When William Gibson's futuristic novel Neuromancer was first published, it seemed farfetched that technology could reach the level of sophistication he described. Science fiction movies have since repeated and expanded upon this theme, portraying corporate anxieties and paranoid fears of people to be controlled by aliens, man-made machines and artificial intelligence. Neuromancer takes us into the subculture of cyberpunk, a dystopia of an amoral society ruled by abstract powers. Gibson creates a world of fear and terror where technology permeates this futuristic world into its smallest detail and instead of serving humanity, rises to become its ruler and God.
The futuristic historical context, into which Neuromancer is embedded, suggests syntactically a World War III between the presence and the time of the novel.The reader is introduced to the new world power Japan throughout the novel, while a remnant of european/western power and culture resides in the space colony Freeside as well as in the scattered pieces of artwork in the office of a criminal Chiba boss, Julius Deane. The novel plays on the audience's fear of an asian take-over of the world and the destruction of Europe. The American reader, rooted in western cultural values, will therefore sympathize with the expatriates in the Chatsubo bar in Chiba, attracked and repelled at the same time by this frightening environment.
The novel takes the reader into "Night City" (pg. 4), the decayed inner part of Chiba, which lives at night and is "shuttered and featureless" (pg. 6) during the day," waiting, under the poisoned silver sky" (pg. 7). The author uses techno images to describe the natural environment, "the sky...
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...ty of the human brain utilized as a computer modem to operate multi- national capitalistic corporations shows frightening possibilities for the future of everyday human life. The main issues of this dystopia, exaggerated and distorted as they are in the novel, originate from existing problems in our society. Discussions about cloning and genetic engineering, as well as robotics places our society at a crossroad, how to develop future strategies for an appropriate technology. The other concept imbedded in Neuromancer dates back to Plato's idea of dualism, prioritizing mind over body, men over women and logic over emotions. Gibson shows us a possibility of a future, certainly not one we want, but the dangers of which we have to consider in order to create a better world and not to destroy it.
Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.
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