Drug use seems pretty commonplace in the world of Neuromancer. And not just pedestrian substances like alcohol or tobacco, but some pretty heinous, mind-bending stuff. Oddly enough, some of the most evocative, disturbing, and humorous moments in the book come during or after a character doses. But to what end? Why is drug use so prevalent in this world? Is the novel trying to romanticize drug use? Is it trying to point out the dangers of addiction to these dangerous concoctions? We at Shmoop aren't sure, but we will say that Gibson is at least fairly realistic in his portrayal of his drugs. The characters get all Rocket Man before crashing back to Earth with hangovers to match the highs. It is, at the very least, honest.
Questions About Drugs and Alcohol
Why do you think Case takes drugs during his time at Chiba City? What about the betaphenethylamine at Freeside? Finally, why do you think Case choose to spend so much money on a new pancreas at the novel's conclusion?
What are the positive aspects of drug use illustrated by the novel? The negative ones? What side of the issue do you think Neuromancer promotes? How can you tell?
Some characters, like Molly, don't use drugs. Why don't they? Are they addicted to something else, and if so, what? How can you tell?
Chew on This
Armitage didn't get Riviera a new pancreas and liver because the plan was to kill him through his drug intake the whole time (or at the very least as a mission failsafe).
Some characters, such as 3Jane, use people like drugs—as a quick high before promptly discarding them.