Neuromancer

Bah. I was sadly disappointed by Neuromancer by William Gibson. I wanted to like it. It’s such a well-loved book, popularized the term cyberspace, paved the way for the cyberpunk genre, and inspired The Matrix (it’s where The Matrix got its name).

NeuromancerI think part of the problem was that Neuromancer was published in 1984, before computers, the internet, artificial intelligence, etc. really took off. To put things into perspective, Gibson wrote Neuromancer on a typewriter. Concepts that I’m sure were incredibly forward-thinking at the time just don’t produce the same awe-inspired reaction in 2013. And rows of functioning payphones and the lack of mobile phones give the “futuristic” book a weird, dated feeling.

I might’ve been able to overlook that, though, if I was actually able to follow the story. Too often, I was left wondering wtf was going on. I resolved to just go with it, but I really didn’t like being so clueless all the time. Characters were added with very little introduction and I still felt like I didn’t have a good grasp of the characters when I finished reading.

Another issue was how jargon-heavy it is and how the terms were used with hardly any definition. It may have been the author’s intention to leave the technology vague, but it just added to my confusion when reading the book. I wanted to know what things were and, at least at some basic level, how they worked. Instead, viruses and firewalls were described metaphorically in terms of color and light and I’m still unclear about some of the made-up jargon.

That being said, I do appreciate that Neuromancer has undoubtedly been a great inspiration for many people, probably leading to some of the technology we have today. It’s possible that Neuromancer would make more sense with a second read through, but I’m not feeling very willing to give that a try.