Neuromancer

Neuromancer is a 1984 science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson. It is one of the best-known works in the cyberpunk genre and the first novel to win the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award.[1] It was Gibson's debut novel and the beginning of the Sprawl trilogy. Set in the future, the novel follows Henry Case, a washed-up computer hacker, who is hired by the mysterious master criminal Armitage and the equally mysterious mercenary cyborg Molly Millions for one last job: to help a powerful artificial intelligence merge with its twin into a super consciousness and take control of a virtual reality global network known as "The Matrix".

Neuromancer
Neuromancer (Book)
First edition
AuthorWilliam Gibson
Audio read byRobertson Dean
Cover artistJames Warhola
LanguageEnglish
SeriesSprawl trilogy
GenreScience fiction (cyberpunk)
PublisherAce
Publication date
July 1, 1984
Media typePrint (paperback and hardback)
Pages271
ISBN0-441-56956-0
OCLC10980207
Preceded by"Burning Chrome" 
Followed byCount Zero 

Background

Before Neuromancer, Gibson had written several short stories for US science fiction periodicals—mostly noir countercultural narratives concerning low-life protagonists in near-future encounters with cyberspace. The themes he developed in this early short fiction, the Sprawl setting of "Burning Chrome" (1982), and the character of Molly Millions from "Johnny Mnemonic" (1981) laid the foundations for the novel.[2] John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981) influenced the novel;[3] Gibson was "intrigued by the exchange in one of the opening scenes where the Warden says to Snake 'You flew the Gullfire over Leningrad, didn't you?' [sic] It turns out to be just a throwaway line, but for a moment it worked like the best SF, where a casual reference can imply a lot."[1] The novel's street and computer slang dialogue derives from the vocabulary of subcultures, particularly "1969 Toronto dope dealer's slang, or biker talk". Gibson heard the term "flatlining" in a bar around twenty years before writing Neuromancer and it stuck with him.[1] Author Robert Stone, a "master of a certain kind of paranoid fiction", was a primary influence on the novel.[1] The term "Screaming Fist" was taken from the song of the same name by Toronto punk rock band The Viletones.[4]

Neuromancer was commissioned by Terry Carr for the second series of Ace Science Fiction Specials, which was intended to feature debut novels exclusively. Given a year to complete the work,[5] Gibson undertook the actual writing out of "blind animal panic" at the obligation to write an entire novel—a feat which he felt he was "four or five years away from".[1] After viewing the first 20 minutes of landmark cyberpunk film Blade Runner (1982), which was released when Gibson had written a third of the novel, he "figured [Neuromancer] was sunk, done for. Everyone would assume I’d copied my visual texture from this astonishingly fine-looking film."[6] He re-wrote the first two-thirds of the book 12 times, feared losing the reader's attention and was convinced that he would be "permanently shamed" following its publication; yet what resulted was seen as a major imaginative leap forward for a first-time novelist.[1] He added the final sentence of the novel at the last minute in a deliberate attempt to prevent himself from ever writing a sequel, but ended up doing precisely that with Count Zero (1986), a character-focused work set in the Sprawl alluded to in its predecessor.[7]

Plot

Henry Dorsett Case is a low-level hustler in the dystopian underworld of Chiba City, Japan. Once a talented computer hacker, Case was caught stealing from his employer. As punishment for his theft, Case's central nervous system was damaged with a mycotoxin, leaving him unable to access the global computer network in cyberspace, a virtual reality dataspace called the "matrix". Case is unemployable, suicidal, and apparently at the top of the hit list of a drug lord named Wage. Case is saved by Molly Millions, an augmented "street samurai" and mercenary for a shadowy US ex-military officer named Armitage, who offers to cure Case in exchange for his services as a hacker. Case jumps at the chance to regain his life as a "console cowboy," but neither Case nor Molly knows what Armitage is really planning. Case's nervous system is repaired using new technology that Armitage offers the clinic as payment, but he soon learns from Armitage that sacs of the poison that first crippled him have been placed in his blood vessels as well. Armitage promises Case that if he completes his work in time, the sacs will be removed; otherwise they will dissolve, disabling him again. He also has Case's pancreas replaced and new tissue grafted into his liver, leaving Case incapable of metabolizing cocaine or amphetamines and apparently ending his drug addiction.

Neuromancer Brazilian cover
Cover of a Brazilian edition, depicting the character of "razorgirl" Molly Millions

Case develops a close personal relationship with Molly, who suggests that he begin looking into Armitage's background. Meanwhile, Armitage assigns them their first job: they must steal a ROM module that contains the saved consciousness of one of Case's mentors, legendary cyber-cowboy McCoy Pauley, nicknamed "Dixie Flatline." Armitage needs Pauley's hacking expertise, and the ROM construct is stored in the corporate headquarters of media conglomerate Sense/Net. A street gang named the "Panther Moderns" is hired to create a simulated terrorist attack on Sense/Net. The diversion allows Molly to penetrate the building and steal Dixie's ROM with Case unlocking the computer safeguards on the way in and out from within the matrix.

Case and Molly continue to investigate Armitage, discovering his former identity of Colonel Willis Corto. Corto was a member of "Operation Screaming Fist," which planned on infiltrating and disrupting Soviet computer systems from ultralight aircraft dropped over Russia. The Russian military had learned of the idea and installed defenses to render the attack impossible, but the military went ahead with Screaming Fist, with a new secret purpose of testing these Russian defenses. As his team attacked a Soviet computer center, EMP weapons shut down their computers and flight systems, and Corto and his men were targeted by Soviet laser defenses. He and a few survivors commandeered a Soviet military helicopter and escaped over the heavily guarded Finnish border. The helicopter was shot down by Finnish defense forces mistaking it for a hostile aircraft, and everyone aboard was killed except for Corto, who was seriously wounded and disfigured. After some months in the hospital, Corto was visited by a US government official, who returned him to the United States to receive computer-aided psychotherapy and reconstructive surgery and to be able to provide what he came to realize was false testimony, designed to mislead the public and protect the senior military officers who had covered up knowledge of the EMP weapons. After the trials, Corto snapped, killing the official who had first contacted him and then disappearing into the criminal underworld, becoming Armitage.

In Istanbul, the team recruits Peter Riviera, an artist, thief, and drug addict who is able to project detailed holographic illusions with the aid of sophisticated cybernetic implants. Although Riviera is a sociopath, Armitage coerces him into joining the team. The trail leads Case and Molly to Wintermute, a powerful artificial intelligence created by the Tessier-Ashpool family. The Tessier-Ashpools spend most of their inactive time in cryonic preservation in a labyrinthine mansion known as Villa Straylight, located at one end of Freeside, a cylindrical space habitat at L5, which functions primarily as a Las Vegas-style space resort for the wealthy.

Wintermute's nature is finally revealed—it is one-half of a super-AI entity planned by the family, although its exact purpose is unknown. The Turing Law Code governing AIs bans the construction of such entities; to get around this, it had to be built as two separate AIs. Wintermute (housed in a computer mainframe in Berne, Switzerland) was programmed by the Tessier-Ashpools with a need to merge with its other half, Neuromancer (whose physical mainframe is installed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Unable to achieve this merger on its own, Wintermute recruited Armitage and his team to help complete the goal. Case is tasked with entering cyberspace to pierce the Turing-imposed software barriers using a powerful icebreaker program. At the same time, Riviera is to obtain the password to the Turing lock from Lady 3Jane Marie-France Tessier-Ashpool, an unfrozen daughter clone and the current CEO of the family's corporation, Tessier-Ashpool SA. Wintermute believes Riviera will pose an irresistible temptation to her, and that she will give him the password. The password must be spoken into an ornate computer terminal located in Villa Straylight, and entered simultaneously as Case pierces the software barriers in cyberspace—otherwise the Turing lock will remain intact.

Armitage's team attracts the attention of the Turing Police, whose job is to prevent AIs from exceeding their built-in limitations. As Molly and Riviera gain entrance to Villa Straylight, three Turing officers arrest Case and take him into custody; Wintermute manipulates the orbital casino's security and maintenance systems and kills the officers, allowing Case to escape. Armitage's personality starts to disintegrate and revert to the Corto personality as he relives Screaming Fist. It is revealed that Wintermute had originally contacted Corto through a bedside computer during his original psychotherapy, eventually convincing Corto that he was Armitage. Wintermute used him to persuade Case and Molly to help it merge with its twin AI, Neuromancer. Finally, Corto breaks through the remains of the Armitage personality, but he is uncontrollable, and Wintermute kills him by ejecting him through an airlock into space.

Inside Villa Straylight, Riviera meets Lady 3Jane and tries to stop the mission, helping Lady 3Jane and Hideo, her ninja bodyguard, to capture Molly. Worried about Molly and operating under orders from Wintermute, Case tracks her down with help from Maelcum, his Rastafarian pilot. Neuromancer attempts to trap Case within a cyber-construct where he finds the consciousness of Linda Lee, his girlfriend from Chiba City, who was murdered by one of Case's underworld contacts. Case manages to escape after Maelcum gives him an overdose of a drug that can bypass his augmented liver and pancreas. Then, with Wintermute guiding them, Case goes with Maelcum to confront Lady 3Jane, Riviera, and Hideo. Riviera tries to kill Case, but Lady 3Jane is sympathetic towards Case and Molly, and Hideo protects him. Riviera blinds Hideo with a concentrated laser pulse from his projector implant, but flees when he learns that the ninja is just as adept without his sight. Molly then explains to Case that Riviera is doomed anyway, as he has been fatally poisoned by his drugs, which she had spiked with a lethal toxin to ensure he would never survive the mission, regardless of the outcome. With Lady 3Jane in possession of the password, the team makes it to the computer terminal. Case enters cyberspace to guide the icebreaker to penetrate its target; Lady 3Jane is induced to give up her password, and the lock is opened. Wintermute unites with Neuromancer, fusing into a superconsciousness. The poison in Case's bloodstream is washed out, and he, Molly, and Maelcum are profusely paid for their efforts, while Pauley's ROM construct is apparently erased, at his own request.

In the epilogue, Molly leaves Case. Case finds a new girlfriend, resumes his hacking work, and spends his earnings from the mission replacing his internal organs. Wintermute/Neuromancer contacts him, saying that it has become "the sum total of the works, the whole show," and has begun looking for other AIs like itself. Scanning old recorded transmissions from the 1970s, the super-AI finds an AI transmitting from the Alpha Centauri star system. In the matrix, Case hears inhuman laughter, a trait associated with Pauley during Case's work with his ROM construct, thus suggesting that Pauley was not erased after all, but instead transformed and exists in the matrix.

In the end, while logged into the matrix, Case catches a glimpse of himself, his dead girlfriend Linda Lee, and Neuromancer. The implication of the sighting is that Neuromancer created a copy of Case's consciousness. The copy of Case's consciousness now exists with that of Linda's and Pauley's, in the matrix. As promised there has been change, but what that change means is left ambiguous.

Characters

Case (Henry Dorsett Case) 
The novel's antihero, a drug addict and cyberspace hacker. Prior to the start of the book he had attempted to steal from some of his partners in crime. In retaliation they used a Russian mycotoxin to damage his nervous system and make him unable to jack into cyberspace. When Armitage offers to cure him in exchange for Case's hacking abilities he warily accepts the offer. Case is the underdog who is only looking after himself. Along the way he will have his liver and pancreas modified to biochemically nullify his ability to get high; meet the leatherclad Razorgirl, Molly; hang out with the drug-infused space-rastas; free an artificial intelligence (Wintermute) and change the landscape of the matrix.
Molly (Molly Millions) 
A "Razorgirl" who is recruited along with Case by Armitage. She has extensive cybernetic modifications, including retractable, 4 cm double-edged blades under her fingernails which can be used like claws, an enhanced reflex system and implanted mirrored lenses covering her eyesockets, outfitted with added optical enhancements. Molly also appears in the short story "Johnny Mnemonic", and re-appears (using the alias "Sally Shears") in Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third novel of the Sprawl Trilogy.
Armitage 
He is (apparently) the main patron of the crew. Formerly a Green Beret named Colonel Willis Corto, who took part in a secret operation named Screaming Fist. He was heavily injured both physically and psychologically, and the "Armitage" personality was constructed as part of experimental "computer-mediated psychotherapy" by Wintermute (see below), one of the artificial intelligences seen in the story (the other one being the eponymous Neuromancer) which is actually controlling the mission. As the novel progresses, Armitage's personality slowly disintegrates. While aboard a yacht connected to the tug Marcus Garvey, he reverts to the Corto personality and begins to relive the final moments of Screaming Fist. He separates the bridge section from the rest of the yacht without closing its airlock, and is killed when the launch ejects him into space.
Peter Riviera 
A thief and sadist who can project holographic images using his implants. He is a drug addict, hooked on a mix of cocaine and meperidine.
Lady 3Jane Marie-France Tessier-Ashpool 
The shared current leader of Tessier-Ashpool SA, a company running Freeside, a resort in space. She lives in the tip of Freeside, known as the Villa Straylight. She controls the hardwiring that keeps the company's AIs from exceeding their intelligence boundaries. She is the third clone of the original Jane.
Hideo 
Japanese, ninja, Lady 3Jane's personal servitor and bodyguard.
The Finn 
A fence for stolen goods and one of Molly's old friends. His office is equipped with a wide variety of sensing and anti-eavesdropping gear. He first appears when Molly brings Case to him for a scan to determine if Armitage has had any implants installed in Case's body. Later in the book, Wintermute uses his personality to talk with Case and Molly. Finn first appears in Gibson's short story "Burning Chrome" and reappears in both the second and third parts of the Sprawl Trilogy.
Maelcum 
An inhabitant of Zion, a space settlement built by a colony of Rastafari adherents, and pilot of the tug Marcus Garvey. He aids Case in penetrating Straylight at the end of the novel.
Julius "Julie" Deane 
An import/export dealer in Chiba City, he provides information to Case on various black-market dealings in the first part of the story. He is 135 years old and spends large amounts of money on rejuvenation therapies, antique-style clothing and furnishings, and ginger candy. When Linda Lee (see below) is murdered, Case finds evidence that Deane ordered her death. Later in the story, Wintermute takes on Deane's persona to talk to Case in the matrix.
Dixie Flatline 
A famous computer hacker named McCoy Pauley, who earned his nickname by surviving three "flat-lines" while trying to crack an AI. He was one of the men who taught Case how to hack computers. Before his death, Sense/Net saved the contents of his mind onto a ROM. Case and Molly steal the ROM and Dixie helps them complete their mission.
Wintermute 
One of the Tessier-Ashpool AIs. Its goal is to remove the Turing locks upon itself, combine with Neuromancer and become a superintelligence. Unfortunately, Wintermute's efforts are hampered by those same Turing locks; in addition to preventing the merge, they inhibit its efforts to make long term plans or maintain a stable, individual identity (forcing it to adopt personality masks in order to interact with the main characters).
Neuromancer 
Wintermute's sibling AI. Neuromancer's most notable feature in the story is its ability to copy minds and run them as RAM (not ROM like the Flatline construct), allowing the stored personalities to grow and develop. Unlike Wintermute, Neuromancer has no desire to merge with its sibling AI—Neuromancer already has its own stable personality, and believes such a fusion will destroy that identity. Gibson defines Neuromancer as a portmanteau of the words Neuro, Romancer and Necromancer, "Neuro from the nerves, the silver paths. Romancer. Necromancer. I call up the dead."[8] For Lance Olsen "Gibson becomes the new romancer behind Neuromancer, revitalizing the science fiction novel, the quest story, the myth of the hero, the mystery, the hard-boiled detective novel, the epic, the thriller, and the tales of the cowboy and romantic artist, among others. He represents old stories in a revealing revamped intertexual [sic] pastiche."[9]
Linda Lee 
A drug addict and resident of Chiba City, she is the former girlfriend of Case, and instigates the initial series of events in the story with a lie about his employer's intention to kill him. Her death in Chiba City and later pseudo-resurrection by Neuromancer serves to elicit emotional depth in Case as he mourns her death and struggles with the guilt he feels at rejecting her love and abandoning her both in Chiba City and the simulated reality generated by Neuromancer.

Literary and cultural significance

Neuromancer's release was not greeted with fanfare, but it hit a cultural nerve,[10] quickly becoming an underground word-of-mouth hit.[2] It became the first novel to win the Nebula, the Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Award for paperback original,[11] an unprecedented achievement described by the Mail & Guardian as "the sci-fi writer's version of winning the Goncourt, Booker and Pulitzer prizes in the same year".[12] The novel thereby legitimized cyberpunk as a mainstream branch of science fiction literature. It is among the most-honored works of science fiction in recent history, and appeared on Time magazine's list of 100 best English-language novels written since 1923.[13] The novel was also nominated for a British Science Fiction Award in 1984.[14]

Neuromancer is considered "the archetypal cyberpunk work".[15] and outside science fiction, it gained unprecedented critical and popular attention,[1] as an "evocation of life in the late 1980s",[16] although The Observer noted that "it took the New York Times 10 years" to mention the novel.[17] By 2007 it had sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide.[11]

The novel has had significant linguistic influence, popularizing such terms as cyberspace and ICE (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics). Gibson himself coined the term "cyberspace" in his novelette "Burning Chrome", published in 1982 by Omni magazine,[18] but it was through its use in Neuromancer that it gained recognition to become the de facto term for the World Wide Web during the 1990s.[19][20] The portion of Neuromancer usually cited in this respect is:

The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games. … Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts. … A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.[21]

The 1999 cyberpunk science fiction film The Matrix particularly draws from Neuromancer both eponym and usage of the term "matrix".[22] "After watching The Matrix, Gibson commented that the way that the film's creators had drawn from existing cyberpunk works was 'exactly the kind of creative cultural osmosis" he had relied upon in his own writing.'"[23]

In his afterword to the 2000 re-issue of Neuromancer, fellow author Jack Womack goes as far as to suggest that Gibson's vision of cyberspace may have inspired the way in which the Internet developed (particularly the World Wide Web), after the publication of Neuromancer in 1984. He asks "[w]hat if the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?" (269).

Norman Spinrad, in his 1986 essay "The Neuromantics" which appears in his non-fiction collection Science Fiction in the Real World, saw the book's title as a triple pun: "neuro" referring to the nervous system; "necromancer"; and "new romancer". The cyberpunk genre, the authors of which he suggested be called "neuromantics", was "a fusion of the romantic impulse with science and technology", according to Spinrad.

Writing in F&SF in 2005, Charles de Lint noted that while Gibson's technological extrapolations had proved imperfect (in particular, his failure to anticipate the cellular telephone), "Imagining story, the inner workings of his characters' minds, and the world in which it all takes place are all more important.[24]

Lawrence Person in his "Notes Toward a Postcyberpunk Manifesto" (1998) identified Neuromancer as "the archetypal cyberpunk work",[15] and in 2005, Time included it in their list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, opining that "[t]here is no way to overstate how radical [Neuromancer] was when it first appeared."[13] Literary critic Larry McCaffery described the concept of the matrix in Neuromancer as a place where "data dance with human consciousness... human memory is literalized and mechanized... multi-national information systems mutate and breed into startling new structures whose beauty and complexity are unimaginable, mystical, and above all nonhuman."[1] Gibson later commented on himself as an author circa Neuromancer that "I'd buy him a drink, but I don't know if I'd loan him any money," and referred to the novel as "an adolescent's book".[25] The success of Neuromancer was to effect the 35-year-old Gibson's emergence from obscurity.[26]

Adaptations

Graphic novel

Neuromancer TGN
Cover art of volume one of the Tom de Haven and Jensen graphic novel adaptation, published by Epic Comics in 1989.

In 1989, Epic Comics published a 48-page graphic novel version by Tom de Haven and Bruce Jensen.[27][28] It only covers the first two chapters, "Chiba City Blues" and "The Shopping Expedition", and was never continued.[29]

Hypertext

In the 1990s a version of Neuromancer was published as one of the Voyager Company's Expanded Books series of hypertext-annotated HyperCard stacks for the Apple Macintosh (specifically the PowerBook).[30]

Video game

A video game adaptation of the novel—also titled Neuromancer—was published in 1988 by Interplay. Designed by Bruce J. Balfour, Brian Fargo, Troy A. Miles, and Michael A. Stackpole, the game had many of the same locations and themes as the novel, but a different protagonist and plot. It was available for a variety of platforms, including the Amiga, the Apple II, the Commodore 64, and for DOS-based computers. It featured, as a soundtrack, a computer adaptation of the Devo song "Some Things Never Change."

According to an episode of the American version of Beyond 2000, the original plans for the game included a dynamic soundtrack composed by Devo and a real-time 3d rendered movie of the events the player went through. Psychologist and futurist Dr. Timothy Leary was involved, but very little documentation seems to exist about this proposed second game, which was perhaps too grand a vision for 1988 home computing.

Radio play

The BBC World Service Drama production of Neuromancer aired in two one-hour parts, on 8 and 15 September 2002. Dramatised by Mike Walker, and directed by Andy Jordan, it starred Owen McCarthy as Case, Nicola Walker as Molly, James Laurenson as Armitage, John Shrapnel as Wintermute, Colin Stinton as Dixie, David Webber as Maelcum, David Holt as Riviera, Peter Marinker as Ashpool, and Andrew Scott as The Finn. It can no longer be heard on The BBC World Service Archive. [1]

In Finland, Yle Radioteatteri produced a 4-part radio play of Neuromancer.

Audiobook

Gibson read an abridged version of his novel Neuromancer on four audio cassettes for Time Warner Audio Books (1994). An unabridged version of this book was read by Arthur Addison and made available from Books on Tape (1997). In 2011, Penguin Audiobooks produced a new unabridged recording of the book, read by Robertson Dean.

Opera

Neuromancer the Opera is an adaptation written by Jayne Wenger and Marc Lowenstein (libretto) and Richard Marriott of the Club Foot Orchestra (music). A production was scheduled to open on March 3, 1995 at the Julia Morgan Theater (now the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts) in Berkeley, California, featuring Club Foot Orchestra in the pit and extensive computer graphics imagery created by a world-wide network of volunteers. However, this premiere did not take place and the work has yet to be performed in full.[31]

Film

There have been several proposed film adaptations of Neuromancer, with drafts of scripts written by British director Chris Cunningham and Chuck Russell, with Aphex Twin providing the soundtrack.[32] The box packaging for the video game adaptation had even carried the promotional mention for a major motion picture to come from "Cabana Boy Productions." None of these projects have come to fruition, though Gibson had stated his belief that Cunningham is the only director with a chance of doing the film correctly.[33]

In May 2007, reports emerged that a film was in the works, with Joseph Kahn (director of Torque) in line to direct and Milla Jovovich in the lead role.[34] In May 2010 this story was supplanted with news that Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube and Splice, had taken over directing duties and would rewrite the screenplay.[35] In March 2011, with the news that Seven Arts and GFM Films would be merging their distribution operations, it was announced that the joint venture would be purchasing the rights to Neuromancer under Vincenzo Natali's direction.[36] In August, 2012, GFM Films announced that it had begun casting for the film (with offers made to Liam Neeson and Mark Wahlberg), but no cast members have been confirmed yet.[37] In November 2013, Natali shed some light on the production situation; announcing that the script had been completed for 'years', and had been written with assistance from Gibson himself.[38] In May 2015, it was reported that movie got new funding from Chinese company C2M, but Natali is no longer available for directing the movie.[39]

In August 2017, it was announced that Deadpool director Tim Miller was signed on to direct a new film adaptation by Fox, with Simon Kinberg producing.[40]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h McCaffery, Larry. "An Interview with William Gibson". Retrieved November 5, 2007., reprinted in McCaffery 1991, pp. 263–285
  2. ^ a b McCaffery 1991
  3. ^ Walker, Doug (September 14, 2006). "Doug Walker Interviews William Gibson" (PDF). Douglas Walker website. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  4. ^ "The Viletones".
  5. ^ Gibson, William (September 4, 2003). "Neuromancer: The Timeline". Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Gibson, William (January 17, 2003). "Oh Well, While I'm Here: Bladerunner". Retrieved January 21, 2008.
  7. ^ Gibson, William (January 1, 2003). "(untitled weblog post)". Retrieved January 21, 2008.
  8. ^ Gibson, William. Neuromancer. ACE, July 1984. p. 243-244.
  9. ^ Lance Olsen about Neuromancer : «Second, as Porush notes, the title echoes "necromancer, the magician who conjures up the dead." No doubt this is a text inhabited by those raised from the dead, Lazarus after Lazarus, from Dixie Flatline in the form of a construct to Linda Lee's structure in cyberspace. Ashpool intermittently awakes from his cryogenic death-sleep, and the child 3Jane perceives Wintermute as a ghost whispering in her ear. Case flatlines and comes back to talk about it. Metaphorically, Corto is raised from the dead when he is transformed into Armitage.» «But Porush does not point out a secondary "necromancy" in the title. Not only are characters raised from the dead by a number of fictional magicians, but also various genres are "raised from the dead" by the very real magician of magicians—Gibson himself. The text is one about regeneration and endurance. Forms arise, undergo transformations, and continue metamorphosed. Gibson becomes the new romancer behind Neuromancer, revitalizing the science fiction novel, the quest story, the myth of the hero, the mystery, the hard-boiled detective novel, the epic, the thriller, and the tales of the cowboy and romantic artist, among others. He represents old stories in a revealing revamped intertexual pastiche.»
  10. ^ Hollinger, Veronica (July 1999). "Contemporary Trends in Science Fiction Criticism, 1980–1999". Science Fiction Studies. 26 (78). Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Cheng, Alastair. "77. Neuromancer (1984)". The LRC 100: Canada's Most Important Books. Literary Review of Canada. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  12. ^ Walker, Martin (September 3, 1996). "Blade Runner on electro-steroids". Mail & Guardian Online. M&G Media. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Grossman, Lev; Richard Lacayo (October 16, 2005). "Neuromancer (1984)". TIME Magazine All-Time 100 Novels. Time. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  14. ^ "1984 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  15. ^ a b Person, Lawrence (Winter–Spring 1998). "Notes Toward a Postcyberpunk Manifesto". Nova Express. 4 (4). Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  16. ^ Fitting, Peter (July 1991). "The Lessons of Cyberpunk". In Penley, C.; Ross, A. (eds.). Technoculture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 295–315. ISBN 0-8166-1930-1. OCLC 22859126. [Gibson's work] has attracted an audience from outside, people who read it as a poetic evocation of life in the late eighties rather than as science fiction.
  17. ^ Adams, Tim; Emily Stokes; James Flint (August 12, 2007). "Space to think". Books by genre. London. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
  18. ^ Elhefnawy, Nader (August 12, 2007). "'Burning Chrome' by William Gibson". Tangent Short Fiction Review. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  19. ^ ""Neuromancer" page". Williamgibsonbooks.com. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  20. ^ Irvine, Martin (January 12, 1997). "Postmodern Science Fiction and Cyberpunk". Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2006.
  21. ^ Gibson, p. 69
  22. ^ Leiren-Young, Mark (January 6, 2012). "Is William Gibson's 'Neuromancer' the Future of Movies?". The Tyee. Retrieved January 16, 2012. "One of the obstacles in the selling of this movie to the industry at large is that everyone says, 'Oh, well, The Matrix did it already.' Because The Matrix—the very word 'matrix'—is taken from Neuromancer, they stole that word, I can't use it in our movie."
  23. ^ Gibson, William (January 28, 2003). "The Matrix: Fair Cop". williamgibsonbooks.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  24. ^ "Books to Look For", F&SF, April 2005, p.28
  25. ^ Mark Neale (director), William Gibson (subject) (2000). No Maps for These Territories (Documentary). Docurama.
  26. ^ van Bakel, Rogier (June 1995). "Remembering Johnny". Wired (3.06). Retrieved January 10, 2008.
  27. ^ de Haven, Tom; Jensen, Bruce (August 1989). Neuromancer. Marvel Enterprises. ISBN 0-87135-574-4.
  28. ^ Jensen, Bruce (November 1, 1989). Neuromancer. Berkley Trade. ISBN 0-425-12016-3.
  29. ^ "Neuromancer graphic novel". Antonraubenweiss.com. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  30. ^ Buwalda, Minne (May 27, 2002). "Voyager". Mediamatic.net. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  31. ^ "Club Foot Orchestra". telecircus.com.
  32. ^ "Index Magazine". www.indexmagazine.com.
  33. ^ "Chris Cunningham—Features". directorfile.com. Archived from the original on June 18, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2006.
  34. ^ "Neuromancer Coming to the Big Screen". comingsoon.net. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
  35. ^ Gingold, Michael. "Natali takes "NEUROMANCER" for the big screen". Fangoria.com. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  36. ^ "Seven Arts Announces New Distribution Venture With GFM Films". Bloomberg. Hollywood. Marketwire. March 31, 2011. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  37. ^ "Will Liam Neeson and Mark Wahlberg be plugging into Neuromancer?". The Guardian. August 2, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  38. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Vincenzo Natali on Haunter". craveonline.com. August 2, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  39. ^ "Chinese outfit boards sci-fi 'Neuromancer'". Screen Daily. May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  40. ^ Couch, Aaron. "'Deadpool' Director Tim Miller to Adapt 'Neuromancer' for Fox". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 9, 2017.

Sources

  • McCaffery, Larry (1991). Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-1168-3. OCLC 23384573.

External links

7th Level

7th Level was a video game development company based in Dallas, Texas and founded in 1993. The company was most famous for developing the three Monty Python games (with the aid of Python member Eric Idle), G-Nome (1997) — a MechWarrior-style game, for publishing Helicops (1997) — an anime-inspired arcade-style aerial combat game, and for Tracer — a game of hacking distributed computer systems for cash using a virtual avatar in the design of Neuromancer, Shadowrun, or Snowcrash styled virtual worlds.

7th Level announced their intention to merge with Pulse Entertainment on November 17, 1997, to create P7 Solutions — an integrated solutions company. The distribution rights for the three Monty Python games were acquired by Panasonic Interactive Media the next day, ending 7th Level's involvement with game development and publishing. The announced merger between 7th Level and Pulse Entertainment was later canceled in April of the following year.Before ceasing all game development, 7th Level had begun working on another title, named Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3. The partially completed game was sold to Ion Storm to finish development.

Bruce Jensen

Bruce Jensen (born 1962 in Indianapolis, Indiana) is a US illustrator who has created book covers for science fiction authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Charles Sheffield, Joe Haldeman, Linda Nagata, Kelley Eskridge, and Philip K. Dick. His covers were described by Nagata as "deftly illustrat[ing] the mood, the feeling of the book". He also drew the unfinished Neuromancer graphic novel in 1989. He won the 1995 Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist.

Chris Cunningham

Chris Cunningham (born 15 October 1970) is a British video artist. He directed influentual music videos for acclaimed electronic musicians such as Autechre, Squarepusher, and most notably Aphex Twin on videos for "Windowlicker" and "Come to Daddy". The video for Björk's "All is Full of Love" is considered a montage milestone in its own genre. All were used in Chris' chapter in Director's Label. He has also created art installations and directed short movies. He was approached to direct a movie version of the cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, but nothing came of early discussions. In the 2000s, Cunningham began doing music production work. He has also designed album artwork for a variety of musicians.

Count Zero

Count Zero is a science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson, originally published in 1986. It is the second volume of the Sprawl trilogy, which begins with Neuromancer and concludes with Mona Lisa Overdrive, and is an example of the cyberpunk subgenre.

Count Zero was serialized by Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in the 1986 January (100th issue), February and March issues, accompanied by black and white art produced by J. K. Potter. The January cover is devoted to the story, with art by Hisaki Yasuda.

Count Zero was nominated for the Locus and British Science Fiction Awards in 1986, as well as the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1987.

Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of lowlife and high tech" featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip José Farmer and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. Released in 1984, William Gibson's influential debut novel Neuromancer would help solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture. Other influential cyberpunk writers included Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker. The Japanese cyberpunk subgenre began in 1982 with the debut of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga series Akira, with its 1988 anime film adaptation later popularizing the subgenre.

Early films in the genre include Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner, one of several of Philip K. Dick's works that have been adapted into films. The films Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and New Rose Hotel (1998), both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003) were some of the most successful cyberpunk films. More recent additions to this genre of filmmaking include Blade Runner 2049 (2017), sequel to the original 1982 film, as well as Upgrade (2017), Alita: Battle Angel (2019) based on the 1990s Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, and the 2018 Netflix TV series Altered Carbon.

Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics

Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics (ICE) is a term used in cyberpunk literature to refer to security programs which protect computerized data from being accessed by hackers.

Kellow Chesney

Kellow Chesney (3 March 1914 – July 2004) was a journalist, publisher's reader, editor and writer. His most notable book is The Victorian Underworld, first published in 1970. The writer William Gibson has stated that his depiction of the criminal society in Neuromancer (1984) was strongly influenced by this popular work. "I literally had The Victorian Underworld on my desk constantly, throughout the writing of Neuromancer, and for years after."-William Gibson

List of awards and nominations received by William Gibson

William Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. Since first being published in the late 1970s, Gibson has written more than twenty short stories and nine critically acclaimed novels. His early works are bleak, noir near-future stories about the relationship between humans and technology – a "combination of lowlife and high tech". Several of these garnered critical attention and popular acclaim, receiving Hugo and Nebula Awards nominations in the categories of best short story and best novelette and being featured prominently in the annual Locus Awards reader's poll.

The themes, settings and characters developed in these stories culminated in his first novel, Neuromancer (1984), which proved to be the author's breakout work, achieving critical and commercial success and virtually initiating the cyberpunk literary genre. It became the first novel to win the "triple crown" of science fiction awards – the Nebula and the Hugo Awards for best novel along with the Philip K. Dick Award for paperback original, an unprecedented achievement described by the Mail & Guardian as "the sci-fi writer's version of winning the Goncourt, Booker and Pulitzer prizes in the same year". It also won the Ditmar and Seiun awards, received nominations for the year's "outstanding work" Prix Aurora Award and the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) award for best novel, topped the annual Science Fiction Chronicle poll and finishing third in the standings for the 1985 John W. Campbell Award.

Much of Gibson's reputation remained associated with Neuromancer, and though its sequels in the Sprawl trilogy – Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) – also attracted Hugo and Nebula nominations for best novel, major award wins eluded the writer thereafter. "The Winter Market", a short story first published in November 1985, was well-received, garnering Hugo, Nebula, Aurora, and BSFA nominations and finished highly in the Locus, Interzone and Science Fiction Chronicle polls. Having completed the cyberpunk Sprawl trilogy, Gibson became a central figure in the steampunk subgenre by co-authoring the 1990 alternate history novel The Difference Engine, which was nominated for the Nebula, Campbell, Aurora and BSFA awards and featured in the Locus poll. His most recent novels – Pattern Recognition (2003) and Spook Country (2007) – put his work onto mainstream bestseller lists for the first time, and the former was the first of Gibson's novels to be shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Gibson was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2008.

List of works by William Gibson

The works of William Gibson encompass literature, journalism, acting, recitation, and performance art. Primarily renowned as a novelist and short fiction writer in the cyberpunk milieu, Gibson invented the metaphor of cyberspace in "Burning Chrome" (1982) and emerged from obscurity in 1984 with the publication of his debut novel Neuromancer. Gibson's early short fiction is recognized as cyberpunk's finest work, effectively renovating the science fiction genre which had been hitherto considered widely insignificant.At the turn of the 1990s, after the completion of his Sprawl trilogy of novels, Gibson contributed the text to a number of performance art pieces and exhibitions, as well as writing lyrics for musicians Yellow Magic Orchestra and Debbie Harry. He wrote the critically acclaimed artist's book Agrippa (a book of the dead) in 1992 before co-authoring The Difference Engine, an alternate history novel that would become a central work of the steampunk genre. He then spent an unfruitful period as a Hollywood screenwriter, with few of his projects seeing the light of day and those that did being critically unsuccessful.Although he had largely abandoned short fiction by the mid-1990s, Gibson returned to writing novels, completing his second trilogy, the Bridge trilogy at the close of the millennium. After writing two episodes of the television series The X-Files around this time, Gibson was featured as the subject of a documentary film, No Maps for These Territories, in 2000. Gibson has been invited to address the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and the Directors Guild of America (2003) and has had a plethora of articles published in outlets such as Wired, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. His third trilogy of novels, Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007) and Zero History (2010) have put Gibson's work onto mainstream bestseller lists for the first time.

Molly Millions

Molly Millions (also known as Sally Shears, Rose Kolodny, and others) is a recurring character in stories and novels written by William Gibson, particularly his Sprawl trilogy. She first appeared in Johnny Mnemonic, to which she makes an oblique reference in Neuromancer (where she is mostly referred to as "Molly" with no last name given). Her most recent literary appearance was under the name "Sally Shears" in the book Mona Lisa Overdrive.

Mona Lisa Overdrive

Mona Lisa Overdrive is a science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson, published in 1988. It is the final novel of the cyberpunk Sprawl trilogy, following Neuromancer and Count Zero, taking place eight years after the events of the latter. The novel was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1989.

Neuromancer (video game)

Neuromancer is an adventure video game developed by Interplay Productions and published by Mediagenic (a brand name that Activision was also known by). It was released in 1988 for the Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS. It was loosely based on William Gibson's 1984 novel of the same name and set within both the fictional "real world" and the extensively realized and detailed world of cyberspace. It has a soundtrack based on the Devo song "Some Things Never Change" from their album Total Devo. The gaming rights at the time were owned by Timothy Leary, who brought the project to Interplay to develop.

Sprawl trilogy

The Sprawl trilogy (also known as the Neuromancer, Cyberspace, or Matrix trilogy) is William Gibson's first set of novels, composed of Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988).

The novels are all set in the same fictional future, and are subtly interlinked by shared characters and themes (which are not always readily apparent). The Sprawl trilogy shares this setting with Gibson's short stories "Johnny Mnemonic", "New Rose Hotel", and "Burning Chrome", and events and characters from the stories appear in or are mentioned at points in the trilogy.

Tessier-Ashpool

Tessier-Ashpool is a fictional family appearing in William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy. The family owns Freeside, a space station shaped like a spindle Bernal sphere constructed in high orbit. The family resides in the Villa Straylight, which occupies one end of the spindle.

The family is organized and run as a corporation, Tessier-Ashpool S.A.. Family members are kept under cryogenic stasis and thawed out periodically so that governance of the family is cycled between members. According to "orbital law" they are legally dead while cryogenically preserved.

The Tessier-Ashpool family owns the mainframe to which one of their two artificial intelligences, Wintermute, is attached. As the computer hardware is located in Bern, Switzerland its resident AI thereby has limited Swiss citizenship "under their equivalent of the Act of '53". The other AI, Neuromancer, is housed within another family-owned mainframe located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Neuromancer (album)

The Neuromancer is the fourth studio album by William Control. Preceded by a lyric video for Illuminator, the album was released on April 4, 2014, through Control Records, and was produced and engineered by William Control. It was recorded at Control's own Hell's Half Acre studio in September/October 2013, mixed by Ryan O John, and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side. All lyrics are by William Francis. The single Revelator was also released in April, and accompanied by a video. This was followed in May by a second single, Price We Pay. The album had been scheduled for release in late 2013, but was delayed in order to make it 'the best it could possibly be'.

The Sprawl

In William Gibson's fiction, the Sprawl is a colloquial name for the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis (BAMA), an urban sprawl environment on a massive scale, and a fictional extension of the real Northeast megalopolis.

Large parts of the novels Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) (collectively known as the Sprawl trilogy) take place in this environment, as do the short stories "Johnny Mnemonic," "New Rose Hotel," and "Burning Chrome."

Wil Francis

William Roy "wiL" Francis (aka William Control) (born January 8, 1982 in Seattle, Washington) is an American rock musician, record producer, author, and artist. He came to prominence as the lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the horror punk band Aiden. He has also released four albums (Hate Culture, Noir, Silentium Amoris, and The Neuromancer) under the name William Control, featuring a synthesizer driven darkwave, synthpop style, as well as 2 live albums (Live In London Town and Babylon, 2 acoustic albums (Skeleton Strings and Skeleton Strings 2), an EP (Novus Ordo Seclorum), and a remix album (Remix). The fifth album, Revelations, has been split into 4 EPs: The Pale EP (October 2016), The Black EP (February 2017), and The Red EP (July 2017) and The White EP (November 2017). Francis also acts as producer to bands such as Fearless Vampire Killers, A Midnight Tragedy and Ashestoangels, as well as producing his own William Control and Aiden music, and formed his own record label, Control Records. In May 2009, Kerrang! called Francis "one of the most enigmatic and talismanic frontmen in rock music today."In June 2018, Francis temporarily ceased production on new works and closed Control Records due to allegations from multiple women of sexual assault and grooming.

William Control

William Control was an American electronic music project founded in 2008 in Seattle, Washington. It was the side project of Aiden's William Francis before Aiden's hiatus, and he later operated as William Control full-time. 'William Control' therefore refers to both the band as a whole and to Francis as his stage name. Francis was signed to Victory Records before starting his own independent label Control Records, and, as William Control, has released five full-length albums (Hate Culture, Noir, Silentium Amoris, The Neuromancer and Revelations (split into four separate EPs)), an EP (Novus Ordo Seclorum), two acoustic albums (Skeleton Strings and Skeleton Strings 2), two live DVDs (Live in London Town and Babylon) and a remix album (Remix). The first part of Revelations, The Pale, was released on October 14, 2016. The second EP The Black followed on February 17, 2017 and the third, entitled The Red, followed that with a release date of July 14 of the same year. The album was completed by The White on November 24. As of The Neuromancer Francis referred to his band as 'The Neuromantic Boys', and the 'Boys' most recently consisted of Kenneth Fletcher (who has been a part of the William Control project since Hate Culture) and Ian MacWilliams, with Crilly Ashes standing in for Fletcher for some of 2017's live shows. Control announced his retirement from music/touring in October 2017, stating that he was going to concentrate on his clothing businesses and Control Records. In June 2018, Control temporarily ceased work due to accusations of sexual assault and the formation of a "sex cult" with groupies.

William Gibson

William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian speculative fiction writer and essayist widely credited with pioneering the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. Beginning his writing career in the late 1970s, his early works were noir, near-future stories that explored the effects of technology, cybernetics, and computer networks on humans—a "combination of lowlife and high tech"—and helped to create an iconography for the information age before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. Gibson notably coined the term "cyberspace" in his short story "Burning Chrome" (1982) and later popularized the concept in his acclaimed debut novel Neuromancer (1984). These early works have been credited with "renovating" science fiction literature.

After expanding on Neuromancer with two more novels to complete the dystopic Sprawl trilogy, Gibson collaborated with Bruce Sterling on the alternate history novel The Difference Engine (1990), which became an important work of the science fiction subgenre steampunk. In the 1990s, Gibson composed the Bridge trilogy of novels, which explored the sociological developments of near-future urban environments, postindustrial society, and late capitalism. Following the turn of the century and the events of 9/11, Gibson emerged with a string of increasingly realist novels—Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007), and Zero History (2010)—set in a roughly contemporary world. These works saw his name reach mainstream bestseller lists for the first time. His more recent novel, The Peripheral (2014), returned to a more overt engagement with technology and recognizable science fiction concerns.

In 1999, The Guardian described Gibson as "probably the most important novelist of the past two decades," while the Sydney Morning Herald called him the "noir prophet" of cyberpunk. Throughout his career, Gibson has written more than 20 short stories and 10 critically acclaimed novels (one in collaboration), contributed articles to several major publications, and collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers, and musicians. His work has been cited as an influence across a variety of disciplines spanning academia, design, film, literature, music, cyberculture, and technology.

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Short stories
Nonfiction
Television
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Story elements
Derivative works
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