This is fascinating. A guy named Brian Davis uses law enforcement composite sketch software to create images of what fictional characters from famous novels might look like.
Users submit characters, with relevant passages that describe those characters, and he creates a composite drawing. And to be honest, it’s eery how closely they resemble the images I have in my head.
Below are some characters from novels relevant to this blog, with passages describing them below each picture.
Today’s post is the first guest post in the history of 101 Books. I probably won’t be putting up that many guest posts, but I thought Ross Lampert gave a nice counter-point to my view on Neuromancer. Ross is a contributor at Cochise Writers and a commenter here on 101 Books. (For a recap of how much I hated this book, here’s my review.) Now, for the other side of the story:
Neuromancer is disturbing, disorienting, decadent, drug- and crime-laced, über-noir, and dystopian. The novel has an unsympathetic, anti-hero protagonist. It’s easy to see how someone who doesn’t read science fiction regularly—or even someone who does—would have such a hard time with Neuromancer.
But this book is not representative of 1980s science fiction, so a little science fiction history is in order to understand how Gibson’s book ended up on Time’s top-100 list and won so many awards.
Well, it’s that time again.
Time for me to justify my nonsensical, totally arbitrary, ridiculously-easy-to-criticize rankings of the books I’ve read to this point. Lev Grossman explained why Time didn’t rank the novels in my interview with him, but I guess the football fan in me decided I had to do rankings of some sort.
So, without further needless explanation, here’s my explanation of my rankings of the books I’ve read since my last ranking update.
The creepy cover returns.
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.
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:
Bono: Neuromancer fan.
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.
Science fiction, huh?
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:
I say “big reveal” in jest, I hope you know. I doubt very many of you woke up this morning and anxiously asked yourself, “I absolutely cannot wait to hear what Robert Bruce at 101 Books will be reading over the next few weeks.”
Thanks to those of you that voted yesterday, though. I always love to hear your thoughts on the books I have and haven’t read. So here are the next 5 novels, in no particular order: