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Apathy and Addiction in William Gibson's Neuromancer Essay

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Apathy and Addiction in Neuromancer

 
  In the postmodern world of William Gibson's Neuromancer, nature is dead, and the world is run by the logic of the corporate machine. Confronted by a reality that is stark, barren, and metallic, and the hopelessness that this reality engenders, the postmodern protagonist, like Case, often immerses himself or herself in an alternate form of reality that is offered in the form of addiction (to virtual reality or drugs, for example), addictions that are made possible by the same society that makes an escape desirable. Such addictions are logical products of the post-modern capitalist society because they perpetuate the steadfast power of the corporation by allowing would-be dissidents an escape from reality, thereby preventing successful rebellion and maintaining the pervasive societal apathy necessary to allow the corporation to dominate undeterred. Case, as the addictive anti-hero, is a product of this stifling cycle of apathy. Lacking the motivation or drive to instigate any true change in his reality, he avoids the unpleasant realities of his world by entering into the altered reality of addiction.

 

In the reality of the postmodern world, where nature is gone and has been replaced by technology, where the world and humankind have become fused with the machine, and the existence of morality and reality are uncertain, it is difficult to find hope for a better existence or motivation to attempt to change one's existence. Addiction then becomes a logical avenue of escape from these bleak circumstances--not affecting reality, but transforming it into something bearable. The addictions that Case turns to allow him to escape from the hard reality of his life th...


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...e Fiction, and Some Comics. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan UP, 1994.

 

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace-Berkeley, 1984.

---. Interview with Larry McCaffrey. Storming the Reality Studio. Larry McCaffrey, ed. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1992. 263-285.

 

Grant, Glenn. "Transcendence Through Detournement in William Gibson's Neuromancer." Science Fiction Studies. 17 (1990). 41-49.

 

Hollinger, Veronica. "Cybernetic Deconstruction." Storming the Reality Studio. Larry McCaffrey, ed. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1992.

 

Jameson, Frederick. "Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" New Left Review. 146 (July-August 1984) Rpt in Storming the Reality Studio. Larry McCaffrey, ed. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1992.

 

Slusser, George. "Literary MTV." Storming the Reality Studio. Larry McCaffrey, ed.       Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1992.

 


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