Archive

Posts Tagged ‘neuromancer’

Book Review: Neuromancer by William Gibson

March 28, 2011 5 comments

Blue book coverSummary:
Billy Case used to be the best cowboy in the matrix–the digital world you plug yourself into.  But then he pissed off the wrong boss who had his neurons fried so he can’t jack in anymore.  Case has been biding his time waiting to die in Japan, until a mysterious woman named Molly shows up.  She’s tricked out with blades that emerge from under her fingernails and sunglasses built into her skull.  She says her boss has a job for Case and will fix his neurons, beginning the adventure of Case’s life.

Review:
This is a good example of how to effectively drop a reader into a completely unfamiliar world and explain nothing and yet have enough make sense for the reader to be invested in the outcome for the characters.  Gibson doesn’t explain much to the reader, and yet what doesn’t make sense eventually clicks into place if the reader is persistent enough in the reading.

The settings vary from a creatively imagined future Japan to a Rastafarian space station to what is essentially Miami in outer space.  They are all immediately engrossing and intriguing.  What led the world to develop this way in Gibson’s imagination?  That is never entirely clear, but that’s part of the fun.  After all, when is it ever entirely clear why the world works out the way it does?

By far the most interesting character is Molly.  Like a Whedon heroine, she kicks ass and takes no names.  She is not just brains or brawn; she is both.  Case pales abundantly in comparison to her, and he knows it.  Although they do hook up, he states that Molly could never really be anyone’s woman.  She is her own.  Molly’s life is incredibly more interesting than Case’s, and perhaps one of the more frustrating parts of the book is that we only get to see of her what Case gets to see.  The book is not about her; it is about Case’s experiences with her.  Yet that is also what makes the book intriguing.  She flits into and out of Case’s life and yet will linger forever in his memory as someone significant.

Of course, I would be remiss to review this classic piece of scifi without mentioning the impact its imaginings of the internet would have.  Obviously there is the matrix and plugging in concepts.  The idea of the internet as something that you participate in in a 3D manner.  The concept of AI as a computer rather than as a robot.  The list goes on and on.  If you’re a scifi fan and have not read this book, you really need to.  It is clear from page one what an impact Gibson has had on the genre.

The plot itself is convoluted and confusing.  I’m still not entirely sure I understand exactly what happened.  Yet I’m also not sure Case understands exactly what happened either.  This is one of the few times I’ve finished a book and instantly wanted to re-read it, hoping to understand it a bit better the second time around.  Yet such a convoluted plot is a bit distracting when there is so much else wonderful going on.  It holds the book back from being superb.

Overall, this piece of classic scifi is an interesting character study and immersion in a different world.  It would be interesting to anyone who enjoys that type of experience in their reading, but is also a must-read for anyone who considers themselves a scifi fanatic.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: SwapTree

Buy It

Imminent Arrivals and TBR #2

July 15, 2010 8 comments

The first time I did an Imminent Arrivals and TBR post it turned out to be surprisingly popular with you guys. Yay!  So I decided to continue doing them periodically.

Imminent Arrivals (books with the shortest estimated arrival from PaperBackSwap)

Paintbrush on woman's chest.Top of the queue is Blindspot by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore.  I honestly have no idea what this book is about, but Jane Kamensky was my advisor for my History major in university.  She mysteriously took a year’s sabbatical and only told us later it was to write this book.  She specializes in US History, particularly women’s roles and colonial New England.  I kind of heart her.  A lot.  She’s a brilliant woman and taught me so much.  How could I not read her book?

Woman in a red dress.Next is Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.  You guys know that I don’t normally do fantasy, but the concept of a woman convicted of murder being offered the choice between immediate death or being the food taster for the Commander of Ixia really struck me.  There’s a lot of room for interesting plot there from the methods and types of poisoning to free will to the original murder.  I’m curious and hopeful this will be a door into fantasy for me.  Or at least a window.

Woman standing in front of a city skyline.Third in line is Deadtown by Nancy Holzner.  It sounds largely like your typical paranormal plot-line (woman must keep people safe from monsters) but it’s set in Boston!  I mean I have to read anything set in Boston that isn’t about the Irish mob.  I get so sick of Boston equating Irish mob in people’s heads.  Anyway, it also appears to feature every type of paranormal creature you can imagine, so it should at least be entertaining.

TBR

Woman's blurry face.I’m trying to dig down to the books that have been in my TBR pile the longest.  First is S by John Updike.  After reading The Witches of Eastwick and enjoying it, I poked around to see what else Updike has written.  I have a weakness for epistolary novels, and this one is a bit unique in that it is set in the 1960s as opposed to the 1800s or some such.  The letters are also from a woman living on a religious commune.  It all sounds rather fascinating, but I’m not sure if I’m in the mood for what could be a slow-paced novel right now.

Woman wearing a glowing necklace.Also sitting on the TBR shelf for a while is Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.  It was recommended to me by a friend due to my love of Margaret Atwood.  I honestly didn’t even read the summary at the time, just bought it.  Allow me to go look at the blurb.  Ok.  It’s set in the future and is about a woman who is an empath–a person who is crippled by the pain of others.  Ohhh, this sounds really good!

Wires.Finally there’s Neuromancer by William Gibson, which was recommended to me by an IT geek friend of mine.  It’s about a computer cowboy who gets banished from cyberspace (I think it’s fairly obvious that this is set in the future).  Rumors of a movie keep circulating, so I do want to get on this relatively soon.  I just hope it won’t disappoint me the way Feed did (review).

There we have it!  Please tell me what you think, my lovely readers!

Friday Fun! (Featuring My Niece and Swaptree)

January 15, 2010 14 comments

My lovely loyal readers and friends, so sorry there’s been no book reviews this week!  The book I’m currently reading is really long, and I’m not enjoying it that much so the pace of my reading is a bit below average.  I definitely should ring in next week with a review though, as it’s almost done!

This week I played pub trivia for the first time and discovered that I am not good at trivia.  This is funny and ironic cause I know lots of random facts, but apparently I don’t know trivia type facts.  I mean, really, who’s a tall athletic actor who guest starred in 1970s tv shows?  Jeez, I dunno.  I also didn’t enjoy that the music to keep teams from overhearing each other meant that I had to yell all night.  That’s only worth it for a concert.  Ah well.  Lesson learned.  I guess I should stick to arcade games, pool tables, and dart boards when we go out.

Some of you are aware that I welcomed my first niece into the world on December 23rd.  My brother and my sister-in-law made the choice to have her, even though she has Down Syndrome.  I know they have plenty of love in their hearts for a special baby, and they are just wonderful with her.  Unfortunately, one of the elements of Down Syndrome is that the babies almost all have heart problems.  They usually operate on the babies at 6 months (I have no idea why at that particular point, but I’m sure there’s a reason).  Anyway, due to the heart condition, my niece is not very strong.  She struggled to learn how to eat.  I guess that takes a lot of energy she didn’t have at first.  Finally she gained enough weight and was eating well enough to come home.  I was going to go meet her and visit my brother and father this weekend, but unfortunately she had to get readmitted to the hospital.  She wasn’t gaining weight, which babies are supposed to do.  This is of course difficult for my brother and sister-in-law who also have an almost 3 year old little boy to take care of and a small farm to run.  Thankfully, most of my family lives near them so they have lots of help.  I wish there was something I could do from a distance to help my brother, but there’s not much beyond being an ear to listen when he needs to talk.

In much happier news, allow me to tell you guys about Swaptree.  Swaptree allows you to list books you have but don’t want and books you want, and then it sets up 1:1 trades for you (or you can browse and request trades yourself).  This works extra well since they set up 3 way trades, which helps you find a lot more books.  The matches they make are in no particular order on your want list, so it’s a bit of a surprise what you get, particularly if your want list is as long as mine.  Since part of ringing in the new year was weeding my personal library, I excitedly decided to try this out.  It’s so awesome!  So far I’ve gotten rid of 8 books for books on my tbr list.  For those wondering, my weeded books were mainly textbooks I will never ever read again, some romance novels that came to my library for free that my boss gave me, and books from a point in my deconversion when I was wondering if maybe I should be pagan.  For the record, I’m not pagan.  I guess I’m deist.  Anywho, so the books I’ve received in exchange so far are:

  • Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford
    Do not mock me.  I have a thing for memoirs.
  • Living the Simple Life by Elaine St. James
    I’m a big fan of minimalism, and this was highly recommended on minimalist blogs.
  • The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
    Yes, another paranormal romance.  However, it’s supposed to be a comical one which will change things up a bit.
  • Life, The Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
    I’ve already read this, but I love love LOVE the Hitchhiker series, and didn’t (still don’t actually) own them all, so I’m fleshing out the “trilogy.”
  • Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
    This memoir is by a woman whose fundamentalist Christian parents sent her to the same reform school in the Dominican Republic that my cousin’s parents sent her to, so I was intrigued.
  • Wild Swans by Jung Chang
    I realized I haven’t read much non-western lit lately, and I enjoyed the nonwestern lit I read in college.  This memoir is about three generations of Chinese women, and I think it looks really good!
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
    A classic scifi book that my nerdy friends have been berating me for not having read. 😉
  • Feed by M. T. Anderson
    A dystopian book about our heads being plugged into computers.  Right up my alley.

All those books and my personal library size hasn’t increased at all!  I encourage you guys to check Swaptree out.  The only costs associated are shipping, and you can print labels directly from the website for extra ease.  Each book costs around $2.46 to ship.

Have a nice long weekend, everyone!  Rock on Martin Luther King Jr!