Why not Wintermute?

I read Neuromancer over the last couple nights for the first time in probably a decade.

I’m really surprised at how much more I get out of it with each read.

Gibson was, at the time at least (I sorta lost interest in his stuff about half way through Mona Lisa Overdrive) not a spectacular character builder.  You had a vague notion of what his characters were like, but he fell in to a lot of violations of “show don’t tell.” (see: Corto/Armitrage)

But what really struck me on this read through is how much open-ended description is in every paragraph.  He doesn’t draw you a picture, he just puts some very brightly colored blots and lines on the canvas and has you fill in the rest which, if you took the time to do it, would make Neuromancer the slowest read in the galaxy, despite it’s size.

So I tend to just blast through it and rely that I’ll get something different this time than I got last time; and I’m never let down.

The only thing that really bugs me is…

Why name it Neuromancer? Neuromancer himself is in what…one scene, maybe a brief follow up?  Wintermute is the more interesting figure by any estimation (certainly with regards to page time.  Neuromancer is the deeper, more easily anthropomorphized entity.)

But “Neuro – Romancer” does read better than “Wintermute” I suppose.


What next I wonder.  It’s time to seriously pick up my reading schedule.  I wanted to get 50 in this year and I’m at about 12. So I’m going to need to pick some books out of the “light” pile and…maybe less Seneca and Herodotus.


2 thoughts on “Why not Wintermute?”

  1. I think the line “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.” is one of the best lines I’ve read. And this one, from “Idoru”, describes my idea of GenPop perfectly: “[Slitscan’s audience] is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It’s covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections.”

    I agree with you that “Wintermute” scans better than “Neuromancer” but I always took the latter to mean the romance our minds have with something we imagine to be better, the concept in this case being consensual hallucination.

    Needless to say and yet I keep saying it, “Neuromancer” had a serious impact on me, it caused me to move to a much better place. I’m always glad when I find out someone else digs it.

    1. The more I think about it the more I come to:

      Wintermute couldn’t have been renamed Neuromancer. Neuromancer really was the full bore crazy one. Wintermute didn’t understand humans nearly well enough.

      And I totally missed that Neuromancer wasn’t “Neuro – mancer” for 30 years. He even explains it. I just blithely skipped right past it, like a pokemon go player walking off a cliff.

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