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Neuromancer by WilliamGibson (ISBN 0441569595 (alternate, search)).

It opens...

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. "It's not like I'm using," Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. "It's like my body's developed this massive drug deficiency." It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese

This novel won the grand slam of SciFi: HugoAward?, NebulaAward? and the the PhilipKDickAward?. It is very good. It coined the word "cyberspace":

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts...A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding...

Neuromancer is the first book in Gibson's Sprawl series. The other two being CountZero? and MonaLisaOverdrive?. They were written before the 'net was the 'net, and have that hard noir edge of CyberPunk to them that you find missing in today's haX0r friendly novels.

It's definitely required reading for Meatball folks. And I lost my copy of the book. Bummer. -- SunirShah

By the way, there was a big hoopla over a Neuromancer movie to come out in 2001 directed by Wiki:ChrisCunningham. However, the web page (http://www.neuromancer.org) is down. Hollywood hope, I guess. --ss

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If I recall correctly, WilliamGibson wrote Neuromancer using a typewriter. A manual typewriter. He didn't own a computer, and didn't really understand much about modern computer technology. That didn't stop him from writing an excellent story, however... --CliffordAdams

Here's a quote from an interview (http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/iplus/nonfiction/intwg.htm):

And yet the man who gave the world the term cyberpunk (and later regretted bitterly it) didn't really mean to get so high-tech. "Originally I didn't have the skill to make the characters convincing," admits Gibson when asked why Neuromancer's impact relied so heavily on a vivid yet disorientating sense of place and stunning, cutting-edge technology. The self-perceived deficiencies in characterisation meant he had to rely on hardware to give the book its gritty, down and dirty feel.

[After I wrote the "manual typewriter" line above, I thought "I'd better check this". In less than two minutes with Google, I found the interview above which also mentions the "manual typewriter" story. Wow. The Internet really works. :-] --CliffordAdams

If you like Neuromancer, you'll probably also enjoy TrueNames?, a VernorVinge story from three years earlier which also describes an immersive on-line world and superpowerful hackers. No "cyber-" lingo, but Vinge knows something about computers.


It's interesting that this book has remained relevant over the years, in spite of (or perhaps even because of) the dated perception of high technology. Dystopian fiction ages gracefully, I guess. --Jeremy

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