I’m sure there are many authors to who I could give this honour, although there is one who does stand out in my mind. That man is William Gibson. I say this because I’m currently reading The Neuromancer, but also since the Matrix is really designed and thought up back in the 80’s. Most people believed in the Matrix after they saw Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss strutting around in leathers with attitude and really big guns. The whole idea of civilizations-fighting-machines-because-they-themselves-are-unconscious is not a new idea. If you look at Science Fiction, its a pretty common thread that most geeks were following, while everyone else went about being normal (i.e. holding down jobs, having kids, and feeling grown up in general).
What is cyberpunk?
It is an Armageddon genre. Most of the time is about the end of the world dawning on us. There are two common elements that separate it out. The first is Aritificial Intelligence. We’re a culture that is developing faster, than we can control and sometimes understand. You can go ahead and put technology in the same category. The machines have developed faster than humans, and this now brings me to the second theme in cyberpunk…Races and War.
What the End-of-the-World is really about is the termination of human life. There are many scenarios and theories as to how this will happen. Cyberpunk is about the human race fighting to survive and the conflict between us the enemy. Its a recipe for disaster as you can imagine… For a writer its a marvellous opportunity to create a whole new storyline and characters.
Back to the Book
Case has found a cure for the Matrix. It’s a very confusing read at first, because you’re thrown into an alien world with extreme technology and fast action. The more you read though, you start to identify with the characters. It’s a landmark in modern literature. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction and fantasy. Below I have included a more detailed review from geocities.com
The main character is Case, a washed-up cyber cowboy who’s expertise is jacking into computer systems and stealing whatever his employer wants. However, along the way, he gets too greedy and steals some for himself. When his employer finds out, his neural functioning is purposely damaged so that he can’t work at the same level again. The book opens when he is down and out, addicted to drugs, and scraping by with whatever job he can find. A strange character named Armitage offers him a job with the additional bribe of being repaired so that he can jack into systems again. However, it comes with a cost that literally forces Case to do what Armitage says, or die. He is teamed with a bodyguard-cum-partner in Molly, herself enhanced with computer electronics and weaponry. What follows is a wild ride through a future dominated by computers, biotechnology, and a dark, over-riding gloom. If you’ve ever seen the movie Blade Runner – that’s the feeling this story evokes.
This book can be enjoyed strictly as an edge of the seat thriller, but there is more to it if you care to look. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to an artificial intelligence that rivals the humans who created it. We also get a look at the damage done to humans by technology run amok. The issues raised are what we face today: the ethics of combining technology with human biology, our growing reliance on computers, the development of artificial intelligence, our growing reliance on technology to communicate, and the growing lack of human one on one connection.