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Science fiction somehow manages to place human characters in situations where the ideas and the thoughts of science and morality are intertwined. Science fiction must have some idea components and some human components to be successful. This novel seems to be a contrast to the believers in technological progress as it presents a colorful, but depressing and desolate future. The loss of individuality due to technological advances becomes a major theme in cyberpunk. This presents a dismal view of the individual in society. The cyberpunk genre developed from “a new kind of integration. The overlapping of worlds that were formerly separate: the realm of high tech, and the modern pop underground” (p. 345) 1. Neuromancer not only falls into this category, it may be the first cyberpunk novel ever written.
Gibson’s prose is too dense and tangled for casual readers, such as myself. His characters are shallow and stereotyped. The character “Case” has no purpose apart from existing in cyberspace and abusing drugs. “Molly,” his companion, is a mercenary with questionable morals. John Christie seems to agree with my analysis of this novel: “Gibson constructs characters which are themselves flat images, beings of no psychological depth, but whose interest and significance derive from their semiotic lineage, in comic, film, pulp crime fiction, and other science fiction” (p. 46) 2. (Gibson offers his readers a dystopian novel) (by presenting a cyberpunk world where things are generally bleak and they will become worse with time and technology.)
Cyberpunk is supposed to be the vision of a new technological world. However, the negative portrayal of the integration of technology and society is a fundamental tenet of the literature. This presents a pessimistic view of scientific advancement. The genre’s dark tones, seen repeatedly in Neuromancer, emphasize the bleak images throughout the futuristic fiction. The constant conflict between the individual and a technologically advanced society is a major theme as it stresses man’s insignificance. These characteristics are interwoven into the fabric of cyberpunk and form a bleak image of science fiction and the future. Gibson is very vague when describing the specific architecture and nuances of technology used in the designs of the futuristic objects. This lack of definite details is due to the fact that cyberpunk literature resists the concepts of technology.
The basic precepts of the cyberpunk genre consists of technology as hindrance to man, stories that are saturated in dark and dreary themes, and a character, ”Case,” that will either fail or conform to a structured society.
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Gibson, William Neuromancer. New York, Ace. 1984.