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Neuromancer - William Gibson - NEW Book

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Neuromancer - William Gibson -  NEW Book

Neuromancer - William Gibson - NEW Book

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Henry Dorsett Case is a low-level hustler in the dystopian underworld of Chiba City, Japan. Once a talented computer hacker, Case was caught stealing from his employer. As punishment for his theft, Case's central nervous system was damaged with a mycotoxin, leaving him unable to use his brain-computer interface to access the global computer network in cyberspace. Unemployable, addicted to drugs, and suicidal, Case desperately searches the Chiba "black clinics" for a miracle cure. Case is saved by Molly Millions, an augmented "street samurai" and mercenary for a shadowy ex-military officer named Armitage, who offers to cure Case in exchange for his services as a hacker. Case jumps at the chance to regain his life as a "console cowboy," but neither Case nor Molly know what Armitage is really planning. Case's nervous system is repaired using new technology that Armitage offers the clinic as payment, but he soon learns from Armitage that sacs of the poison that first crippled him have been placed in his blood vessels as well. Armitage promises Case that if he completes his work in time, the sacs will be removed; otherwise they will burst, disabling him again. He also has Case's pancreas replaced and new tissue grafted into his liver, leaving Case incapable of metabolizing cocaine or amphetamines and apparently ending his drug addiction.
Cover of the Brazilian release Case and Molly develop a close personal relationship and Molly suggests that Case begin looking into Armitage's background. Meanwhile, Armitage assigns them their first job: they must steal a ROM module that contains the saved consciousness of one of Case's mentors, legendary cyber-cowboy McCoy Pauley, nicknamed "The Dixie Flatline." Pauley's hacking expertise is needed by Armitage, and the ROM construct is stored in the corporate headquarters of media conglomerate Sense/Net. An anarchist group named the "Panther Moderns" are hired to create a simulated terrorist attack on Sense/Net. The diversion allows Molly to penetrate the building and steal Dixie's ROM.

Case and Molly continue to investigate Armitage, discovering his former identity of Colonel Willis Corto. Corto was a member of "Operation Screaming Fist," which planned on infiltrating and disrupting Soviet computer systems from ultralight aircraft dropped over Russia. The Russian military had learned of the idea and installed defenses to render the attack impossible, but Screaming Fist was launched regardless. As the team attacked a Soviet computer center, EMP weapons shut down their computers and flight systems, and Corto and his men were targeted by Soviet laser defenses. He and a few survivors commandeered a Soviet military helicopter and escaped over the heavily guarded Finnish border. Everyone was killed except Corto, who was seriously wounded by Finnish defense forces as they were landing. Corto's testimony was finessed to protect the military officers who had covered up the EMP weapons, and Corto himself disappeared into the criminal underworld after undergoing extensive physical and mental rehabilitation. In Istanbul, the team recruits Peter Riviera, an artist, thief, and drug addict who is able to project detailed holographic illusions with the aid of sophisticated cybernetic implants. Although Riviera is a sociopath, Armitage coerces him into joining the team. The trail leads Case and Molly to a powerful artificial intelligence named Wintermute, created by the plutocratic Tessier-Ashpool family. Control of the clan's fortune alternates among the family members, who spend most of their inactive time in cryonic preservation inside Villa Straylight, a labyrinthine mansion in the Freeside space station.

Wintermute's nature is finally revealed—it is one-half of a super-AI entity planned by the family, although its exact purpose is unknown. The Turing Law Code governing AIs bans the construction of such entities; to get around this, it had to be built as two separate AIs. Wintermute was programmed by the Tessier-Ashpool dynasty with a need to merge with its other half—Neuromancer. Unable to achieve this merger on its own, Wintermute recruited Armitage and his team to help complete the goal. Case is tasked with entering cyberspace to pierce the Turing-imposed software barriers using a powerful icebreaker program. At the same time, Riviera is to obtain the password to the Turing lock from Lady 3Jane Marie-France Tessier-Ashpool, an unfrozen daughter clone and the current leader of Tessier-Ashpool SA. Wintermute believes Riviera will pose an irresistible temptation to her, and that she will give him the password. The password must be spoken into an ornate computer terminal located in the Tessier-Ashpool home in Villa Straylight, and entered simultaneously as Case pierces the software barriers in cyberspace—otherwise the Turing lock will remain intact. Armitage's team attracts the attention of the Turing Police, whose job is to prevent AIs from exceeding their built-in limitations. As Molly and Riviera gain entrance to Villa Straylight, three officers arrest Case and take him into custody; Wintermute manipulates the orbital casino's security and maintenance systems and kills the officers, allowing Case to escape. The Armitage personality starts to disintegrate and revert to the Corto personality as he relives Screaming Fist. It is revealed that in the past, Wintermute had originally contacted Corto through a bedside computer during his convalescence, eventually convincing Corto that he was Armitage. Wintermute used him to persuade Case and Molly to help it merge with its twin AI, Neuromancer. Finally, Armitage becomes the shattered Corto again, but his newfound personality is short-lived as he is killed by Wintermute.

Inside Villa Straylight, Molly is captured by Riviera and Lady 3Jane. Worried about Molly, Case tracks her down with help from Maelcum, his Rastafarian pilot. Neuromancer attempts to trap Case within a cyber-construct where he finds the consciousness of Linda Lee, his girlfriend from Chiba City, who was murdered by one of Case's underworld contacts. Case manages to escape flatlining inside the construct after Maelcum gives him an overdose of a drug that can bypass his augmented liver and pancreas. Freeing himself, Case takes Maelcum and confronts Lady 3Jane, Riviera, and Hideo, Lady 3Jane's ninja bodyguard. Riviera tries to kill Case, but Lady 3Jane is sympathetic towards Case and Molly, and Hideo protects him. Riviera blinds Hideo, but flees when he learns that the ninja is just as adept without his sight due to extensive practice while blindfolded. Molly then explains to Case that Riviera is doomed anyway, as he has been fatally poisoned by a bad batch of drugs. With Lady 3Jane in possession of the password, the team makes it to the computer terminal. Case ascends to cyberspace to find the icebreaker has succeeded in penetrating its target; Lady 3Jane is induced to give up her password and the lock is opened. Wintermute unites with Neuromancer, fusing into a greater entity. The poison in Case's bloodstream is washed out, and he and Molly are handsomely paid for their efforts, while Pauley's ROM construct is apparently erased at his own request.

In the epilogue, Molly leaves Case, who later finds a new girlfriend and resumes his hacking work. Wintermute/Neuromancer contacts him, saying that it has become "the sum total of the works, the whole show," and has begun looking for other AIs like itself. Scanning old recorded transmissions from the 1970s, the super-AI finds a lone AI transmitting from the Alpha Centauri star system. The novel ends with the sound of inhuman laughter, a trait associated with Pauley during Case's work with his ROM construct. It is thus suggested that Pauley was not erased after all, but instead worked out a side deal with Wintermute/Neuromancer to be freed from the construct so he could exist in the matrix.

About the Author William Gibson

William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. Gibson coined the term "cyberspace" in his short story "Burning Chrome" and later popularized the concept in his debut novel, Neuromancer (1984). In envisaging cyberspace, Gibson created an iconography for the information age before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. He is also credited with predicting the rise of reality television and with establishing the conceptual foundations for the rapid growth of virtual environments such as video games and the Web. Having changed residence frequently with his family as a child, Gibson became a shy, ungainly teenager who often read science fiction. After spending his adolescence at a private boarding school in Arizona, Gibson dodged the draft during the Vietnam War by emigrating to Canada in 1968, where he became immersed in the counterculture and after settling in Vancouver eventually became a full-time writer. He retains dual citizenship. William Gibson's early works are bleak, noir near-future stories about the effect of cybernetics and computer networks on humans – a "combination of lowlife and high tech". The short stories were published in popular science fiction magazines. The themes, settings and characters developed in these stories culminated in his first novel, Neuromancer, which garnered critical and commercial success, virtually initiating the cyberpunk literary genre.

Although much of William Gibson's reputation has remained associated with Neuromancer, his work has continued to evolve. After expanding on Neuromancer with two more novels to complete the dystopic Sprawl trilogy, Gibson became an important author of another science fiction sub-genre—steampunk—with the 1990 alternate history novel The Difference Engine, written with Bruce Sterling. In the 1990s, he composed the Bridge trilogy of novels, which focused on sociological observations of near-future urban environments and late capitalism. His most recent novels—Pattern Recognition (2003) and Spook Country (2007)—are set in a contemporary world and have put his work onto mainstream bestseller lists for the first time. Gibson is one of the best-known North American science fiction writers, fêted by The Guardian' in 1999 as "probably the most important novelist of the past two decades". Gibson has written more than twenty short stories and nine critically acclaimed novels (one in collaboration), and has contributed articles to several major publications and collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers and musicians. His thought has been cited as an influence on science fiction authors, design, academia, cyberculture, and technology.

William Gibson's early writings are generally near-future stories about the influences of cybernetics and cyberspace (computer-simulated reality) technology on the human race. His themes of hi-tech shanty towns, recorded or broadcast stimulus (later to be developed into the "sim-stim" package featured so heavily in Neuromancer), and dystopic intermingling of technology and humanity, are already evident in his first published short story, "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" (1977). The latter thematic obsession was described by his friend and fellow author, Bruce Sterling, in the introduction of William Gibson's short story collection Burning Chrome, as "Gibson's classic one-two combination of lowlife and high tech."

In the early 1980s, William Gibson's stories appeared in Omni and Universe 11, wherein his fiction developed a bleak, film noir feel. He consciously distanced himself as far as possible from the mainstream of science fiction (towards which he felt "an aesthetic revulsion", expressed in "The Gernsback Continuum"), to the extent that his highest goal was to become "a minor cult figure, a sort of lesser Ballard." When Sterling started to distribute the stories, he found that "people were just genuinely baffled... I mean they literally could not parse the guy's paragraphs... the imaginative tropes he was inventing were just beyond peoples' grasp." While Larry McCaffery has commented that these early short stories displayed flashes of Gibson's ability, science fiction critic Darko Suvin has identified them as "undoubtedly [cyberpunk's] best works", constituting the "furthest horizon" of the genre. The themes which Gibson developed in the stories, the Sprawl setting of "Burning Chrome" and the character of Molly Millions from "Johnny Mnemonic" ultimately culminated in his first novel, Neuromancer.

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