Two years before the beginning of the story, Henry Dorsett Case, the point-of-view character, was a “console cowboy.” He could directly interface his brain with the worldwide computer system, the matrix. He used his abilities as a data thief. When he attempted to double-cross his employers, they damaged with a toxic drug the portion of his brain used for the interface. At the beginning of the story, he is a street hustler and has killed three people. He is also a heavy drug user; he is twenty-four years old at the time of the novel.
Otherwise, the reader can divide most of the characters into criminals and victims. Linda Lee is the purest example of a victim. She is a twenty-year-old drug abuser and computer-game devotee.
Among the criminals are Peter Reveira, a performing holographic artist and sadist; 3Jane Tessier-Ashpool, heir to the Tessier-Ashpool fortune, member of the idle rich, drug abuser, and thrill seeker; and even Molly, a mercenary whom people call a “razorgirl” because she has had retractable razor blades surgically implanted beneath her fingernails. She also has artificial eyes. At one time, Molly was a prostitute.
Armitage is interesting in that he is both a criminal and a victim. Under his real name of Willis, he served in the U.S. Army Special Forces during the Three Week War between the United States and Russia. His superiors betrayed him when they ordered him on a mission that could not succeed. He...
(The entire section is 485 words.)