LITERATURE: Neuromancer – Opening Thoughts

Nothing particularly striking with the writing, and though I may be surprised by the language, for any regular sci fi reader it's nothing unusual. The story plot, written in third person pov, has immediately established the protagonist as Case, a man who makes his living as a middleman in the black market in an area of Japan and evidently has crossed someone named Wage who is rumored to want him dead.

So there's an establishment of environment, including setting and a time period that we guess to be somewhere in the future; an introduction to the main character and some of his acquaintances; and conflict in both the danger of his job and the immediate threat from Wage, who may or may not turn out to be the antagonist.

For me, having not read this genre for quite a number of years, the strange words and names were as halting of the reading as Burgess' Clockwork Orange. I have read student short stories in the fantasy and science fiction stream and I'm sure now that my comments about the language of an alien world were not appreciated as well as off the mark. There is a particular way that strange words, such as kirnen for beer in Gibson's novel that needs to indicate by how it's used in the sentence exactly what it is since there's no place to look up the meaning if the author has made it up. One of the flaws I see in this genre when produced by new writers is the tendency to overexplain rather than by using a word in a sentence that allows the reader to come pretty close to an accurate guess. Gibson weaves his world in a highly skilled manner that gives the information the reader needs without resorting to infodump.

Little by little, I'm getting used to the mood and rhythm of the narrative–the rhythm being somewhat like a detective story, another genre I haven't read lately–and I'm looking forward to reading on.

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