I was going to finish my series with thoughts about the language of Neuromancer and Cyberpunk. The preface of Mirrorshades describes the genre as having “compressed” prose, as Professor Sample said in class. I have to wonder if it’s only that way because of Gibson’s influence; his writing in Pattern Recognition has a very similar style. But now that I’ve been reminded what our prompt was, I’m just going to link you to the funniest video use of Neuromancer. Ever.
I’ll be honest: there isn’t a lot in this book that I find especially foreign. I am familiar with cyberpunk, and am used to seeing the kind of vocabulary used in this novel. I did have trouble identifying the actual, physical location of the Sprawl, but by the end of chapter 2 I already suspected the American East Coast. I still can’t tell you how big the “coffins” are. At first I thought they were just sleeping shells, then people were sitting up in them. Then having sex. I get a claustrophobic feel to it- like a sweaty shirt clinging to the skin- about Molly and Case being in a single coffin. And then, the Cobra. Is it an extendable baton, like an asp? Then it’s described as a metal whip, but then again, people “whip their asps out” in the real world, and things “whip around.” But we already discussed some of this in class today, in our little groups.
Normally, the pacing doesn’t throw me too much. I like the way it jumps back and forth. It reminds me of tabs in a browser, of the way that, when nagivating the Internet, the content you’re viewing and the time it was uploaded and the very framing device you’re using can completely change, repeatedly, in instants. The action scenes are harder to digest. For example, when Linda dies at the end of Part 1, I had to read it several times. In terms of setting, I’m not too confused- but I’m having trouble identifying what actual, physical actions the characters are taking. For me, the book is focusing a lot more on moods and abstract geography. There’s enough details there for me to drift without feeling lost- it’s the real, physical actions that get skipped over, and leave me feeling weird. I wonder if that was intentional. It could be Gibson’s attempt to draw me into the world he’s created, and to make me relieved to leave the messy world of flesh and get back into the vast, abstract vistas of Cyberspace.
In the future my blogs will be more focused on the text itself, like the end of this post. 😉