The Characters (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
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.)
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In Neuromancer, a novel set in a crowded world, Gibson offers a rogue's gallery of characters from all levels of society, from the pimps, Panther Moderns, and criminals of Chiba City and the Sprawl to the wealthy denizens of Freeport and the Villa Straylight. All of Gibson's characters are damaged in some way, decadent and self-indulgent products of a world of accessible designer drugs, sex, and illegal trade in a variety of high-tech materials.
The central figures, Case and Molly, are members of a team assembled by Armitage, a technologically rebuilt version of Colonel Willis Corto, an officer betrayed and nearly killed in an assault on Russia. Armitage, under the direction of one of the two powerful Tessier-Ashpool artificial intelligences, Wintermute, brings together Case, a cyberspace cowboy; Molly, a deadly razorgirl; Peter Riviera, a psychopathic entertainer with a talent for creating hallucinatory visions; the Finn, an expert in technological artifacts; and Maelcum, a Rasta tug pilot from Zion cluster, to attempt a break-in at the Villa Straylight on Freeport.
Case is a young, unwashed techno-artiste, a former console cowboy who has the ability to jack into the matrix and attack the databases he finds there. The opening of the novel finds Case in a death spiral in Chiba City, hustling stolen RAM and biologicals and flirting with annihilation by various criminals he has double-crossed. Case's brain has been sabotaged by a previous...
(The entire section is 833 words.)