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Staff Feature: "Jacking into" cyberpunk

By Miranda Lu April 7, 2022

Inseo Kim Art

Set in the dystopian underworld of Chiba City, Japan, speculative fiction writer William Gibson’s landmark 1984 science-fiction noir novel ‘Neuromancer’ follows depraved excomputer hacker Henry Dorsett Case as he embarks on a heist in the matrix with tenacious cyborg Molly Millions and perfidious psychopath Peter Riviera. Often praised for its vivid imagery, sublime world-building and prophetic ideas, the novel is widely regarded as a seminal work in the cyberpunk subgenre and has captivated legions of science fiction lovers.


The book’s opening line, “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel,” is a prime example of Gibson’s evocative language and his ability to build worlds that are unfamiliar, yet at the same time, conceivable and vaguely recognizable. Trevor Hart, Special Education Department, first discovered ‘Neuromancer’ in high school while browsing through a bookstore and has since reread it several times. He appreciates the author’s distinct writing style and tone and the book’s relevant social commentary.


“Throughout the novel, Gibson uniquely explores several futuristic and speculative concepts—including the idea of corporate greed and technology taking over and how humanity would operate in such an environment—in a gritty and rebellious tone. He focuses on how people work together to survive and always connects the topics back to our real-life relationships and interactions,” Hart said.


Despite having been released almost 40 years ago, the book’s commentary on technology, personhood, memory, addiction and human connection continues to resonate with a diverse audience

Despite having been released almost 40 years ago, the book’s commentary on technology, personhood, memory, addiction and human connection continues to resonate with a diverse audience of readers, authors, filmmakers and game designers today. Its long-lasting legacy and influence is evident across many mediums, from the terminology and settings in the Wachowskis’ groundbreaking 1999 sci-fi action film “The Matrix '' to the characters and storylines in the popular roleplaying games Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2077.


“Since ‘Neuromancer’ was published decades ago, prior to the proliferation of the internet, it gives readers a perspective on where we were at the start of the digital age and where Gibson thought we would be now. The book also introduced the concept of cyberspace—a digital representation of a world we can walk into—which is highly informative on how technology has influenced the way we use, create and distribute information,” Hart said.


For those who are interested in the cyberpunk genre, Hart recommends the book for its prescient and insightful observations and commentaries on various aspects of modern society. Gibson’s unconventional style and his special talent for capturing otherworldly details and analyzing the peculiarity of life will likely continue to inspire countless science fiction readers, writers and creatives for years to come.


 

About the Contributors

Miranda Lu

Lifestyle Editor & Staff Feature Columnist


Miranda Lu is a junior at Leland High School and the School News and Lifestyle page editor for The Charger Account. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, upcycling things, watching movies, and sleeping.








Inseo Kim

Artist


Inseo Kim is a sophomore at Leland High School and an artist for The Charger Account. She doodles and listens to music whenever she gets the chance. In her free time, she makes origami hearts and takes care of her marimos.

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