Prehistoric Irish Cynic
Sep 28, 2007
Twenty-five years late, I finally read this book. Without referring to the likely voluminous critiques that have inevitably accumulated over the years, my first impressions are that it is a lot like Delaney's Dhalgren in many respects and that the Matrix series of movies owe pretty much everything to Gibson. A lot of the ideas in Alastair Reynolds' Conjoiner characters are related also. And that's just a couple of examples off the top of my head. I'm sure volumes could be written on that subject and I guess I should acknowledge that, without much fear of contradiction, it is a seminal work.

And, btw, I thought it was a very good read.
I'm going to shamelessly bump this "thread" to see if anyone is remotely interested in William Gibson's creation of the Cyberpunk sub-genre lo these many years ago.

What subsequent works have been influenced the most from this novel and has it all been worthwhile? Anybody?
Well, cyberpunk was really coming to be well before Neuromancer. In a sense, it marked the end of cyberpunk, as you had people like Walter Jon Williams doing it (meh) and people like James Patrick Kelly and Michael Swanwick doing the occasional crossover (very well, incidentally). People like Gibson, Sterling, Shirley and others were writing some really brilliant stories and even some novels before Neuromancer. As far as what came after, I'm not sure. Probably Hollywood (Matrix) and mass-media/mainstream press were most influenced though, of course, many SF writers cashed in (in a bad way) and some of the tropes, styles, and territory were sort of subtly generally incorporated into SF as a whole (in a good way).

All in all, I'd say it was good for the genre in terms of generating excitement and interest and some damn good work but I'm not sure it's had the best effect. A little too much on style and probably not the most beneficial substance. Mirrorshades and brand names over physics and going to the moon and all. ;)

Unfortunately, I can't talk about the novel in this thread because it's just been too long since I read it. I will read it again one of these days, though.

But I've always been more of a Sterling fan, myself. The Shaper/Mechanist milieu just rocks and I've followed Sterling's work much more closely than Gibson's. And early-ish Pat Cadigan.
I've finally got to read "Neuromancer" about half a year ago. I don't know why I had avoided it for so long. Perhaps because it was too famous for it's own good, I don't know. But it's really worth reading.

The one thing I found is that there's a lot of "style over substance" going on. You get how everyone is dressed, what drugs they do and with what effects, what all the exotic locations look like (which is amazing, I'm not usually impressed by locations). On the other hand, the characters are given those hints of being more profound than they really are, and the disjointed narrative is arty, but makes it hard to follow sometimes - and serves no other purpose than being arty. It's kind of like a good French film (can't think of any example right now).

And also, it is amazing how this book was literally ripped-off by so many movies, TV-shows, videogames, etc.
I read it as a pimply git teenager when it was released, and it kind of affected my tastes forever after. I also loved the video game based on the book but that's another story...

Reread it earlier this year, and realised what a powerful influence it had been on my writing, even all these years later.

Gibson is a grade for sure.
Thinking it a little more, I take back my criticism on the disjointed narrative style. It actually sets in motion the reader's imagination - and that's one of the reasons the world feels so authentic. Having said that, you have to invest some effort in this book in order to enjoy it.

What about the sequels, I still have not touched them, but heard that the sceond one is even better than the first. Do you guys agree?
I read Neuromancer when it first came out and a few times since. I can honestly say it is one of my favourite books. I found Gibson's style really engaged me the first time and have been a fan ever since. I would like to see him return to some 'real' sci fi once more.
Count Zero is really really good, but I struggled just a bit with Mona Lisa Overdrive, and that one has a truly awful ending - I can't believe Gibson's editor let that one through. But CZ is a must-read.

I don't remember the ending of MLO one way or the other but I otherwise agree exactly - CZ is also great and MLO was a struggle - it took me two tries to get through it. My recollections of the second try are mildly positive, though.

What about some later work he has already written, e.g., the "Bridge" trilogy beginning with Virtual Light?

I only read the first one (VL - though the other two have been sitting around unread for years) and, while not bad, I was indifferent/unimpressed. And, with the yet later stuff, I have no interest.

This is my first post on this forum (as it's quite obvious) and of course, I went straight for the Gibson's thread. I'm currently writing MA thesis on the Sprawl trilogy and my topic should be something like 'where does one's self exist'.
I'd really like to hear your opinions on this aspect of the book and would gladly hear any suggestions to the topic.

For those of you who haven't read neuromancer sequels, I strongly recommend Count Zero, which is the best book in trilogy in my opinion while Mona Lisa seems too much; there're too many subplots and it's very predictive. Overall - an unnecessary move made by Gibson

Looking forward to hearing from you :)
Read Neuromancer back in the 80s. Didn't like it the first time. Read it again in the 90s and couldn't figure out why I didn't like it the first time. :rolleyes:

Will look into Count Zero (and thanks for the tip!).
@StephenPalmer - many thanks, I'll have to read this through and then I'll post back with comments :)
@Grimward - I have to say that I didn't like the style at first because it's filled with some hi-tech word register but I got used to it.
anyways, I'm a bit hesitant about the topic because I'll have to give examples from all three books about the 'fluidity' of identity...And i'm not sure i'll quite make it
Well, since I've not yet read the other 2, I'm no help, but we're pulling for ya, cesarica. Good luck!

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