31 March, 2020

[Review] Neuromancer by William Gibson

Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Sprawl #1
Release Date: 11 June, 2011 (originally published in July of 1984)
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Genre: Science Fiction/Adult Fiction/Cyberpunk/Technothriller/High-Tech Science Fiction
ISBN: 9780307969941
Edition: Audiobook (available in paperback, ebook, and hard cover)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 2 March, 2020
Warnings: A lot of technobabble, scenes of torture, a lot of NSFW content
Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards

Case was the sharpest data thief in the Matrix, until an ex-employer crippled his nervous system. Now a new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run against an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence. With a mirror-eyed girl street-samurai riding shotgun, he's ready for the silicon-quick, bleakly prophetic adventure that upped the ante on an entire genre of fiction.

See more by William Gibson at his Website.
Honestly, I don't know where to begin with this one. I picked this book up as the March Discussion book for my Science Fiction Book Club. While I was excited to listen to what is considered the kick-starter of the cyberpunk genre, I was also apprehensive when the Audible algorithm showed Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson as similar book that I might enjoy. (Spoiler, I did not enjoy Snow Crash at all, you can read my review here.)

This book was a tangled mess of where am I and what the hell is going on. From the opening line ("The Sky was the color of static on a tv"), I knew there was going to be some struggle to get through this book. The color of a static tv screen in 1984 is vastly different than the static today. Thus it's hard to know if the author meant for it to be a silvery-grey sky or a dark one. Either way, this book, while heralded as the leader of Cyberpunk, is a complete and utter waste in my own opinion.

Many time I struggled to know what was going on. I don't think a physical copy of the book would have helped either. Case is the classic example of an unreliable narrator, alternating between being all knowing to being as dumb as a box of rocks. Many, many times he allowed his dick to lead his decisions verses the actual knowledge of the situation. My favorite character of the book was perhaps Molly. Molly is a "Razorgirl" or a girl who has had razors surgically implanted under her fingernails (ouch) and has a pair of glasses implanted into her face (again ouch, as a regular glasses wearer, this image just hurts completely). Molly seems to be the only competent character around, and honestly she's not great at being a reliable narrator either.

If you enjoy high (old) tech or just want to glance at the original cyberpunk novel, you might get a kick out of this. For me, I'll pass on any of Gibson's other works. I'm just not interested in listening to a myriad of sex among technobabble.

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