|"Man's main difference is that he imagines his consciousness or experience to be bounded in particular space, (walls, bodies, time) while what is outside his personal realm he imagines to be boundless."|
The fact that Gibson's cyberspace stretches beyond the realm of human consciousness makes that cyberspace ideal for the utopian imagination. He defines cyberspace for the first time in this novel:
|"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.”|
The nonspace of the novel matches a favorite utopian pun: “No Place,” as Thomas More has it.
Gibson produced his vision in a time when many people were becoming haunted by the idea of urban decay, rampant crime, corruption everywhere. Just as readers of the 50s looked obsessively for signs that Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four was coming true, some readers keep an eye out for the emergence of cyberpunk's nightmare world in contemporary reality.