25 reasons to read William Gibson’s Neuromancer
For the writers (and readers) who have not read (or who have not finished reading) William Gibson’s Neuromancer
NEUROMANCER! Well, I don’t want to come across as a book snob, but I do have to ask: How can you call yourself a well-read fictionado without having read Neuromancer? In classic Lily-(from How I Met Your Mother)-style, I’m going to give you 25 reasons why Neuromancer is an amazing book, and a must-read for anyone delving into the finer points of fiction-writing (and reading).
25 Reasons to Read Neuromancer
#1: It doesn’t follow the rules. The writing makes you work hard; it requires you to think because it doesn’t follow the rules. If you are a writer developing your fiction writing skills, this extremely successful novel is a refreshing and inspiring break(#2) from most contemporary fiction, which works within the constraints of literary convention.
#3: The reckless freedom of language in Neuromancer gives us (as readers and writers) a rare glimpse, from the outside, at the foolishness of our conventions and rules. It’s enough to make you laugh (#4), and throw your Strunk & White out the window (#5)! (BTW, this outsider’s perspective is one of the main gifts of speculative fiction and science-fiction, but with Neuromancer, you can see this in the structure of the sentences themselves, in the words and how they sit next to each other to form ideas.)
#6: You do realize Neuromancer gave birth to cyberpunk (anything that can give birth to a new genre MUST be worth a read).
#7: You do realize that Gibson coined the word Cyberspace, and other commonplace techno-words came straight from Neuromancer.
#8: Imagery–the book is one big fat image. Its amazing! (see below).
#9: The prose is pure poetry. Okay we touched on prose, but let’s get into it. Gibson did something so radical and so revolutionary in Neuromancer that you probably take it for granted because he’s been copied millions of times since(#10). His crammed prose, his total disregard for traditional sentence structure and his use of completely original words (#11)—it’s beyond science-fiction, it’s beyond art, man, it’s genius. (#12)! Example:
He closed his eyes.
Found the ridged face of the power stud.
And in the bloodlit dark behind his eyes, silver phosphenes boiled in from the edge of space, hypnagogic images jerking past like a film compiled of random frames. Symbols, figures, faces, a blurred, fragmented mandala of visual information.
Please, he prayed, now-
A gray disk, the color of Chiba sky.
Disk beginning to rotate, faster, becoming a sphere of paler gray. Expanding-
And flowed, flowered for him, fluid neon origami trick, the unfolding of distanceless home, his country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to infinity. Inner eye opening to the stepped scarlet pyramid of the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority burning beyond the green cubes of Mitsubishi Bank of America, and high and very far away he saw the spiral arms of the military systems, forever beyond his reach.
And somewhere he was laughing, in a white-painted loft, distant fingers caressing the deck, tears of release streaking his face.
#13: William Gibson not only writes punk, he is punk.
#14: William Gibson lives in Vancouver, which is an awesome city.
#15: You do realize that when he wrote Neuromancer there was no “Internet”? At that point the internet was merely some little government/army file-sharing system and there were only a few people on it. It was called ARPANET. (how retarded is that?)
#16: There is tons of sex, drugs (#17), and cybernetic implants (#18).
#19: The characters have real personalities. You love them and you hate them (#20)—like all good characters.
#21: The plot: totally going somewhere the whole time; there are no boring spots in the book where you just skip a few pages.
#22: The ending is awesome: it’s not depressing, but it’s not happy-happy-joy-joy… it’s subtle (#23) and revelatory(#24).
#25: The title Neuromancer alone is awesome.
So there, I hope you will now commence to read Neuromancer for the second time, and this time finish it. It’s on my list of must-reads for all of these 25 very good reasons. And if you’re a writer, then you can read it for the sake of becoming a better writer yourself (or a worse one, with more attitude).
The following links go straight to Google Book previews where you can read without paying money:
- Preview of Neuromancer on Google books.
- A scholarly paper, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and the Relation Between Mind and Body.
- A chapter of a book, called The Naughty Bits: The Steamiest and Most Scandalous Sex Scenes from the World’s Great Books, is devoted to Neuromancer.
- William Gibson’s Website.
- Follow Gibson on Twitter for terse, obscure and sarcastic tweets (he tweets regularly).