Science Fiction 451

Sep 28

Nueromancer is by far one of the most complicated books I have ever read. This novel not only submerses the reader into a world they do not know, but also expects the reader constantly fight to understand the world.

In class we talked about how the first six chapters bombarded the reader with image after image and word after word of technologies and societies we do not know. We are faced with the fact that the United States has become super- city known as “the sprawl” and that humans are not only able of replacing their organs with lab grown super organs, but actually augmenting their appearance with things such as “mirrored inlays”. These concepts are extremely hard to grasp and paired with the fact that narrative shifts from day to day, hour to hour event to event the learning curve is extremely steep to be able to even read this book. I believe in class someone referred to it as “being thrown into the deep end and being expected to swim or die”. I think I can only explain it by comparing it to the experience of listening to a hardcore punk song for the first time. You don’t know what they are saying, you can’t keep up with the pace and you are presented with scenes you have never experienced before.

In chapters 7-13 I felt like we faced a different problem. By this point I began to get used to the fact that the narrative and storyline was erratic and that I was probably not going to understand the culture. But this is where I felt the technology became baffling. We are shown images of a man that can produce holograms around him, and we are introduced to various forms of artificial intelligence. At the last part of chapter 9 we have Case talking with the A.I. named Wintermute. Wintermute is able to not only pursue Chase through the matrix, but also construct his memories into a seemingly real state to talk to him in. This blew my mind more than anything else we had read.

Questions:

When people jack into the matrix are they using their memories projected onto a computer or are they themselves the computer?
Are artificial intelligence truly capable of learning in this universe? And if so, where do we draw the line between artificial and real minds?

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