Continuing our occasional series of book reviews by members of the Writing Squad, Jack Mann writes about a book which defined part of the modern world and has, in some ways, messed with all our brains...
Gibson’s Neuromancer is an ambitious tech-noir thriller that explores through
the lens of Henry Case, a fallen-from-grace computer hacker, the consequences
of assimilating binaries – namely flesh/synthetic, feeling/thinking, suicidal tendencies/the
need to get paid. Neuromancer is William Gibson’s first full novel, first
published in 1984 as the first of The Sprawl Trilogy set in the not-too-distant
enjoy Neuromancer’s prescience. Gibson coined the term ‘cyberspace’ in this
novel and even with the manifestation of the internet as we now know it in the
line: ‘a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate
operators, in every nation’, he doesn’t see himself as a science fiction
writer. Gibson is also an inadvertent literary sartorialist, where his
depiction of The Sprawl’s technologically augmented Molly Millions
single-handedly sparked the ‘cyberpunk’ fashion sub-culture – including The
Ghost in the Shell manga and The Matrix films’ character outfits.
saw that her hands were sticky with blood. Back in the shadows, someone made
wet sounds and died.’
delight in Neuromancer’s B-movie pulp. The sex and the violence are graphic,
the dialogue is often overly hep and how the story plays out improbable.
Further, Gibson’s prose can become so frantic, so simultaneously nebulous and
anachronistic, that it can be near impossible to decipher some scenes. And yet,
at its best, Neuromancer is equally inspired, incisive and idiosyncratic.
know how you’re wired.”
this novel is about (faulty) connections. Whether that’s Case and Molly’s
relationship, or Case ‘jacked in’ to cyberspace, Gibson prefers to learn and
assimilate with the other than be ignorant, intolerant, or, indeed, subjugated
by it. Through the tempered glass, Neuromancer is as much an open-minded
reflection on its present as it is a dystopic vision of a possible future that
increases in salience the more I work with both people and computers."
Mann writes for his voice and speaks both pre-written and also improvised pieces,
often with musicians he’s just met. His poem Block explores 11 one on one
reactions with urban environments and the people within them.