by William Gibson
“The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.”
On the face of it, it may seem weird to have read and reviewed a book from 1984 in late 2018, but with the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 video game having gotten me incredibly hyped. I have been doing some ‘homework’ and immersing myself in the cyberpunk genre. After binging my way through netflix series Altered Carbon (well worth a watch in my opinion) I consulted various lists of cyberpunk books to read and Neuromancer appeared on every single one. So I had to start there, right?
Taking place in an undead, urban-dystopian future, Neuromancer follows Henry Chase, a drug-addicted former cyberspace hacker, down on his luck and just about making ends meet. As is common with anti-heroes, he gets and offer he can’t refuse, one more job in exchange for his old life back.
Whilst the book does have all the typical features of a novel, a protagonist, a beginning, a middle and an end, this is less a book that is read and more so a journey that is experienced. Fast paced, full of technical lingo and locations which I do not think you are meant to fully understand yet they still manage to convey their meanings, you feel like you are witnessing the events of the story, jacking in and out of it at the points that matter. All killer, no filler.
One of the most fascinating aspects, reading a 1984 book in 2018, is the use of terms which seem so commonplace now but which would have likely been the first time they featured in a novel at the time, such as cyberspace, and concepts which you have seen in numerous other works, such as overpopulated slums whilst the richest parts of society live removed from the poor. Is it no stretch to describe the book as a cornerstone of the cyberpunk genre and should be considered a must read for anyone who has enjoyed cyberpunk films, tv shows or computer games. 4 out 5.
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