“Johnny Mnemonic” (1981)

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

cyberpunk fiction text

Spin-off:

“Burning Chrome” (1982)

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

cyberpunk fiction text

Sequel:

Neuromancer (1984)

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

Commentary

The foremost example of its genre. Gibson reduces the supernatural powers in The Stars My Destination (1956) to the ambiguous holographic projections of Peter Riviera, and—brilliantly!—has no grand premiss to replace them. Like Bester’s work, Neuromancer contains very little science, and—again like Bester’s work—it still manages a little action on a cosmic scale. Bester’s Foyle travels to Aldebaran; Gibson’s Case hears of the liberated AI identifying an extrasolar peer.

Case, like Batty in Blade Runner (1982), has his Christian subtext, but Gibson does even this better than his predecessors. No flying cars or inexplicably unidentifiable androids here. Gibson’s future world made more sense than any other writer’s in his time.

cyberpunk fiction text

Spin-off:

“New Rose Hotel” (1984)

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

Subject

Human resources. Megacorporations dominate world markets not through individual technologies but with the greatest geniuses.

References here: Blindsight (2006).

cyberpunk fiction text

Adaptation:

New Rose Hotel (1998) IMDb

Categorization

Sleazy techno-thriller with a few big-name actors.

Commentary

I’m somewhat surprised at how much they kept of the original short story, but in terms of pacing, this isn’t even on Gibson’s horizon. A lot of filler, repetition and budget-conserving tricks; not much happening.

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Sequel:

Count Zero (1986)

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

Commentary

Gibson has admitted to the superficiality of the Voodoo motif. Alas, it is a severe weakness, covering a failure to imagine or even decide what would happen as a consequence of the events in Neuromancer.

References here: “The Fast Track” (2001).

cyberpunk fiction text

Sequel:

Mona Lisa Overdrive (1989)

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

Commentary

A slow salute to “The Aleph” (1945), largely disconnected from the rest of the Sprawl trilogy.

cyberpunk fiction text

Adaptation:

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) IMDb

Creators

William Gibson (writer).

Subject

In 2021, a courier can carry “nearly 80 gigs of data” in his head.

Commentary

Though Gibson wrote the screenplay, it is worse than the original. It doesn’t even bother to update the ideas. Unsurprisingly, as of 2018, 80 GB can be smuggled around a lot more easily.

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