The Otissito Review

Book Review: "Neuromancer" by William Gibson

NeuromancerI grabbed Neuromancer from the pile of books a co-worker gave me months ago to read at the beginning of the month because I needed something a bit shorter to fit into the days ahead of the new Brandon Sanderson book release. Neuromancer fit the bill because it’s only 300 pages long, making it possible to read the entire thing before the new book coming out without going over past the release date.

Most of the time I read science fiction books that are a little newer, released in the last 5 or 6 years, and that feature a pretty straightforward writing style. Neuromancer is definitely not one of those things. It’s a much older book that features a style of writing with lots of metaphors, philosophical questions, and so forth. That isn’t to say the book is bad, it’s just a lot different from my usual fare. Different enough that every so often I had to flip back a few pages and reread what I’d just finished to make sure I understood what the author was doing with the story.

Following the story was easy enough. I really liked the idea of specialized hackers who used their brains to power their hacking ability. It’s not something I haven’t seen before, but I do feel like the way Gibson did it was very well done. Probably better than the few other examples I’ve been exposed to in my reading. However, because the story was so short it was a little more difficult for me to get down deep and invest myself fully.

Whenever I read one of these older science fiction books I have to remind myself that I’m not part of the generation that these books were originally written for and that I need to make allowances because of it. These are great books, but my experience with this kind of science fiction is so limited. Perhaps I need to make a concerted effort to read more books from the 70s and 80s, or even earlier to increase my exposure.

Neuromancer is a critically acclaimed book, and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t deserve that acclaim. If you’ve never read it, give it a try.

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An unabashed fan of science fiction and fantasy books, television, and movies, he wants desperately to someday finish writing a complete novel from start to finish. Working as a web developer by trade, he owns a mighty collection of Star Wars legos, and is willing to talk about sports more than most are comfortable indulging.

3 Comments

  1. Joachim Boaz

    March 14, 2014 - 5:14 am
    Reply

    “These are great books, but my experience with this kind of science fiction is so limited. Perhaps I need to make a concerted effort to read more books from the 70s and 80s, or even earlier to increase my exposure.” — sounds like a great idea. A nice place to start is the Hugo and Nebula list…

      • Joachim Boaz

        March 14, 2014 - 9:56 am
        Reply

        As a place to start of course, there are some serious flaws with these types of awards (popularity at that time instead of lastin influence, merit, etc). I would also recommend delving into the nominees, they tend to be more inventive/radical/audacious….

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