Two decades later, Time magazine would pick Neuromancer as one of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. Yet Time, and almost everyone else, was late to the game. A decade would elapse after its publication before the New York Times would even bother to notice that Neuromancer existed — although it had won the Hugo, the Nebula and Philip K. Dick Award on its first appearance, sort of a sci-fi equivalent of the Triple Crown. The judges on the awards panels got this one right, even if the highbrows missed out for many years.
This book is now on its second and third generation of readers, and its reputation is secure. Yet I fear that too much of the buzz surrounding this novel still treats it as a sociological phenomenon. Gibson is given credit for making a prediction that proved to be uncannily accurate. His book is thus put on the shelf next to “Moore’s Law” and other formidable hypotheses that anticipated our current-day high tech lives. But this pigeonholing misses the main reasons to read Neuromancer today, now that cyberspace is as blasé as a transistor radio, at least from a conceptual standpoint. Neuromancer still earns its readership through the sweep of its prose, the intensity of its vision, and the provocative nature of its characters and plots. And those virtues run no risk of technological obsolescence.