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Neuromancer (Englisch) Gebundenes Buch – 2. November 2004

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Produktinformation

Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"A mind-bender of a read." —The Village Voice

"Freshly imagined, compellingly detailed, and chilling in its implications." —New York Times

"Kaleidoscopic, picaresque, flashy and decadent...an amazing virtuoso performance." —Washington Post

 

 

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

The Sky Above The Port

By

William Gibson

 

             It took at least a decade for me to realize that many of my readers, even in 1984, could never have experienced Neuromancer’s opening line as I’d intended them to. I’d actually composed that first image with the black-and-white video-static of my childhood in mind, sodium-silvery and almost painful—a whopping anachronism, right at the very start of my career in the imaginary future.

             But an invisible one, interestingly; one that reveals a peculiar grace enjoyed by all imaginary futures as they make their way up the timeline and into the real future, where we all must go. The reader never stopped to think that I might have been thinking, however unconsciously, of the texture and color of a signal-free channel on a wooden-cabinet Motorola with fabric-covered speakers. Readers compensated for me, shouldering an additional share of the imaginative burden, and allowed whatever they assumed was the color of static to take on the melancholy of the phrase “dead channel”.

             In my teens, in the Sixties, I read a great deal of science fiction dating from the Forties, a very fertile period for the genre, and recall being aware of making just this sort of effort on behalf of fictions that had grown a bit long in the technological tooth, or whose imagined futures had been blindsided by subsequent history. I cut such fictions just the sort of extra slack, in exchange for whatever other value the narrative might offer, that some readers must be cutting Neuromancer today––not for invisible anachronisms like my color of television, but for unavoidable sins of omission on the order of a complete absence of tiny and ubiquitous portable telephones. (Indeed, one of my own favorite moments in the book hinges around the sequenced ringing of a row of pay-phones.

             Imagine a novel from the Sixties whose author had somehow fully envisioned cellular telephony circa 2004, and had worked it, exactly as we know it today, into the fabric of her imaginary future. Such a book would have seemed highly peculiar in the Sixties, even though innumerable novels had already been written in which small personal wireless communications devices were taken for granted. A genuinely prescient cell-phone novel would have moved in a most unsettling way, its characters acting, out of an unprecedented degree of connectivity, in ways that would quickly overwhelm the narrative. 

             In hindsight, I suspect that Neuromancer owes much of its shelf-life to my almost perfect ignorance of the technology I was extrapolating from. I was as far from the Sixties author who knew everything about cell-phones as it was possible to be. Where I made things up from whole cloth, the colors remain bright. Where I was unlucky enough to actually have some small bit of real knowledge, the reader finds things like the rattling keys of a mechanical printer, or Case’s puzzlingly urgent demand, when the going gets tough, for a modem. Unlike the absence of cell-phones, those are sins of commission. Another vast omission is my failure to have quietly collapsed the Soviet Union and swept the rubble offstage when nobody was looking.

             Though there was a strategic reason for my not having done that. I had already done it to the United States, which cannot be proven to exist in the world of Neuromancer. It’s deliberately never mentioned as such, and one vaguely gathers that it’s somehow gone sideways in a puff of what we today would call globalization, to be replaced by some less dangerous combine of large corporations and city-states. Having disappeared the USA, I though I’d better have the USSR in there for the sake of continuity. (Had I disappeared the USSR instead, I might eventually have been burned as a witch, so just as well.)

             Today’s reader might keep in mind that I wrote Neuromancer with absolutely no expectation that it would be in print twenty years later. I knew that it was to be published, if I could finish it and if the editor accepted the manuscript, both of which seemed constantly unlikely, as a paperback original—that most ephemeral of literary units, a pocket-sized slab of prose meant to fit a standard wire rack, printed on high-acid paper and visibly yearning to return to the crude pulp from which it had been pressed. My best hope for the book was that it might find, in whatever modest numbers it would have its debut, some kindred soul or five. Probably in England, as I imagined them, or perhaps in France. I didn’t anticipate much in the way of an American audience, because I felt that I was writing too deliberately counter to what I had come to assume the American audience had been taught to want from science fiction.

             I was doing this because I couldn’t for the life of me seem to do it any other way. Having been talked into signing a contract (by the late Terry Carr, without whom there would certainly be no Neuromancer) I found myself possessed by a dissident attitude that I certainly wasn’t about to share with my editor, or really with much of anyone. The only people who got that were a few of the other tyro writers with whom I would eventually be labeled “cyberpunk”, and they were far away, mostly in Austin TX.

             Like Case at the book’s climax, I was coming in steep, fuelled by…;I couldn’t have to told you, though one element was a smoldering resentment at what the genre I’d loved as a teenager seemed to me in the meantime to have become. Though I know I had neither the intention nor the least hope that what I was doing, tapping out my Ace Special paperback original on an aged manual portable of precision Swiss manufacture, would in any way change the course of science fiction. (Nor did it, apparently, except to the extent of helping to keep open doors I certainly never built, doors I’d found as a teenager, with names like “Bester” and “Leiber” gouged into their lintels.)

             I was recently told that Neuromancer has sold more than a million copies. That would be over the past two decades, and I assume in either North American editions or English-language editions. Abroad, it’s managed to get itself translated into most of the languages books are translated into, though not yet, as far as I know, Chinese or Arabic.

This is something like having an adult child one never hears from, but who evidently does quite well, travels widely, and seems to meet interesting people.

             My real sympathy, though, is with the bright thirteen-year-old curled on a sofa somewhere, twenty pages into...


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