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Essay on Realities Redefined in William Gibson's Neuromancer

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Realities Redefined in William Gibson's Neuromancer


The ways in which characters communicate and interact with one another are redefined in William Gibson?s Neuromancer. An all-encompassing web of intrigue, the Net enables humans and non-humans to access and to communicate an infinite amount of data across time and space. Medical implants open another door on virtual communications. Non-living entities such as artificial intelligences and the Dixie Flatline construct overcome the physical barriers of communication. With the implementation of these new communications technologies, the physical and virtual realities of the society waver and meld into one another, resulting in an alienating cyber culture where this new reality of combined realities emerges.

For the protagonist Cage and other cyberspace cowboys, reality lies only in the ?bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void? (5). Cyberspace is where the biz is, and it is Cage?s life source. Jacking into a Sendai cyberspace deck, Cage can project his ?disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that [is] the matrix? (5). Indeed, it is a hallucination, a means of escape from physical reality. While surfing through cyberspace, Case sometimes forgets to eat, and he resents having to use a catheter or having to put his virtual world on pause to use a physical toilet. Case?s physical body is merely a case for his mind which interacts with cyberspace. While jacking into the Net releases Case into an infinite world of possibilities, this means of virtual communications also renders him dead to the physical world. Case?s electroencephalogram readings are flat lines when he overexerts himself in cyberspace. Briefly brain dead, Case half-conscio...


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... to servitude. They can rationalize and they can understand their ?otherness? from humans, making them unfeasible communications tools. Medical implants alienate humans from each other too. Riviera uses subliminal telepathic images to instil fear in others, while the simstim alienates Case from his own body. The complex matrix of cyberspace pulses with information and misinformation, and accessing it can alienate a person from his or her own physical realities, as well as induce a sense of insecurity because of the Net?s vulnerabilities. These new communications technologies in Gibson?s Neuromancer can overcome most physical barriers, but can they someday be incorporated into this cyber culture so that they will neither remain alienating nor provide a mere escapism from physical realities?

Works Cited

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1986.


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