pixel.gif America and The Utopian Dream Previous Image Next Page
Introduction Utopian Literature Dystopian Literature Utopian Communities
12345678910111213141516171819
pixel.gif
pixel.gif



Neuromancer

William Gibson. Neuromancer. London: V. Gollancz, 1985.

 

 

  pixel.gif  

WILLIAM GIBSON
Neuromancer

In William Gibson's Neuromancer, the city is an indiscriminate sprawl of virtual projections and imaginary boundaries. Gibson's book presents the urban environment as a topology of signals and nodes, a design that is structured from these nodes internally and then crystallizes as a matrix. We see how the "city" becomes a mental projection of those within it through the creation of virtual worlds. In its etymological roots, "building" means "to be, to exist, to grow." Cyberspace comes to represent human perception in the digital age, and the architectural construct of cyberspace proves analogous to the construct of the physical world previously.

In "Literary Architecture" (Frank) we see how humans perceive their environments in terms of boundaries they create in perceptions:

pixel.gif  "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:

pixel.gif "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.

 

 

pixel.gif