With the world going to hell in a handcart I figured I’d read some retro dystopian sci-fi. Many moons ago, in the distant reaches of 1984 when this book was published I was 12. Had I read it then – or at any subsequent point in my teens – I suspect I would have had my head boggled all the way to Timbuktu. Never mind I was cutting my baby sci-fi teeth on Interzone magazine (wrote my first ever cheque as a subscription to them). I was actually looking for Millennium in my local library when I came across Neuromancer.

It’s an odd read, from the perspective of 2017. The Matrix trilogy has been and gone and is now edging into vintage sci-fi itself. I have recently seen William Control, with his band the Neuromancers. I think of these bastard offspring of Depeche Mode and Joy Division when I consider the word. Lashings and lashings of spankings and rope. Not necessarily classic fiction. Here’s the boy in his tightie-whities (it was hard finding a blog appropriate video to add here!).

So consider me curious about this one. A short, sharp punch of cyber punk that sets up a trilogy. And I enjoyed it. Didn’t love it. There’s a fascination in there as to how the world of science and technology has advanced in comparison with the novel. I appreciated just how much of the ideas posited by Gibson made it wholesale into The Matrix (it being the other half’s favourite film, it has substantial watches in this household). It is also curious for the science that didn’t come to pass – there’s a wholesale acceptance of paper and print outs still existing, casting me back to my first job where I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time stripping the edges off daisy wheel printouts and filing things.

There’s a lot of sex, a lot of swearing, much tight trouser wearing a la Molly (aka Trinity). Much cosmetic enhancement; fascinating to someone who’s guilty pleasure is watching Botched in their dressing gown. A flawed hero with cerebral plug-ins, a mysterious femme. I like the bad boys, I cannot lie. Case was a tad boring as he flowed through the Matrix. Perhaps it was all the drugs he was mainlining. Riviera and his visual tricks intrigued me. Mad men without their own faces. Cracking stuff. I’ll be honest, it took me quite a while to read because I had difficulty digesting the science and technology even with my 2017 eyes. The Jane of 1984 would have crumbled back into the safe arms of David Eddings within 5 pages.

Jane of 2017 enjoyed this as a starting point. Went hunting for the next volumes, Count Zero & Mona Lisa Overdrive (which sounds perfect for the Botched connoisseur in me). Banged head off wall and resisted the siren song of the Kindle app. Until they were re-released rather fortuitously last week in paperback by Orion Books with lovely creamy clean pages (libraries are great but Neuromancer was disturbingly grubby). Even suggested to the boy we do the Matrix trilogy again.

Quote: “We have sealed ourselves away behind our money, growing inward, generating a seamless universe of self.”

Verdict: Good solid start to the series even if some concepts drifted on high past my non-technologically inclined mind. 3 / 5 stars. 

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