Request PDF on ResearchGate | William Gibson: Neuromancer | Why Neuromancer?Plot SummaryPostmodernismGender and SexualityThe Death. thean Motif in Willian Gibson's Neuromancer, de autoria do mes- .. books such as Gibson's Neuromancer, the most famous cyberpunk novel. Another example. Maanen Delbeke The Translormation 01 Cyberspace in William Gibson's " Neuromancer": From Highrise Grid to Hive Keywords: • Literary Criticism • Architecture.
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Neuromancer William Gibson Ace Science Fiction Books New York Neuromancer An Ace Science Fiction Book / published by arrangement with the author. Gibson, William - CyberPunk 1 - Neuromancer · Read more · William Gibson - Neuromancer. Read more Gibson, William - Sprawl 01 - Neuromancer Introduction: Cyberpunk, William Gibson and Neuromancer. 1 With the passage of time, a reading of William Gibson's novels naturally.
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The abrupt jolt into other flesh. Matrix gone, a wave of sound and color She was moving through a crowded street, past stalls vending dis- count software, prices feltpenned on sheets of plastic, fragments of music from countless speakers. Smells of urine, free monomers, perfume, patties of frying krill. For a few frightened seconds he fought helplessly to control her body.
Then he willed himself into passivity, became the passenger behind her eyes [ Both in its representation of the real city and its descriptions of cyberspace, Neuromancer is soaked in the kind of "machine-age modernity" for which intoxi- cation and multitude are essential ingredients. Gibson's use of this aesthetic is a typically modernist way of conjuring up an image of "the new. The driving force behind this transformation proves to be the memory.
On several occasions, Gibson has emphasized that the computer is to him no more than a metaphor for the memory and its operations. The memory is carried in genetic codes and is manifested throughout Neuromancer in the form and use of different spatial surroundings.
When Case, at the outset of the story, is being chased through Ninsei the underbelly of the Japanese city of Chiba , he compares the kick of a drugged run through the slums to a run through the matrix: Then you could throw yourself into a highspeed drift and skid, totally engaged but set apart from it all, and all around you the dance of biz, information interacting, data made flesh in the mazes of the black market [ Ninsei is a field of data in the same way the matrix recalls a linking of proteins.
The street and the proteins are carriers of data, of information. The actions on the street and the interactions of proteins are determined by these data; they form "data made flesh" and "cell specialties.
There are not only significant and essential internal links among data, but also similar external links between those data and the manner in which they are physically manifested. When by the end of the book Case asks why his girlfriend Linda Lee had to die, Neuromancer replies that he saw her death prefigured in the "patterns you sometimes imagined you could detect in the dance of the street" [ These patterns are real, "As clear to me as the shadow of a tumor to a surgeon studying a patient's scan" [ Much as the life of the street finds its translation in material patterns, death is legible from an unwanted excrescence.
For Case at one point, the streets ofNinsei are no more than "the externalization of some death wish" [ Although life in Ninsei is no bed of roses, passages like these suggest an 34 McCaffery, "Interview," Delany , "Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R.
Dery, ' It is precisely this link between the city and everything taking place in it which is almost completely absent from Freeside.
Freeside is sterile, less real than simstim. Wintermute manages the colony like a perfect machine.
When Case is arrested by the Turing police, the AI has the offi- cers killed by the maintenance and surveillance robots. The counterpart of Free- side in Neuromancer is the Zion cluster, a space colony of a rastafarian subculture founded by five spaceworkers who refused to return to earth. The Tessier-Ashpools' Villa Straylight wants to escape from the sterility of Freeside's custom accommodation at all costs.
The Villa is described as "a Gothic folly," and "endless series of chambers linked by passages, by stairwells vaulted like intestines" [ Whereas Freeside is being presented as nothing but service- able infrastructure, Straylight wishes to suggest a significant connection between home and residents.
The relationship between the family and the house is not shown to the outer world, nor is it expressed in a representation of the family's activities or some image of its history.
Straylight is the heart and the body of the family, and thus also the physical carrier of the family business's memory. The intimate link between the villa and the databanks becomes visible in the empire's central terminal, a sophisticated mechanical head which occupies the central space of Straylight. Thus, the corporate memory of the family business is physically in- tertwined with the building; the Tessier-Ashpools are inextricably tied to Stray- light.
Another and complementary model for the way in which the memory es- tablishes links between inhabitants and surroundings is to be found in the descriptions of Ninsei and the BAMA. In those cases, the close link between city and residents forms a living organism that grows and develops in accordance with certain genetic codes. Contrary to the city, the Villa Straylight establishes a physical connection between a single family and its cybernetic memory. A zai- batsu, too, may be compared to a structure in which the memory of the workers' community is contained, but here those workers are not organic parts of the structure.
A zaibatsu is represented as a machine. The position somebody hap- pens to occupy in such a company determines to what extent he has access to the "corporate memory.
It should be noted, however, that the Tessier-Ashpool breed is itself already a perversion of an older family structure [ T-A is composed out of a series of clones, which, depending on the needs of the busi- ness empire, may be either defrosted or frozen.
Tessier, the founder, is at the time of his death more than years old. It takes a complex computer system and the juridical control of a law firm in London to follow up this system and its continual shifts in authority and power. Straylight is presented as a failed, perverted nest, "a parasitic structure" [ The nest structure of Straylight is directly revealed to Case by Wintermute during flatlines - moments of being brain dead during visits to the matrix.
After Wintermute has flatlined Case for the first time, Case dreams about an occurrence from his adolescence. In the hotel room in which Case passes the summer with his girlfriend, a hornets' nest has formed in the window. First pushing it off the window sill so that it falls down on the street, he then wants to strike the final blow with a flame-thrower.
He saw the thing the shell of gray paper had concealed, Horror. The spiral birth facto- ry, stepped terraces of the hatching cells, blind jaws of the unborn moving ceaselessly, the staged progressfrom egg to larva, near-wasp, wasp. In his mind's eye, a kind of time-lapse photography took place, revealing the thing as the biological equivalent of a machine gun, hideous in its perfection. Alien [ Wintermute has induced this memory in Case to reveal to him the workings of 37 One of the most essential links between cyberspace and the meatworld is that an unpleasant meeting in cyberspace, more particularly with ICE Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics , results in physical death.
The term "flatline" refers to the E. The family has failed in its attempt at setting up a symbiotic relationship between family structure and A I. The image of the nest is "the closest thing you got to what Tessier-Ashpool would like to be.
The human equivalent. Straylight's like that nest, or anyway it was supposed to work out that way" [ Implicitly, Wintermute is pointing to the philosophy of Marie-France Tessier, the progenetrix. Animal bliss. Only in cer- tain heightened modes would an individual- a clan member - suffer the more painful aspects of self-awareness" [ She was however killed by her husband, Ashpool, to foil the execution of the project.
She imagined us in a symbiotic rela- tionship with the AI'S, our corporate decisions made for us. Our conscious deci- sions, I should say. Tessier-Ashpool would be immortal, a hive, each of us units of a larger entity" [ The Hut and the Hive The real, not biochemically reproduced nest is the entity where hereditarily transmitted knowledge, life-form, and spatial structure form a self-evident unity.
Not coincidentally, Gibson uses the same metaphor for Walled City. The failure of such an integration in the case of Straylight is symbolized by the appearance of the villa, which is that of a museum that has come apart at the seams and fallen into disuse. Gibson emphasizes how the museum cases are in an "awk- ward" position with respect to the organically curving walls of the Villa [21OJ, as if to insist on the failed integration between habitat and memory.
The Straylight interior makes Case wonder whether it has been imported in bulk "from some vast European equivalent of Metro Holografix," the junk shop in Manhattan owned by the Finn [ The shop name presents the chaotic collection of junk as holograms, three-dimensional models, In a discussion, Wintermute tries to demonstrate to Case the limitations of the legible, holographic model as a representation of the memory.
He points to the difference between consulting a memory and entering a mind. See, you've still got the paradigms print gave you, and you're barely print-literate. I can access your memory, but that's not the same as your mind" [ Wintermute, himself an example of the model-type organization of knowledge, is and remains a serving machine, like a television, a cathedral, or a calculator.
The fusion between Wintermute and Neuromancer will fundamentally alter this situation, The two AI'S each represent an aspect of the way in which the memory grafts itself onto a living structure. These aspects are indicated by the settings and characters in which they dress themselves to come into contact with Case. Wintermute chooses settings and characters from Ninsei and Night City,or he takes the shape of Manhattanite Finn. He stands for the drifting, aimless DNA of the dark city, the autonomized hum of the street.
Kinda fish? These fish, see, they're compelled to swim upstream. Got it? Winter- mute is "hive mind, decision maker, effecting change in the world outside" [3' Or as the AI himself observes, "I prefer situations to plans" [ Neuromancer, on the other hand, appears as "personality" and "immor- tality" [ He stands for the whole which transcends the sum of its parts.
He uses Linda Leeas a decoy to keep Case in cyberspace and thus to physicallykillhim off. To Case, Linda Lee represents the kind of domesticity that is altogether absent from Ninsei: During Neuro- mancer's flatlines she appears in a bunker on an exotic beach.
In the distance a city glows. When Case decides to walk to the city during the flatline, the city turns out to be unreachable, This scene, it appears, figures a recollection of the place where Marie-France Tessier, the year before her marriage to Ashpool, laid the foundation for her views on the symbiosis between family and machine.
Thus, it figures a foundational moment: The fusion between Wintermute and Neuromancer may be read as the gen- esis of a space in which the progress of history and the development of activities and life fully overlap.
When the Finn appears to Case a final time, after the fusion, he no longer represents Wintermute.
The urban sprawl that is the result of a technologised world becomes almost life-like. It is fitting then that this urban landscape is dominated by global corporations that produce any kind of commodity imaginable. Everything in and about life can be bought, from body augmentations that radically alter human looks and abilities to eter- nal life in form of a consciousness transfer or cryogenic freezing. For the lower caste of this so- ciety a similar cut-throat capitalism exists, only dominated by the laws and forces of criminal enterprises, represented in the economy of the black market: Night City was like a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored re- searcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button.
The zaibatsus, the multinationals that shaped the course of human history, had transcended old barriers. Another important aspect of the dystopian world of Neuromancer is its lack of na- tional borders, exemplified by life in Chiba described on the opening pages of the novel. By containing the utopian enclave thus firmly within the corporate construction, by co-opting any kind of opposition, the utopian impulse gets redirected not to overthrow the system but to refine it from within.
A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate opera- tors […] A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in Cyberpunk and Dystopia the human system.
Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding … N 5.
The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of his own flesh. At the beginning of the novel, Case is trapped in the material world, incarcerated in his body.
Case equates sexual with technological pleasure, conflates sexual desire and a longing to lose himself in the end- lessness of cyberspace. The Cartesian duality becomes literalised in Case mind and Molly body.
Poverty is pervasive in cyberpunk, and tech- nological resources are expensive luxuries. Without the money that Armitage has to offer, Case is barred from cyberspace, he has no means to effect an escape into utopian cyberspace. Similarly, Molly needed to sell her body as a meat puppet in order to afford her own escape.
Becoming the cyborg assassin with enhanced nervous system, extendable blades and inset mirrorshades comes at a price in this world. The most ambivalent treatment of technology can be found in the form of bodily transcendence, parts of which have been discussed above in regards to cyberspace.
But the other aspects of transcendence do not seem more successful or rewarding either. Even worse seems to be the fate of the Dixie Flatline, the hacker Cyberpunk and Dystopia whose mind was transferred into a computer construct. Neuromancer was personality. There is no purpose or goal other than the dynamic of change itself. In the end of the novel, Gibson denies us a resolution, leaving Case simultaneously in the dystopian reality and the AI generated construct of a privatised utopian surrogate cf.
The dystopian system of the inhuman, represented in a world controlled by the hive mind of a corporate AI construct, thus develops a new situation with potential for both dystopian and utopian change, as Csicsery-Ronay describes it: This new situation is, then, either the promise of an apocalyptic entrance into a new evo- lutionary synthesis of the human and the machine, or an all-encompassing hallucination in which true motives, and true affects, cannot be known.
Moylan points out that dystopian narratives can be located along a continuum defining their position towards a utopian possibility cf. I would position Neuromancer further along the open end of the spectrum, as Csiscery-Ronay has correctly pointed out the potential of the new situation developed at the end of the novel.
The human and part of this remains in the posthuman is unstable, it is prone to destruction, manipulation and limitation. Instead, Gibson formulates the only site for potential social change in the novel, within the in- human system. Taken by itself then, the novel allows for this reading of utopian potential in the dystopian world. It is only with reading on into the second novel of the trilogy Count Zero that we discover how Gibson undermines this potential and shatters his godlike AI creation, dissolving the perfect state of unity be- tween logic Wintermute and emotion Neuromancer.
Cyberpunk and Dystopia 3. But as with many other subcultural phenomena, cyberpunk after Neuromancer soon developed beyond its original confines. The genre became a cultural formation and was commodified. Bould ; see chapter 7. At the same time, TV had its own version of cyberpunk with the short-lived series Max Headroom , while music groups such as Sonic Youth extended the concept further away from narrative media.
All of these describe a renegotiation of cyberpunk under new approaches, reaching beyond the confines of the original Movement and their aesthetic and political agenda.
The most prominent examples of this second-generation or post- cyber- punk are Neal Stephenson, whose Snow Crash is probably the second-best known cyberpunk novel after Neuromancer, and Noon, who shifted cyberpunk to- Lars Schmeink wards a British perspective and a gritty biological virtual reality in Vurt Even in the s new cyberpunk is being written by new British hard-sf authors such as Richard Morgan and Paul McAuley, who display a great affinity for cyberpunk styles but take the genre beyond its limitations of punk aesthetics or late-capitalist dystopian visions.
Bibliography Primary Sources Bear, Greg. Blood Music. New York: Ace. Cadigan, Pat. New York: Bantam. Tea from an Empty Cup. New York: Tor. Di Filippo, Paul.
The Steampunk Trilogy. New York: Four Walls. Philadelphia: Running Press. Gibson, William. Count Zero. Burning Chrome. Mona Lisa Overdrive. Virtual Light. New York: Putnam. The Difference Engine. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. Sure the fuck isn't you. So you vanish, okay? Zone, he's a close personal friend of mine. But she left. Man can't have a drink. You I let work here for entertain- ment value.