Study Guide

Neuromancer Transformation

By William Gibson

Transformation

He'd operated on an almost permanent adrenaline high, a byproduct of youth and proficiency, jacking into a custom cyberspace deck that projected his disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix. (1.24)

Case transforms his consciousness into data to explore cyberspace. If his consciousness is transformed into data, then does that mean Case, himself, is also data at this point? Then, is Case still Case? Ack.

[Deane's] primary hedge against aging was a yearly pilgrimage to Tokyo, where genetic surgeons reset the code of his DNA, a procedure unavailable in Chiba. (1.77)

Deane alters his DNA to transform himself into a younger looking man. However, his tastes in office decorations and the fact that he calls Case "boyo" suggest he still thinks of himself as an old man. Going for the best of both worlds is he?

For a few frightened seconds [Case] fought helplessly to control [Molly's] body. Then he willed himself into passivity, became the passenger behind her eyes. (4.8)

Through the simstim, Case can see what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. Literally. In a way, he transforms into Molly.

Wintermute was a simple cube of white light, that very simplicity suggesting extreme complexity. (9.42)

Wintermute is represented as a cube of white light, but later it transforms into the people from Case's past to communicate with Case or someone from Armitage's past to communicate with Armitage. As data, Wintermute can transform depending on who's accessing it. Think of it as the way you can personalize your gadgetry with desktop backgrounds and keyboard shortcuts. Except way more extreme.

Now [Case] saw that their tans were uneven, a stencil effect produced by selective melanin boosting, multiple shades overlapping in rectilinear patterns. (10.49)

Here's an example of transformation through technology that is available even today. Although we don't know of any tanning booths that offer patterns. But hey, it's only a matter of time.

Freeside suddenly made sense to him. Biz. He could feel it humming in the air. This was it, the local action. (11.112)

Case finds something he recognizes in Freeside and that recognition instantly transforms the alien city to something more familiar. Can you think of instances where something similar has happened to you?

"I don't cry, much." "But how would you cry, if someone made you cry?" "I spit," [Molly] said. "The ducts are routed back into my mouth.'" (15.68-70)

Molly's modifications make it so that she can no longer cries, but the transformation hasn't altered her ability to feel sadness. The act of crying and the feeling of sadness are certainly related but not inseparable. Still, there's something distinctly depressing about drooling instead of crying.

"The reason Straylight's not exactly hoppin' with Tessier-Ashpools is that they're mostly in cold sleep. There's a law firm in London keeps track of their powers of attorney. Has to know who's awake and exactly when." (16.52)

The Tessier-Ashpool family transforms what it means to be part of a family. Just imagine being a teenager at the same time as your grandfather while your father raises you both. Or the third of ten clones of your father's daughter. Talk about being the middle child.

"But you do now know her thoughts," [Neuromancer] said, beside him now in the shark thing's heart. "I do not know her thoughts. You were wrong, Case. To live here is to live. There is no difference." (23.49)

Linda Lee exists within Neuromancer's world. Does this mean she's still the same person even though she's in the computer world or is she just a program now? If only she updated her Facebook status and let us know.

"I got no idea at all what'll happen if Wintermute wins, but it'll change something!" (23.75)

If Wintermute transforms, it'll transform everything about cyberspace and, perhaps, the world. Case and Co. have no way of knowing what will happen. It seems sometimes you just gotta roll the dice and then roll with the punches.