Ok, next up in my list of belated blog posts is Neuromancer, more specifically my thoughts about the book. Russ recently read the book and was criticizing the ending as a “sort of afterthought”.
Here’s my take on it: it’s not an afterthought but rather a very concrete expression of an idea that we’ve come to call The Singularity. The whole point of the Singularity is that change is happening so fast that you can’t predict what comes next. After the singularity the rules and constructs we had before about operating in the world, in whatever specific context we’re dealing with, become quite simply meaningless. Not only we can’t predict what will happen after it, you can’t even see it coming. This is exactly what the ending of Neuromancer feels like. And if you ask me, that’s why.
As far as the Neuromancer movie, it’s been rumored, well… forever. Gibson himself has said on his blog that he’s “forgotten more neuromancer film deals than you’ve ever heard of,” which sounds about right.
An interesting tidbit that (that I’ve written about in the past) is that Gibson discussed in a post was that when Neuromancer came out, it was after Bladerunner was released, and he was terrified that everyone would see it as a derivative work of some sort, even if he had started it years before.
Bladerunner came out while I was still writing Neuromancer. I was about a third of the way into the manuscript. When I saw (the first twenty minutes of) Bladerunner, I figured my unfinished first novel was sunk, done for. Everyone would assume I’d copped my visual texture from this astonishingly fine-looking film. But that didn’t happen. Mainly I think because Bladerunner seriously bombed in theatrical release, and films didn’t pop right back out on DVD in those days. The general audience didn’t seem to get it, relatively few people saw it, and it simply vanished, leaving nary a ripple. Where it went, though, was straight through the collective membrane to Memetown, where it silently went nova, irradiating everything from clothing-design to serious architecture.
Yep, he didn’t have to worry, and the near-simultaneous arrival of these two masterpieces ended up heralding the beginning of cyberpunk in two mediums at once. Incidentally, Bladerunner is about to be re-released late this year in a “Definitive Cut” edition, fully remastered. Can’t wait.
Btw, my other favorite Gibson Singularity (yeah, there’s a pattern here…) is the ending of All Tomorrow’s Parties (which incidentally features a character, Laney, who can “see” singularities before they happen), in which Rei Toei, a virtual character, becomes, well, real. Both characters also appear in Idoru, and both books are part of the so-called “Bridge Trilogy.”
ps: the image is the cover of the original print edition of Neuromancer.