I chose this book for my decades sci-fi read largely because of the intriguing blurb. It sounded very Matrixesque. Even had I not known the year of publication, I would have quickly realized it was written in the 80s. Instead of the Matrix, it reads more like Miami Vice meets Total Recall.
Like many novels in the era, it is written in third person, with abrupt scene changes. Also many of the descriptions are quite vivid, yet come across cold and clinical. Here is an example:
Night City was like a deranged experiment in social Darwinism designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button.
For today’s readers, who often prefer first person, or deep third person at a minimum, the detachment to the characters might be problematic. For me, it fit nicely in this rather cold, complex, sci-fi realm.
This book started off a solid five star read, but by the middle I was struggling. Not because it was slow–it is a very fast-paced read–but rather due to the copious amount of confusing slang. I assume the author used the language as part of his extensive, futuristic, world-building; however, it just made it hard to read. I think the world-building would have been better if there were fewer slang terms, or at least defining the terms prior to the middle/second half of the book. Also there are so many characters, and many of them either change names, change identities, or have more than one name which makes it hard to keep track of who is doing what, when, and where.
The neuromancer isn’t introduced until late in the story. I’m not entirely sure what his purpose is unless it is to combat the other cyber interface/construct, Wintermute. The author does wrap up the story in regard to Case’s love/regret, Linda. But it leaves other questions dangling, and I’m not sure Case learned anything through his experience other than with the right amount of money, you can replace any of your organs you have trashed through drug abuse.