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Neuromancer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2007
I have read this masterpiece (together with the other two of the Sprawl series: COUNT ZERO and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE) during my university years, about a decade ago. Since then I have re-read it countless times. Even reading only some pages brings up powerful imagery, dark poetic language, unforgettable prose...

The strength of William Gibson, demonstrated here in full colors, is his ability to create the atmosphere and placing the reader in the middle of things. After reading these books of his, one has the feeling of actually having lived in the Sprawl in a past life!

Start with this one. Then Count Zero. And finally Mona Lisa Overdrive.

A Masterpiece Trilogy!!! Own them all!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2002
Any book as popular and influential as this is never going to be what you expect, and i many ways this is one of its strengths. Gibson never ceases to surprise the reader with his inventiveness, and has produced a truly gripping read. Reading this novel it is important to bear in mind that it was written (appropriately enough) in 1984, and that although we take many of the ideas and terms in the book for granted most of them were invented with the publication of neuromancer. The plot has a definite "noir-ish" quality to it as the plot slowly unfolds piece by piece, and it was this aspect that was so unexpected and remains one of the novels strongest features. This really is a must read for anyone who uses the internet (this means you!) or has ever wondered where we might all be in 100 years' time. Oh and this book introduces possibly the coolest female character ever in the form of Molly: the anti-ally macbeal?
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I came out of "No Maps For These Territories" (the new William Gibson documentary) yesterday and felt the need to buy this book again. I first read "Neuromancer" in 1996 and thought this is totally wild. I later watched "Blade Runner" and "Ghost in the shell" and thought this dude is definitely up there in this sci-fi ish - the future. The characters are real and varied (can you imagine rastas roaming the atmosphere?) - how about a cloned ninja bodyguard for size? It's the realness that grabs you, these are characters you can relate to - the greed, anxiety, hopes, dreams - all in the mix of mind boggling technology. I've always found sci-fi books that deals with alien civilization and other worlds a bit to tedious and this guy's books are like a breath of fresh air - how are we all coping in the face of this technological onslaught? Do we still go wow? Or do we wish for augumented body shells? Blue tooth enabled? I've spent today reading the book and the whole plot remains relevant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 1999
This book marks the start of a new era in science fiction. Gibson is a visionary whose style is accessible to all.
The first book in Gibson's 'Cyberspace' series is essential reading to anyone who has wondered about the future fate of mankind, given the introduction of the Internet.
Admittedly this first book isn't as gripping or as slick as his later books, but if you are going to embark on the likes of "Count Zero", "Mona Lisa Overdrive", "Virtual Light" or "Idoru" then this book is the essential groundwork to the entire CyberPunk genre.
Other similar authors include Bruce Sterling, Jeff Noon and Iain M. Banks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2000
This book is one of the classics of cyber-punk, it absolutely exudes style and darkness. You are whisked from one stunning back drop to the next and the plot moves along at a good pace. The characters which Gibson creates are superb, extremely lifelike but also so different from our cosy everyday world. There are very few flaws in this work but Gibson does make a few technical errors, which can be annoying if you know computers and some of the peripheral characters are a bit stereotypical. In general though its a great read and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to get the flavour of cyber-punk.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2013
"Straylight was crazy, was craziness grown in the resin concrete they'd mixed from pulverized lunar stone, grown in welded steel and tons of knick-knacks, all the bizarre impendimenta they'd shipped up the well to line their winding nest. But it wasn't a craziness he understood."

Maybe that short passage sums up 'Neuromancer', the book, to an extent. Some wonderfully beguiling, uber-cool prose, yet somehow insubstantial. Difficult to grasp hold of and visualise. And beneath the dizzying cybersmoke screen of words dances an elusive, complex story-line as light-footed and slippery as an amphibian Rudolf Nureyev. The combination dazzles in a disorientating way, not in the way a flawless diamond might.

I think the characters suffer for it: Peter Riviera and The Finn, for instance, seem almost pointless presences; Case and Molly Millions, the chief protagonists, increasingly engulfed by a plot as mysterious and overpowering as the twin AI consciousnesses, Wintermute and Neuromancer.

For me, it's a kind of triumph. Gibson's vision of a cyber future in all its technical wonder is a masterful feat of the imagination, partially realised. But it's also, in my view, a triumph of style over substance. The tale never quite breathes life. It reads how Dixie Flatline might have told it. Not the craziness for me.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2009
My main problem with the Neuromancer was that I couldn't decide whether to give 5 stars for the vision and ideas, or 1 for the non-engaging writing style. This is the first book by Gibson I've ever read and I have to admit that as a non-native English speaker, with a decent knowledge of the language, I had to constantly check the dictionary.

I found Gibson's ideas about the evolution of massive corporations, and his cyberpunk vision, extraordinary, especially thinking that he wrote the book back in 1984. I was enthusiastic with the rather pessimistic presentation of techno-human creatures who have accepted a no limits technological innovation as an inseparable life depended software of their decadent lifestyle in the dark and filthy futuristic urban spaces.

The problem was that I couldn't find a character worth identifying with or at least worth sharing his fears, aims and passions. As a result I couldn't really "get into the book", although I really wanted to.

I respect (and admire) Gibson's vision. When sci-fi, for others, only meant space travel, alien, and colonies in Mars, Gibson's narration (as well as Philip K. Dick's )described a much darker and less optimist hi-tech reality. However, as other reviewers pointed out too, this particular writing style simply didn't work for me.
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There is a whole review to be written on how seminal and ahead of its time this novel is, it was after all published in 1984, when the original Macintosh came out with a pokey wee screen, a floppy disk drive in the front, and 128k on RAM memory! Apart from references to cassettes and gold disks, it has not really aged at all.

I had never read it before now, so will just review it for someone reading it now. It joins those books about urban chancers, who cannot be relied on to do the right thing. Authors like Chandler and Deighton, and books like Ubik, and The Stars my Destination. Our dodgy hero goes down some dangerous and weird streets.

The book is consistently impenetrable, at best you sort of know what is going on, and it does seem to follow its own internal logic. The effect is bewildering and intoxicating, like when Moorcock is showing off, or Burroughs is just going insane with the invented words and vices. The sheer impenetrability does diminish the tension, but gives it an edgy rush of its own.

Personally I found that it started to drag a bit by the end. It still reads well, but is perhaps a shade below the very finest science fiction novels.

The Kindle version is no frills, but perfectly serviceable, I only noticed a couple of possible typos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2014
This book opens with a clichéd sky description and the writer sometimes makes the mistake of loading too much detail into paragraphs. I also feel he violates the 'show, don't tell' rule on occasion. However, the visual descriptions are excellent and the writer has succeeded in creating an exciting, believable world. It is clear to see why this e-book has sold well and it is worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 1999
It's getting a bit old now, this book, at least by the clocks of the trends that surround it. And what a lot of baggage it has collected: The books it's influenced, the films, both good ('The Matrix') and rubbish- 'Johnny Mnemonic' itself. The crappy book covers, what is it about Gibson's visions that they inspire such pitiful, corny images? The intellectual critiques, the architects and businessy Wired types trying to claim it, as well as the lit. critics. It's in a large format, so you can put it next to your Penguin Classics, it's not Scifi, no, no it's literature. I was inspired to write this reveiw because today I saw Neuromancer on a college reading list next to a bunch of computer books. For good and bad, this book is The Source. Peel off the rind of leather-clad, mirror-shaded prconception and read this book as if it had just been published. You don't need to be a computer type to understand it, there is no mystery, it's all there in the text if you take your time. And why not take your time? Gibson's textures are astonishing, and his contrived ways of revealing details of the future amuse and amaze. His characters are interesting, not just because of their chicness and slickness and costumes and super-powers, but because they react realistically and are as human as the reader. The dense portrait of the future is interesting not just because of it's chicness, it's slickness, it's gimmicks and it's technologies, but because it is like our world, good, bad, beautiful, ugly. This is not Gibson's best novel , but his most essential. We must allow it to stand proud and apart even from the author's other work, so it can survive the rivers of superfluous dross it has created.
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