Review of Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1) by William Gibson

There is much to enjoy about Neuromancer, and as we all know, its influence reaches far in film and literature. But there was a lot about it that rubbed me the wrong way.

Its patina gloss shimmers at first, but soon sours, like sleek leather jumpsuits blurred by a g-force simulator. Gibson is a clever writer, and I will read more of his novels in the future. He writes with a stylized fervor that is rarely matched, the obsessive glossolalia of Nabokov and Ballard, but he transmogrifies his vision into a bleak landscape of urban ruin and cyber crime, suffused with the grim infrastructure of petty maliciousness which is all too recognizable in our current age. In a sense, his prophetic dream paved the way for digital expressways of cyber-fiction, and many more squeaking, hulking, derivative dirigibles derived from his well-packaged product. The commercial and critical success of the novel is unquestioned, but now, in our post-modern ennui, we might regard it without a nostalgic lens shading out blasted retinas.

Whether you go for Neal Stephenson’s monoliths or whatever hybrid dystopia you venture into nowadays, the reek of Neuromancer is forever branded in our nostrils.

One of the main issues, I think, were the characters. I didn’t like them. Neither did I appreciate any nuance within their holographic personas Willie might have attempted to convey. Their corny, clipped dialogue could’ve been ripped wholesale for the action film adaptation. It was tailored to suit the erotic, drug-enhanced stupor of his literary purview. What results is a lifeless wreck of Gothic voids, peopled by infantile chatterboxes, scurrying around in gadget-studded hover-toasters. And my God, I hate the word ‘ganja.’ I truly hope he stopped using it by book two.

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