Neuromancer and the birth of Cyberpunk

I went back to my library to check the year of my original Neuromancer edition. It’s 1993. For some context, I was 23 back then, with my software company founded only a couple of years earlier. The World Wide Web was at its very early stages. I distinctly remember getting out of that book dazed and confused. Characters were two-dimensional at best. There was a certain lack of exposition. The recurring streams of consciousness were complex for me to follow1. I knew I had something powerful and innovative in my hands; I was fascinated, but Gibson’s writing, I think, put me off2.

These musings were recently conjured by reading Neuromancer. The Birth of Cyberpunk, a fine, splendidly illustrated short essay on Gibson’s influence, published by Sabukaru Online (which feed I promptly added to my RSS reader.).

When Gibson penned his opening line ‘the sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel’ he merged reality and the digital in a way that seems almost prophetic today, as online footprints grow exponentially and internet universes creep into reality. Instead of two separate realms, there’s a ripple and blur.

I might re-read the novel. I’m curious about my opinion as a senior reader.

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  1. Not surprisingly, I’m having a hard time following the Ulysses too. [return]
  2. At the time, I didn’t know that Neuromancer was Gibson’s first novel. [return]