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Review: Neuromancer

April 7, 2009

Neuromancer is the most influential science fiction novel of our time. Cyberspace and virtual reality were invented in this book. It changed forever the way we look at tomorrow. The Matrix unfolds like neon origami beneath clusters and constellations of data. Constructs, AIs, live here. Somewhere, concealed by ice, Neuromancer is evolving. As entropy goes into reverse, Molly’s surgical implants broadcast trouble from the ferro-concrete geodesic of the Sprawl. Maelcum, Rastafarian in space, is her best hope of rescue. But she and Case, computer cowboy, are busy stealing data from the almighty Megacorps. If the Megacorps don’t get them both, perhaps Case will fall prey to the cheap treachery of Linda Lee, someone as lost as himself.

I didn’t write that. That’s actually a good example of the convoluted, ridiculous style of the book. I was looking forward to reading this book. It’s herald as an all time classic, and I can see why. However, it sadly failed to live up to my expectations.

The plot was weak at best, although that criticism can be meaningless a lot of times. However, usually when a book doesn’t have the best plot, the characters and the writing make up for it. That wasn’t the case here. Instead, I read a novel with poor characterisation with flimsy motives, inane dialogue and what-the-hell-is-going-on moments aplenty.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there was parts that I enjoyed. The whole cyberspace thing was cheesy but quite visually arresting. Although, the problem with the technological in the book, looking at it with 21st century eyes, is that it just looks naff.

To be honest, it comes across as Gibson throwing all tech-sounding words and ‘cool’ ideas into a melting pot and slapping it on…thickly. I wonder what he’s style is like now that the internet has been around for a while.

Final thoughts: A failed attempt that, with a better writer, could have been decent read. It’s  let down by one dimensional characters, a failure to interest…um me and characters who seemed to be ciphers designed to be ‘edgy’ and ‘cool’ but really just dull. Also there is a Rastafarian. And Gibson writes his dialogue like this mon!


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