Now, on with it.
Archive for July, 2011
Here we go again. Another book that makes me uncomfortable.
While Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was on a whole different level, The French Lieutenant’s Woman still makes me feel a bit awkward. I’m a guy. I like football, beer, and Russell Crowe movies. And I’m reading a romance novel? Call me cultured.
John Fowle’s story is set in the Victorian era of the late 19th century. It’s about a mysterious woman with a checkered past, and I think there’s some kind of love triangle thing going on, too.
Some quick facts:
I really wanted to like this book.
That’s probably a bad way to start a review, right? I mean, it probably communicates, right away, that Neuromancer didn’t meet my expectations. I’m saying right away that that something about the novel excited me but, for some reason, Neuromancer fell short.
Is that what I’m saying?
Yep. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know it takes a lot for me to negatively review a book. All the books on the Time list are excellent, well-reviewed novels, and I try to keep that in mind as I read each one. So that makes it difficult for me and, sometimes, unsettling to go against the flow, as I also did with Mrs. Dalloway.
But I’ll start with the positive aspects of Neuromancer.
Is an author’s best book always his most well-known book?
That’s the question John Self of The Guardian asked last week, and his opinions sparked quite a discussion in the comments of his article and on Twitter. For instance, he mentions Kurt Vonnegut, who is probably most famous for Slaughterhouse Five. But Self says Cat’s Cradle was his best work.
What is it with Neuromancer and the creepy book covers?
After noticing a trend, I did an image search of the novel and came up with five book covers that may or may not give you the willies.
You tell me, which one is the creepiest? Here are the candidates:
So, small fact about me: Just below my left shoulder blade, I have a tattoo of a seagull in flight over a palm tree.
Don’t believe me? You’re right. In fact, I don’t have any tats. I know…so lame.
I’m not opposed to tattoos, but if I ever got one, it would have to be of something really, really meaningful if it’s going to hang out on my skin for another 50 years. In other words, no barbed wire, skulls and crossbones, or lightning bolts—unless I wanted to memorialize surviving a lightning strike or something like that.
What about novels? Has a book ever changed my life to the point that I would get a tattoo of a character or something to do with the novel? Can’t say that’s happened, and I don’t think it ever will. But to each his own.
Hop in the back of a limo, drive the country, and get interviewed by Bono. All of that sound fun to you?
That’s the treatment Neuromancer author William Gibson received in the 2000 documentary, No Maps For These Territories. In a limo armed with digital cameras recording everything, Gibson talks about his career, his works, and his observations on modern society.
I love this quote from Gibson:
I’m not a didactic writer, I hope. There’s nothing I want less to be than someone couching a conscious message in prose fiction. But, I think one of the things that I see when I look back at my earlier work is a struggle to recognize and accept that the heart is the master and the head is the servant. And that is always the case… except when it isn’t the case we’re in deep, deep trouble. And we’re often in deep, deep trouble.
Virginia Woolf had this to say about James Joyce: “[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”
Now that’s pretty funny and maybe a bit harsh, don’t ya think?
Authors have such egos. And when it comes to insulting their peers, their creativity shines.
FlavorWire recently listed the 30 harshest author insults in history. Here are a few of my favorites:
Well, this makes two straight novels that belong to genres I’ve never read. Book #21 was The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Now it’s time for Neuromancer, my first experience reading sci-fi.
This novel by William Gibson, published in 1984, is supposed to be almost prophetic–coining terms like “cyberspace.” I believe there’s a “microsoft” in there as well.
Interesting plot similarities to The Spy as well. The protagonist, Case, is a washed-up computer hacker who gets hired by a weird, dude named Armitage to do some serious hacking. Cryptic description, I know.
Some quick facts about Neuromancer: