May 16 2007


Category: BooksChrisM @ 6:28 pm

Neuromancer – William Gibson

If you’ve not heard of this book before, you WILL have seen films that are influenced by it. You are using the internet, or more specifically the world wide web to read this blog, which was reasonably accurately predicted by Gibson, who named it PAX.
Although often lauded as the first real high quality Cyber Punk novel, don’t let this put you off if you don’t normally enjoy reading computer-orientated sci-fi novels. The book was published in 1984, and reading through the chapters now, you can’t help but tick off all the technologies that have caught up with the predictions.
If you want a crude analogy, imagine Tron, but with sex, drugs & death being the online punishment for hackers who attempt to break through the ICE (beefed up firewalls) at important corporate sectors. That is quite a lazy description though, so please don’t think any less of the book itself, I’m just struggling to describe the book in an apt way.
One of the unyet fulfilled visions of our future in the novel is that instead of keyboards/tactile feedback units, users interface with PAX via a neural interface – forget a 22″ Widescreen monitor with a Dolby Surround sound system, as far your brain is concerned, you are IN PAX itself, not just passively looking at it.
The main character in the book is called case, and we follow him in his trips both in the real world, and online, as he attempts to destroy an Artificial Intelligence. People live their lives with a great deal of assistance from medical and hi-tech implants, and life certainly doesn’t appear to be simpler in the future that Gibson imagines.
If you read this book, and start thinking about the films in the trilogy of The Matrix, or pretty much any immersive techy-based film, don’t forget to remind yourself this book pre-dates most of them by almost 20 years!

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