by William Gibson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441569595
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1986
Series: Sprawl Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 21,080
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.81(h) x 0.85(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Gibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of Count Zero, Burning Chrome, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History, Distrust That Particular Flavor, and The Peripheral. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Date of Birth:

March 17, 1948

Place of Birth:

Conway, South Carolina


B.A., University of British Columbia, 1977

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

            “It’s not like I’m using,” Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. “It’s like my body’s developed this massive drug deficiency.” It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese.

            Ratz was tending bar, h is prosthetic arm jerking monotonously as he filled a tray of glasses with draft Kirin. He saw Case and smiled, his teeth a webwork of East European steel and brown decay. Case found a place at the bar, between the unlikely tan on one of Lonny Zone’s whores and the crisp naval uniform of a tall African whose cheekbones were ridged with precise rows of tribal scars. “Wage was in her early, with two joeboys,” Ratz said, shoving a draft across the bar with his good hand. “Maybe some business with you, Case?”

            Case shrugged. The girl to his right giggled and nudged him.

            The bartender’s smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it. The antique arm whined as he reached for another mug. It was a Russian military prosthesis, a seven-function force-feedback manipulator, cased in grubby pink plastic. “You are too much the artiste, Herr Case.” Ratz grunted; the sound served him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. “You are the artiste of the slightly funny deal.”

            “Sure,” Case said, and sipped his beer. “Somebody’s gotta be funny around here. Sure the fuck isn’t you.”

            The whore’s giggle went up an octave.

            “Isn’t you either, sister. So you vanish, okay? Zone, he’s a close personal friend of mine.”

            She looked Case in the eye and made the softest possible spitting sound, her lips barely moving. But she left.

            “Jesus,” Case said, “what kinda creepjoint you running here? Man can’t have a drink?”

            “Ha,” Ratz said, swabbing the scarred wood with a rag, “Zone shows a percentage. You I let work here for entertainment value.”

            As Case was picking up his beer, one of those strange instants of silence descended, as though a hundred unrelated conversations had simultaneously arrived at the same pause. Then the whore’s giggle rang out, tinged with certain hysteria.

            Ratz grunted. “An angel has passed.”

            “The Chinese,” bellowed a drunken Australian, “Chinese bloody invented nerve-splicing. Give me the mainland for a nerve job any day. Fix you right, mate…;”

            “Now that,” Case said to his glass, all his bitterness suddenly rising in him like bile, “that is so much bullshit.”


            The Japanese had already forgotten more neurosurgery than the Chinese had ever known. The black clinics of Chiba were the cutting edge, whole bodies of technique supplanted monthly, and still they couldn’t repair the damage he’d suffered in that Memphis hotel.

            A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he’d taken and the corners he’d cut in Night City, and still he’d see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void…;The Sprawl was a long strange way home over the Pacific now, and he was no console man, no cyberspace cowboy. Just another hustler, trying to make it through. But the dreams came on in the Japanese night like livewire voodoo, and he’d cry for it, cry in his sleep, and wake alone in the dark, curled in his capsule in some coffin hotel, his hands clawed into the bedslab, temperfoam bunched between his fingers, trying to reach the console that wasn’t there.


            “I saw your girl last night,” Ratz said, passing Case his second Kirin.

            “I don’t have one,” he said, and drank.

            “Miss Linda Lee.”

            Case shook his head.

            “No girl? Nothing? Only biz, friend artiste? Dedication to commerce?” The bartender’s small brown eyes were nested deep in wrinkled flesh. “I think I liked you better, with her. You laughed more. Now, some night, you get maybe too artistic; you wind up in the clinic tanks, spare parts.”

            “You’re breaking my heart, Ratz.” He finished his beer, paid and left, high narrow shoulders hunched beneath the rainstained khaki nylon of his windbreaker. Threading his way through the Ninsei crowds, he could smell his own stale sweat.


            Case was twenty-four. At twenty-two, he’d been a cowboy, a rustler, one of the best in the Sprawl. He’d been trained by the best, by McCoy Pauley and Bobby Quine, legends in the biz. He’d operated on an almost permanent adrenaline high, a byproduct of youth and proficiency, jacked into a custom cyberspace deck hat projected his disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix. A their, he’d worked for other, wealthier thieves, employers who provided the exotic software required to penetrate the bright walls of corporate systems, opening windows into rich fields of data.

            He’s made the classic mistake, the one he’s sworn he’d never make. He stole from his employers. He kept something for himself and tried to move it through a fence in Amsterdam. He still wasn’t sure how he’d been discovered, not that it mattered now. He’d expected to die, then but they only smiled. Of course he was welcome, they told him, welcome to the money. And he was going to need it. Because––still smiling––they were going to make sure he never worked again.

            They damaged his nervous system with a wartime Russian mycotoxin.

            Strapped to a bed in a Memphis hotel, his talent burning out micron by micron, he hallucinated for thirty hours.

            The damage was minute, subtle, and utterly effective.

            For Case, who’d lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it was the Fall. In the bars he’d frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of his own flesh.


            His total assets were quickly converted to New Yen, a fat sheaf of the old paper currency that circulated endlessly through the closed circuit of the world’s black markets like the seashells of the Trobriand islanders. It was difficult to transact legitimate business with cash in the Sprawl; in Japan, it was already illegal.

            In Japan, he’d known with a clenched and absolute certainty, he’d find his cure. In Chiba. Either in a registered clinic or in the shadowland of black medicine. Synonymous with implants, nerve-splicing, and microbionics, Chiba was a magnet for the Sprawl’s techno-criminal subcultures.

            In Chiba, he’d watched his New Yen vanish in a two-month round of examinations and consultations. The men in the black clinics, his last hope, had admired the expertise with which he’d been maimed, and then slowly shaken their heads.

            Now he slept in the cheapest coffins, the ones nearest the port, beneath the quartz-halogen floods that lit the docks all night like vast stages; where you couldn’t see the lights of Tokyo for the glare of the television sky, not even the towering hologram logo of the Fuji Electric Company, and the Tokyo Bay was a black expanse where gulls wheeled above drifting shoals of white styrofoam. Behind the port lay the city, factory domes dominated by the vast cubes of corporate arcologies. Port and city were divided by a narrow borderland of older streets, an area with no official name. Night City, with Ninsei its heart. By day, the bars down Ninsei were shuttered and featureless, the neon dead, the holograms inert, waiting, under the poisoned silver sky.


—Reprinted from Neuromancer by William Gibson by permission of Berkley, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 1984, William Gibson. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A mind-bender of a read." —The Village Voice

"Freshly imagined, compellingly detailed, and chilling in its implications." —New York Times

"Kaleidoscopic, picaresque, flashy and amazing virtuoso performance." —Washington Post


Customer Reviews

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Neuromancer 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 441 reviews.
wbshreves More than 1 year ago
Neuromancer should be on the top of any Sci-fi fans must read list. What can you say about a book that launched an entire sub-genre of literature? With a breakthrough image of the future that we become a little closer to each day, William Gibson has inspired his fellow authors, futurists, and tech guru's since the day it was published. How many other works of art have reached a level of influence that in spawns a whole world with its own spinoffs in the works of Shadowrun? Read it. If you have ever dreamed of the future, wanted to see the internet you surf, or use technology to make yourself a better YOU Neuromancer contains all of that and more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, I have to say that I was introduced to this novel by seeing, loving and researching The Matrix. I believe that the movie was just absolutely fantastic and amazing and any other adjective that I can think of (Just not at the moment). So, I picked up this book from the library to see what it was all about.
It was pretty good basically sums it up. It had innovative settings and ideas and was generally awesome all around, but I just didn't like how sometimes certain technologies were never explained or were only barely mentioned. That's fine if it is just mentioned in passing, but when you linger on them and detail them without saying what they actually do, that kind of frustrated me.
Other than that, this book was what I like to call perfect. Everything about it was expertly crafted and written, and I highly recommend it to people interested in cyperbunk or just basic science fiction. I will be getting a copy for my own library.
Kilroy6644 More than 1 year ago
For years I'd heard about what a great book this is, and how it was one of the defining novels of cyberpunk. Unfortunately, I was not interested in cyberpunk, or Neuromancer. Recently, however, my attitude changed, and decided to pick it up. I'm sorry I waited so long. Neuromancer is, almost 30 years after it was published, still refreshingly original. Having read it, I can see the influence it's had on other books and movies, yet it feels different from all of its "offspring." Now that I've finished it, what began as a passing interest, "to see what it's all about," has grown into a deep fascination, and I'm looking forward to picking up more of Gibson's books.
JesseJ07 More than 1 year ago
Neuromancer is by no means a long novel, it is under 400 pages composed of many short chapters; this does not mean it is anything like an "easy read." Gibson consistently uses words that laymen, or persons-not-from-the-future, will not know in context. Reading this book today the reader most likely feels as if he's missed some crucial background info, possibly a predecessor to the novel that he didn't know existed, but that is not the case with Neuromancer. Throughout the book Gibson weaves his tale while not divulging every detail or aspect about it. By giving the reader a very narrow realistic view, through the eyes of the protagonist, and using technical jargon not invented yet the reader is almost coerced to put himself into the story and try to unravel what is taking place. All of this can make for a confusing read to many readers- and the brilliance of Gibson's work can easily be overlooked. I cannot recommend this book for everyone or even avid fans of science fiction. I can only say that I view it as an important book in the history of the science fiction genre and look at it as progenitor to other great masterpieces such as Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. The story of Neuromancer is exciting but difficult to follow if it fails to grab your attention thoroughly. It won't be uncommon to get confused by the plot while reading Neuromancer but as long as you're attentive and keep reading any conflict should resolve itself as the story unfolds. If you're a science fiction fan looking for a challenging read and interested in a classic then you should pick up Neuromancer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While at times i had to stop and read a paragraph or two over, it was still an understandable and entertaining book. I would definitely recommend to a sci-fi fan, but i think any of the newer generations can appreciate it
Janus More than 1 year ago
The most important thing to keep in mind when reading 'Neuromancer' is that it was the first to do what it does. Before there was the Matrix trilogy, before iPods and 3D broadcasting home televisions, there was 'Neuromancer'. Written at the same time the very first home PC was released, Gibson envisioned a vast network of connected information called 'cyberspace'. People who sought to break into the databases of others would use their technical skills to link up with the Matrix and and break through layers of ICE to steal information. So basically, Gibson envisioned the internet as we know it, hackers and firewalls. The writing itself is actually pretty confusing. This is also the book that created the genre of cyber-punk, so it is very technically laden and can be mind boggling at times. The story itself is pretty interesting about an AI that seeks autonomy. The characters aren't all that original, in fact almost all of them feel like stereotypical mid 80's action film characters. Perhaps with the exception of the psychotic Riviera. I chose to read 'Neuromancer' because of all the reviews that referred to it as a mind bender. To that I must disagree. I will say that one chapter is VERY mind bending, but the rest, not so much; pretty straight forward actually. But that also may be me viewing the story through the lens of someone who has lived with things like the internet for most of my life. Either way, it is still a good book and an easy read for the most part.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one's a classic for a reason. This is the book that spawned Cyberpunk, and includes the seeds of ideas that would give us Bladerunner (Do Androids Dream), and eventually The Matrix. So revolutionary that things I've loved have been cribbing off it for years without my knowledge. Good to finally be able to give credit where it's due! This one's a must read, whether you're in it for the detective story, the action, or the cybernetic enhancements. Great stuff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. Just wow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool as Hosaka Ice, sharp like a razorgirl, Straylight dangerous. Everything you love comes from this.
FireHorse More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. One of those that started the cyberpunk genre. Like other good literature, it's a story that works on many levels. Gibson explores a lot of themes that have since become staples. What is humanity? What is love? If I experience something so intensely I can't tell it from reality, is it real? And can reality compare? Gibson's prose is at times like one of Van Gogh's paintings. Broad strokes of words that suggest something without providing any fine detail. At other times, he exhibits a laser-like focus and precision, forcing the reader to see something with absolute clarity. His characters are flawed, but by no means simple. Tragic and believable. Reflections of both the dystopian society they inhabit, and our own. So when you read it, don't think to yourself "Gosh, I've seen that a hundred times." Instead think "Dang, this is where those others got the idea!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'll make this short. The books characters and ideas were more than a bit strange to begin with but had enough substance to hook me into reading it. However, by he time I had gotten halfway through it I had lost all interest in the book. It didn't really seem to have a point and if it had a point it had a very obtuse way of making it. Also the characters had gotten more and more weird and less and less interesting. At that point I stopped reading it which I do with maybe 5-10% of any book I start to read. Watching the grass grow would probably be more interesting than reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Orgasm. Creates a genre, lexicon/vernaculer(?), world of immense edge of tommorrow. With an iconic character Molly/Sally(who apears in later works), stuff soon to be, and stuff that has been surpassed already, I am only left with a sense of awe. Worshiping of "false" idol a sin? Than deem me guilty and send me to a silicon valley hell
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No doubt some will proclaim that Gibson's choppy, stuttering prose is meant to reflect the setting of this dark story. Intentional or not, it makes for a decidedly unpleasant read. The uneven pacing and drug addled perspective of the POV character makes for a fairly boring read. I found myself unimpressed with the setting (scene setting is quite sparse.) and uninterested in the characters. I would only recommend this novel for hardened fans of the cyberpunk sub-genre. Go for Richard Morgan's Thirteen for a better written novel in a similiar setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure why this was called a new trend setter back in it's day. Those of you over 60 will recognize the writing style as Micky Spillanes in his "Mike Hammer" series.......with profanity, sex. and sci-fi trappings. If it were music it would be Bill Haley and the Comets VS Brian Eno.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, cyberpunk is not a very good genre. Most cyberpunk authors generally rehash whatever Philip K Dick book they like the most, and Gibson is no exception. The characters are tired-they're cardboard cutouts-as are the AI machines that the characters encounter. This book has its excellent parts, but the basic idea of plugging one's brain into a computer directly is not explored very well, so thinking readers would be better off watching The Matrix. Neuromancer is not a bad book, and it's certainly unique, but it does not stand up to earlier works of science fiction and its main ideas have been explored more fully in The Matrix and modern Anime.
m3thuselah on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A science-fiction classic and fundamental building block of later works. Gibson weaves a masterful tale of society and technology, how the advancement of computing and it's application into all aspects of humanity have influenced human evolution. Many seemingly well-known and public domain ideas actually come from Gibson and this book. Probably best suited to those from a technical background, Gibson's pace is breakneck and you often find yourself reading the same paragraph a few times to understand what is actually happening.
williamhertling on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I've reread this book perhaps ten times. I easily count it as my favorite book, although I think it has some drawbacks: I'm not a fan of the voodoo mysticism, and some of the prose is impenetrable. But like an exotic sports car, you accept some tradeoffs for stunning performance in other ways, and that's true of Neuromancer as well.
jeffjardine on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I only managed to get halfway through the audiobook of Neuromancer read by Addison. There is a lot of jargon and terse prose, and the audio format made it difficult to parse. Deciphering Gibson's world is probably intended to be part of the experience of reading this book and I was left with the impression that this would be made easier and more enjoyable by actually seeing the words. I'm currently halfway through an audiobook of Snow Crash, another entry in the cyberpunk canon, and finding it much more accessible.It is hard to believe this was published in 1984. The book is quite prescient, and that's always a plus when reading old sci-fi. Combining the noirish atmosphere with the unconventional prose, my overall impression was one of style over substance.
gypsysmom on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Neuromancer was written in 1983 which makes it 27 years old. Unlike some science fiction it does not seem at all dated. There are devices and events that haven't happened but nothing I could see was incapable of happening. Perhaps the only event referred to that shows the time of writing is the Screaming Fist episode that Armitage was involved in. It was an ambush in Russia by US special forces to try to destroy the Russian nexus. If Gibson was writing now it might have been China or Korea or even Pakistan. But that's it as far as I could see for letting events at the time of writing colour the events of the future.Case is a console cowboy (or computer hacker as we would think of him) who tried to take a piece of the pie for himself. His bosses destroyed his ability to connect to cyberspace (a term that didn't exist in 1983 and that Gibson is credited with inventing) so he is living in Japan trying to make a living with illicit substance dealing and using quite a bit himself. He's on a slow trajectory to death. He's virtually broke and he owes a lot of money. When the hired gun Molly tracks him to the coffin room he rents by the week he has just been ripped off by his girlfriend. Molly takes him to meet Armitage who is putting together a team of people with distinctive talents. As Case eventually finds out they are needed to infiltrate the defences of one of the world's major corporations, Tessier-Ashpool. Case and Molly team up to discover who Armitage is and for whom he is working. Case gets his computer networking powers back but Armitage tells him that he has been fitted with small sacs that contain a virus that will put him back into the same position unless he is injected with an antidote that only Armitage has. So it is in Case's best interests to help Armitage complete his job.Tessier-Ashpool has a powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) named Wintermute. Wintermute is the 'person' who hired Armitage and his gang. The job that Wintermute wants done is to free Wintermute from the bindings that prevent him from acting independently. Although it seemed to me that Wintermute had incredible powers there were a few things it could not do. One of the powers Wintermute had was to appear to Case and the others as a person they knew in real life. These constructs would help or motivate the team members because they seemed real.I can see how this book won all the SF awards going at the time it was published. It's an incredibly detailed and imaginative work. I'm glad I finally took the opportunity to read it. IMDb says there is a movie in production due for release in 2011. That should be interesting to see.
sfisk on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A classic, if you read one "cyber punk" book, this should be the one
beserene on LibraryThing 8 months ago
What can you say about the book that defined cyberpunk and, therefore, much of science fiction in the last two decades? Only this: not as smooth a read as I would have expected, but facinating never the less. Whatever post-modern technology is, you can bet that Gibson thought of it first.
Bellenuitoeil on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Classic sci-fi. Not the most accessible, though
dreamweaversunited on LibraryThing 8 months ago
My favorite part of this book was the description. The author has such a way with words. From the very first sentence I knew this would be a immersive book to engage all the senses.The reason for the 3-star review is that I found all the characters besides Case and Molly to be poorly drawn, and the plot was very confusing. I'm still not sure what the difference is between Wintermute and Neuromancer, and why Case worked for one and not the other.
phaga on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I had a hard time getting into this book at first. The internet concept he uses was a little hard to grasp at first. After a while everything started to gel and it made a lot more sense. I actually look forward to the other books in the series.
conformer on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I re-read this book every year, and each time new facets of Gibson's budding style are revealed. It's aged a bit in the twenty-odd years since its debut, most noticably in its bursts of neon purple glamour-punk prose, but it still has plenty of staying power with mysterious badass characters, fanciful yet practical zero-gravity backdrops, semi-crazy computers, looney dynastic recluses, and the notion that in the 21st Century, the body is meat and even more disposable than before. Gibson's subsequent canons are very different, comparatively subdued, and in the case of his more recent work, can hardly be called science fiction at all. So, it's refreshing to go back every now and then and revisit "cyberpunk's" humble, if slightly silly, modern beginnings.