read all the cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk I can get my hands on, I bring into it a thorough knowledge of the history of the genre, and it usually adds to..."

Dr. Adder and other works by K.W. Jeter? i've just come across him, a friend loaned me what seems like his complete works. from what i've read on-line, Dr. Adder seems like seminal cyberpunk.

re. noir... i don't read much of it, but Jim Thompson is pretty awesome.


Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments I second mark on Jim Thompson.


Megan Baxter | 277 comments Mod
Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain are both classic noir.


message 30: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Meyers (markmeyers) | 41 comments While reading this book, I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingertips, just on the edge of really understanding what's going on. It's challenging reading for sure, but what a thrill ride. I'm amazed this book came out in 1984.


message 31: by Jamie (new) - added it

Jamie Flores | 1 comments I was excited to be reading a sci-fi with all those awards but I put this one down after about a 1/4 of the way through. I found myself constantly re-reading pages and paragraphs.

I think it's too dreamy and stream of conscious for me. That always turns me off. Maybe a reminder of me trying to muscle through "To the Lighthouse."


message 32: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 53 comments Megan wrote: "Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain are both classic noir."

And the third (or chronologically first) is Dashiell Hammett - The Maltese Falcon et al.


message 33: by Maggie, space cruisin' for a bruisin' (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maggie K | 1282 comments Mod
I am just finding it fascinating...like I really cant imagine what's going to happen next...so I find myself itching to get back to it!


Brainycat | 11 comments Thanks for the recommendations! Looks like Jim Thompson's books are all either $0.99 or $9.99 at amazon.

@Maggie: I've read the series often enough to know exactly what happens next, and I feel the same way each time I read it :)


Aloha | 538 comments Darn! How did I never get notification on this? I'm 27 posts behind. I'll have to go back to read this.


Aloha | 538 comments Hey, Brainy! Welcome back!


Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments Aloha wrote: "Darn! How did I never get notification on this? I'm 27 posts behind. I'll have to go back to read this."

This happens to me all the time, too!


Brainycat | 11 comments Hey Aloha!! :)


Aloha | 538 comments Miss, you, Brainy. I hope all's been well with you, and that work has stopped kicking your butt.


Aloha | 538 comments I'm still in the middle of catching up to the posts. I noticed that what people did with the Neuromancer book shows by the name. How do you do that? For example, by my name it shows that I rated it 5 stars.


Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments Aloha, I think it does it automatically because I put the book as our discussion when I created the thread. Goodreads has a bunch of nifty new things like this recently, I've noticed.


Aloha | 538 comments Thanks, Jason. That is why I love Goodreads, with the exception of that girl in the rocking chair that shows up when I tried to post a reply to this, making my reply disappear into the cyberzone.


Jason (darkfiction) | 422 comments I hate that little girl, too! LOL


Oscar | 35 comments I find it fascinating how writers like Gibson, among others who have written cyberpunk stories, have drawn upon noir and mystery fiction.

One of the things about science fiction is that much of it looks towards the future, which seems to contradict noir like fascination and romanticism with the past. However, as I have argued, more modern noir writers like Walter Mosley and James Ellroy, while setting their work in the past, are often dealing with modern concerns. Gibson is obviously doing that and able to draw from noir aesthetics largely to differentiate himself from more, should I say space oriented scifi stories, towards gritty urban stories that focus on modern technology, but also show how modern cities still create some of the same concerns that existed when someone like Chandler was writing.


message 45: by Maggie, space cruisin' for a bruisin' (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maggie K | 1282 comments Mod
I noticed that star feature the other day too...how cool is that???


Oscar | 35 comments Hahaha! I just noticed the star feature right now. ;)


message 47: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Werner | 10 comments Back when this came out, Asimov's Science-Fiction magazine carried it in serialized form, the first novel they had so treated.
They considered it that important.
I've re-read this, and the entire "Sprawl" trilogy a number of times since then; these rank among my favorites.
I'm also quite fond of The Bridge stories, Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow's Parties.

However, I have not been able to get into a couple of his latest, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History.
For one thing, I think he stole plot elements from his earlier work...


message 48: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Meyers (markmeyers) | 41 comments I'm near the end of the book. I'm so confused....


message 49: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Meyers (markmeyers) | 41 comments Would someone please explain to me whose side Riviera was on?


Aloha | 538 comments (view spoiler) I need to reread this book again to get all the nuances.

Mark wrote: "Would someone please explain to me whose side Riviera was on?"


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