I finished Neuromancer after my second attempt to read the cyberpunk classic written by William Gibson.
The first time was stymied by the depth and complexity of the novel – it is deeply rooted in computer science and techspeak, very much a piece of hard science-fiction. But I wanted to finish the book which is considered one of the foundations of cyberpunk, and the second read-through produced its end.
I won’t attempt to summarize the book – I’ll let Wikipedia handle that – but I can tell you that it’s a cross between The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell. And much like both of those movies, Neuromancer will require a few more repeats before its entirety is understood.
In fact, the first written instance of the term ‘cyberspace’ is found within its pages.
The beginning is easy to follow, with Gibson leading you through a neon lit world of dirty industry and advanced tech. But once other characters join the pages and the techspeak is ratcheted into sixth gear, it is easy to become lost.
It is one of those novels that forces you to concentrate. I was mentally drained after finishing a chapter or two, and there are many minute details that are thrown at the reader that reading can become a chore. I haven’t read any other cyberpunk novels so I am not sure if such writing is a part of its nature; although, if visually represented (such as in a movie), these details will be astounding.
I can’t recommend Neuromancer to the everyday reader, but if you are someone who enjoys hardcore techspeak and gritty science-fiction, or is dedicated to novels which sparked an entire genre, then it is definitely one that you will not want to pass up.