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39. William Gibson: Neuromancer

Andrew M. Butler


Subject Literature

Key-Topics science fiction

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405112185.2005.00041.x


Extract

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

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