Neuromancer on audiobook is a treat for fans. Review by S.K. Slevinski

Book Cover

In Print
This audiobook production of the classic cyber-punk novel is read by the author, William Gibson, providing an added bonus for long-time fans. Audiobook readers new to Neuromancer may or may not find it to their tastes.

Main character, Case, lives in an underground world in an imagined 21st century Tokyo, where surgical implants and alterations are a thriving industry, offering everything from seeming agelessness and beauty to direct neural links into cyberspace and adjustments to the functioning of internal organs. Case, himself, has been surgically altered against his will, but it was a crippling punishment from a former employer to answer for Case's crossing him. He has come to Tokyo in the hopes of finding a way to reverse the alterations, but when he finds his cure there is an ultimatum behind itóCase must help his mysterious new employer to bring down an Artificial Intelligence. The deal looks good, especially when Case gets his corrective surgery upfront. But he gets more "correction" than he realizes, and discovers upon waking that they have implanted something of a "ticking time bomb" of poison in his spine, as well as a mechanism to bypass key digestive organs to keep drink or drugs from affecting him. But when Case and his employer are captured, finding the codes to disengage the timed poison release becomes a trickier affair.

Book Cover

On Audio
The audiobook of Neuromancer is a fairly early one, produced by Time Warner AudioBooks in 1994. Fans of this book will find it well worth the effort to track down because it is narrated by William Gibson himself. Normally I'm not a fan of author-read audiobooks, and while I'm not certain I'd recommend this audiobook to new readers, fans who have already read the book will enjoy it. Gibson narrates in a style reminiscent of a live author reading at a coffee house or university, rather than what could be called the current "audiobook reading" style fueled by performances by professional actors. A subtle difference, but because of it, I believe readers already familiar with the book will find it much more absorbing than those accustomed to audiobook "reading" in general. The background music and sound effects on this audiobook, however, are apt to annoy any audience. I can only hope that they soon re-master Gibson's reading onto digital format, and cut the music in the process.

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S.K. Slevinski is senior editor for ARWZ Literary Magazine and a long time reader of alternative reality fiction. She is currently a graduate student, specializing in folklore.

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