Published April 18, 2013
I’d just finished off a sufficiently alcoholic Strawberry Margarita, and an order of corn ice cream at little place off the beach in Mexico. The night air was warm and the breeze cool and refreshing. I found myself sitting on the balcony looking out into the bay and turning through the last few pages of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
I’d always been a fan of Cyberpunk it’s an interesting genre and I’d I’ve always wanted to see more of it. But it occurred to me that I’d never read a single Cyberpunk novel. So I decided to crack open the granddaddy of the genre and start reading Neuromancer. The first thing I noticed was how much of my favourite RPG from my younger days Shadowrun was in this novel. As well how it gives us a chance to learning the ultimate fate of Johnny from Johnny Mnemonic one of William Gibson’s short stories and inspiration of the film by the same name. Which I thought was a nice touch and really well done.
It wasn’t a perfect novel but it has a lot going for it. Gibson created a rich detailed world with some excellent characters and vast array of technology that holds up remarkably well considering when it was written. There are some problems with the writing though. The pacing is uneven and the big run seems to go very slow and lacks the tension and a sense of urgency that the arc demands. There also a number of jagged scene transitions that made me flip back on a few occasions to check if I had missed out a few paragraphs.
The story though is a good read taking you on a journey from the seedy back streets of Night Town filled with drug addicts, criminals, and the desperate to the luxurious artificial tropical paradise of Freeside. The first half is definitely my favourite. Chases down busy streets, back room deals with shady information brokers. Hunted and manipulated by criminals, a crazed pimp, and the machinations of a lost love.
The characters Molly, and Wintermute are the best developed over the course of the novel. They are layered and as we progress we get little glimpses of their past and the depth, which helps to better shape their goals and reactions. The rest are rather flat and never really come into their own. The only exception being the antagonist hinted at earlier but only making an appearance in the last few chapters I really wished that he had been more involved in the story instead of just giving us a taste of him right at the end.
Case a former hacker and matrix cowboy having lost everything years ago is slowly killing himself. He’s a drug addict and go to guy in a town where only the most desperate and destitute live. Everyone is trying to scrape out little more for themselves and the only way to do that is take it from someone else and hope you don’t provoke someone a whole lot bigger and meaner then you. But then the devil comes knocking on his door he gets an offer he can’t refuse. To be back where he belongs.