Memory and the Past Theme
Our experiences create our view of the world, good and bad. They also help us create goals and motivate us to achieve them. The characters of Neuromancer are no different than the rest of us in that sense. When we first meet Case, he's obsessed with not only his past but in finding a way to resurrect it. Even the computer-created characters like Wintermute and the Dixie Flatline seem driven by memories of the past. The only problem is that the memories aren't theirs; in cyberspace, memories can outlive the person whom they belong to, interwoven into the algorithms of a program. Yeah, it's all kinds of crazy up in here. Keeping track of the past while looking forward to the future is one of the major issues in the novel.
Questions About Memory and the Past
- Homes collect objects from the pasts of those who live in them. Consider Straylight and Case's Night City coffin. What do these two homes tells us about their owner's relationship to the past? What about Molly?
- Case says Armitage was shaped by Corto's memories. Why do you suppose Wintermute constructed Armitage that way? Where do we see evidence of this in the text? Does this tell us anything about the theme of memory in Neuromancer?
- Where in the novel do we see memory combined with data? What affect does this have on your understanding of the novel?
- Where do we see people trying to recreate the past in Neuromancer? How does it end up for them? Does this tell us anything about the relationship of past and future in Neuromancer?
Chew on This
Case sees himself in the matrix at the novel's end. This Case is a memory of Case left on Neuromancer's beach.
Wintermute, like the Dixie Flatline, cannot create memories and therefore can't create anything new for himself. That's why he relies on the memories of the person he is talking to.