As technology evolves, we integrate it into our bodies, our lives, and the world around us. Even today, pacemakers keep hearts pumping, trains alter landscapes, and computers combine trillions of 1s and 0s into entire worlds for exploration à la World of Warcraft. This brings about transformation through technology. The question then, is whether or not this is a good thing. To paraphrase the wise Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park, just because we can doesn't necessarily mean we should. It's all rather ambivalent, both in Neuromancer and in real life.
Questions About Transformation
- Molly and Riviera both have modifications that have changed their physical bodies. Do you think these changes also transformed their personalities or do they reflect the kind of people they were to begin with?
- How has technology transformed the world of Neuromancer? What parts of the world seem to stay the same as our own despite the technological upgrade?
- Why do you suppose this is so?
- What character do you think goes through the most dramatic transformations during the story? Which character transforms the least or not at all? What differentiates these two and how does that affect your reading of the novel?
- If given the opportunity, what modifications from Neuromancer would you most want to have? You can also use your imagination and think of some new ones.
- Do you think these modifications would change you as a person? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Bottom line? Neuromancer shows that transformation through technology is an essential part of being human.
On the flip side, transforming ourselves too much through technology would make us something other than human. In academic circles, this is called posthumanism (post as in "after"), and it's a wee bit creepy.