Realities Redefined in William Gibson's Neuromancer
The ways in which characters communicate and interact with one another are redefined in William Gibson?s Neuromancer. An all-encompassing web of intrigue, the Net enables humans and non-humans to access and to communicate an infinite amount of data across time and space. Medical implants open another door on virtual communications. Non-living entities such as artificial intelligences and the Dixie Flatline construct overcome the physical barriers of communication. With the implementation of these new communications technologies, the physical and virtual realities of the society waver and meld into one another, resulting in an alienating cyber culture where this new reality of combined realities emerges.
For the protagonist Cage and other cyberspace cowboys, reality lies only in the ?bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void? (5). Cyberspace is where the biz is, and it is Cage?s life source. Jacking into a Sendai cyberspace deck, Cage can project his ?disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that [is] the matrix? (5). Indeed, it is a hallucination, a means of escape from physical reality. While surfing through cyberspace, Case sometimes forgets to eat, and he resents having to use a catheter or having to put his virtual world on pause to use a physical toilet. Case?s physical body is merely a case for his mind which interacts with cyberspace. While jacking into the Net releases Case into an infinite world of possibilities, this means of virtual communications also renders him dead to the physical world. Case?s electroencephalogram readings are flat lines when he overexerts himself in cyberspace. Briefly brain dead, Case half-consciously transforms himself into a Flatline construct in the physical sense. In the emotional sense, too, Case is turned into a non-physical being. Like many others who treats cyberspace as their reality, Case is mostly solitary. He derives his adrenaline rush from stealing data in cyberspace, but he rarely senses emotions from other stimuli. For Case, making love with Linda Lee and with Molly cannot be compared with his love affair with the world of non-flesh. As Molly says to Case: ?I saw you stroking that Sendai; man, it was pornographic?(47).
When his former employers damage his nervous system with mycotoxin, Case is abruptly cut off from his sensuous love affair with the matrix. For him, it is the Fall (6). Case loses everything that he thinks is important to him, and he attempts to commit suicide. Even his love for Linda cannot help him overcome his depression. After all, physical and emotional love is not the same as being in love with something less tangible, for perhaps it is the intangibleness of the Net that enthrals Case. The cyberspace cowboys have an elite stance towards the physical world, a ?certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat?(6). Meat deteriorates, but cyberspace lives on...