Saturday, August 16, 2008

Book: neuromancer

I finally read William Gibson's book Neuromancer a couple of weeks ago. I've owned for about 20 years but have not read much science fiction during that time until the past year or two. This book won all the major awards when it came out, and spawned a whole new subgenre of science fiction called "cyberpunk". It is also the first book in a trilogy all set in the same future world of the "sprawl".

I was impressed with it, though there are already bits that seem dated. The noisy printers in particular stood out, but noisy printers is what there were in 1984 when the book was first published. The mood of the book and the vision of the future, as well as its envisioning of a sort of immersion into the internet (which was not around in the way that we think of it now in 1984 either) make it both a lively read and quite prescient. The envisioning of the three-dimensional graphical representation of information within a spatial layout will stay with me, as will the fine description of the main character's life on the technological and legal edge. As with most all science fiction, the characters are the weakest link in Neuromancer, but as with the best science fiction, of which this is one example, the other facets are good enough that you are happy reader anyway.