Full Text

39. William Gibson: Neuromancer

Andrew M. Butler

Subject Literature

Key-Topics science fiction

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405112185.2005.00041.x


There is a moment in an introduction to Burning Chrome (1986) , a collection of William Gibson's short stories, when Bruce Sterling notes that “SF has not been much fun of late. All forms of pop culture go through doldrums; they catch cold when society sneezes. If SF in the late Seventies was confused, self-involved, and stale, it was scarcely a cause for wonder” ( Sterling 1986 : 9). Five years later, in the usually distinctly nongenre annual collection of the English Association, Essays & Studies , John Huntington notes that “In Neuromancer we are seeing evidence of a new, perhaps the final, stage in the trajectory of SF” ( Huntington 1991 : 71). It needs to be said that reports of SF's death are greatly exaggerated - the period Sterling discusses was a significant one in terms of feminist SF - and that this had happened before. As Roger Luckhurst argues: “The history of SF is a history of ambivalent deaths. The many movements within the genre - the New Wave, feminist SF, Cyberpunk - are marked as both transcendent death-as-births, finally demolishing the “ghetto” walls, and as degenerescent birth-as-deaths, perverting the specificity of the genre” ( Luckhurst 1994 : 43). The ambivalent death, indeed the death instinct as described by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, will taken as the guiding metaphor for the structure and theme of Neuromancer . Gibson was born in the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top