“His mouth filled with an aching taste of blue. His eyes were eggs of unstable crystal, vibrating with a frequency whose name was rain and the sound of trains, suddenly sprouting a humming forest of hair-fine glass spines. The spines split, bisected, split again, exponential growth under the dome of the Tessier-Ashpool ice. The roof of his mouth cleaved painlessly, admitting rootlets that whipped around his tongue, hungry for the taste of blue, to feed the crystal forests of his eyes, forests that pressed against the green dome, pressed and were hindered, and spread, growing down, filling the universe of T-A, down into the waiting, hapless suburbs of the city that was the mind of Tessier-Ashpool S.A. And he was remembering an ancient story, a king placing coins on a chessboard, doubling the amount at each square . . . Exponential .”
William F. Gibson. Neuromancer.
Arguably the first true “cyberpunk” novel. Let’s think about that a while.
A dystopian future , not post-apocalyptic, just…grown. Over time.
Giant corporations whose slaves…I mean personnel…may spend their entire lives literally within the company, and never count themselves confined. From company sponsored nursery to company sponsored senior care, generation after generation of ants, in bright steel hives.
The original concept of the Matrix. The underworld of the cyberpunk universe, populated by the looming structures of the corps, strictly limited “AI”, and various “government” leftovers, such as the military and the police.
ICE. Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics. The digital assassins and bodyguards of the corps, their eternal enemy the “cowboys” who ride their decks into and across that virtual range, rustling information to sell and risking burn-out, destruction of the meat body as well as the sim, every time.
The Biz. The real world underworld, the gritty underpinnings of cyberpunk society, home of the luckless and the lost, alongside the rustlers and hustlers, the pimps and pets. Gangs springing up like weeds from the cracked concrete and rusted metal of the slums.
A cold world…some would even say heartless…but in Gibson’s hands, it turns into a crystal of sparkling light and dark. Rainbow impressions seen in the scum on a puddle of unknown origins in a forgotten alley, and darkness crawling beneath the skin and within the bone of those who think of themselves as clean and bright.
A poet and a romantic, a semiotic genius, Gibson’s vision unfolds like a conjurers trick, showing us endless vistas…and tiny dark alleys…and people, endless people. People murderous, insane, scheming, living, breathing people. Gibson -is- cyberpunk, and I will always enjoy visiting his world.
(Also, unlike me, he can write. Without scattering clichés around like chicken feed. >^< )