Neuromancer shares with other seminal works of fiction, the ability to imagine a new world. That it merges the dystopinaism of a future cyberworld barely imagined at the time it was written, with jagged, staccato writing and a confusing plot line is to its misfortune, but has not prevented it from becoming one of the touchstones of its genre and for long an underground cult favourite.
The strange thing is, that when one strips away the new vocabulary and the striking visual images, what one is left with is actually a hard boiled detective novel, sharing its literary DNA with the likes of Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe. Characters such as these almost define modern film noir, and indeed, when we look at our mental images of Neuromancer what we are most commonly drawn to is Japanese anime and Blade Runner. Gibson himself remarked that Blade Runner came along at the wrong time, because everyone would think he copied from it (he denies that). Other movies like Tron and Dark City are the inheritors of the legacy Gibson left behind, together with the most famous of them: the Matrix.
Neuromancer relates he adventures of Case, a hacker no longer able to hack. It opens in The Chatsubo, a bar in the Night City zone of Chiba City. Case was once a cyberspace cowboy, an exceptionally gifted individual who was able to enter a computerized shared reality, referred to as cyberspace or the matrix, and manipulate the digital world. Cyberspace has many millions of users, but only a select handful have the skill to be able to access any part of the matrix and obtain nearly any data on any system. Case is hired to enter the matrix and…well, it’s not important, really. The plot hardly matters except as a clothesline to hang out all the prescient visions Gibson had when imagining our current and future world.