Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gibsons' Neuromancer

It's been a quiet week at the MindBlizzard blog. Partly because I've been really busy doing a very volatile project in Real Life, but also because I've spend some time rereading the excellent Neuromancer story by William Gibson.

Neuromancer is a must read, or as Daily Tech's Kristopher Kubicki said: "I should preface by saying anyone who hasn't read William Gibson's Neuromancer should run, not walk, to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy."

Gibson is often seen as the "godfather" of the cyberpunk genre as he started using terms like matrix and cyberspace in his first novel Neuromancer.

Neuromancer is about a hacker, or cyber cowboy named Henry Dorsett Case. Case screwed up a job and his employers got back at him, leaving him half dead and unable to gain access to the matrix again. After a life in the ghetto filled with all sorts of dealings and drugs he's recruited by enormously powerfull people to pull an almost impossible trick. The novel exlores Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Worlds, Genetic Engineering and the rise of the (Cyberpunk trademark) multinational mega corporatioins.

I just noticed an interesting article at Daily Tech, dating march 9 2007 on Sony's virtual platform Home and Neuromancer's 25th birthday. It's called PlayStation Home: William Gibson's Vision Realized written by the aforementioned Kristopher Kubicki. Here's a quote from the article:

"Nearly 25 years in the making, is Sony building the foundations for ubiquitous virtual reality?"


"It's not to say Sony overnight duplicated what Gibson has been writing about for 25 years. Even many of Gibson's ideas are not unique, just evolutionary advances on older ideas. What makes me excited about Sony's announcement is that PlayStation Home will be the first ubiquitous virtual reality, if Sony can pull it off.

Now, I should give Second Life some credit here as well. If anything, Second Life is actually closer to Gibson's descriptions of the matrix -- yep, Gibson called it the matrix 15 years before The Matrix and a decade before Ghost in the Shell. The difference between Second Life and Playstation Home is that Sony wants the interaction between virtual and reality to be transparent, especially with media and the internet. Gibson anticipated this dozens of times over the last 25 years in his novels.

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Blogger Aleister Kronos said...

!The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." A classic opening sentence.

Re Sony, I would be worried. As I recollect (it's been many years since I last read Neuromancer) the full experience required you to be physically plugged into cyberspace (a la matrix). I'm not sure we're ready for that! hehe

Thursday, September 06, 2007 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Ordinal Malaprop said...

Well, to suggest that Home is Gibson's Grid is nonsense. Home would be a tiny subsection of it that one could dive into, owned by a zaibatsu, controlled and locked down and anathema to netrunning types except as a target.

Second Life offers a lot more directly, in that one can pop in and script things which have direct connection to the physical world; I could have door locks controlled from within SL. However, it still isn't the same as it is not an interpreted model of an existing data structure but something in itself with no necessary connection.

Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Dobre Vanbrugh said...

Veejay, did you visit E-Day last week? Sony gave a presentation aboyt Home, you can read a short post including some footage of the beta version of Home at our blog:

Saturday, September 15, 2007 1:01:00 PM  

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