The Talented Mr. Ripley – First Page

Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, heading his way. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley‘s opening has shades of the first page of another book I’ve read for this blog, William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Both books open with a hard-boiled style, dark corners, shady bars, mysterious characters. (See Neuromancer’s … Continue reading

Talking Technobabble – Neuromancer Does It Right

Neuromancer is a book about computers and hackers. It pretty much invented the genre of hacker literature. And author William Gibson had never owned, or much used, a computer when he wrote this novel. Here’s Gibson talking with critic Larry McCaffery: It wasn’t until I could finally afford a computer of my own that I found … Continue reading

Defragging a Scene (and killing an Internet lie!)

First, I’ll kill an internet lie. (This is a good one, folks.) You’ve probably heard the famous line that celebrates brevity in writing: “I apologize for the length of this letter. If I’d had more time it would have been shorter.” If you’ve heard it, you’ve probably heard it attributed to Mark Twain. This is … Continue reading

How Cyberpunk cribs from Naked Lunch

Ten pages into William Gibson’s debut novel Neuromancer, the book that set fire to a whole genre of science fiction known as cyberpunk, it is clear that the noir detective mysteries of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett are not the frame Gibson is building on. To be sure The Big Sleep and Red Harvest are … Continue reading

Neuromancer – Looking at the First Page

Reading the first page of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, here are some rapid-fire impressions. Setting is important. Gibson opens not with a description of a person, an action, or a line of dialogue, but with a scene setter. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. This sort of … Continue reading