PDF | For more than thirty years, through three series of futurist works, the “ Sprawl,” “Bridge,” and “Blue Ant” trilogies, Gibson has substantively contributed to a. thean Motif in Willian Gibson's Neuromancer, de autoria do mes- . ences the development of the creator-creature relation in SF, especially in William Gibson's. Neuromancer William Gibson Ace Science Fiction Books New York Neuromancer An Ace Science Fiction Book / published by arrangement with the author.

William Gibson Pdf

Language:English, Japanese, Dutch
Published (Last):06.11.2015
ePub File Size:21.54 MB
PDF File Size:8.12 MB
Distribution:Free* [*Registration Required]
Uploaded by: SHANEKA

Author: William Gibson Gibson, William - CyberPunk 1 - Neuromancer · Read more Gibson, William - Sprawl 01 - Neuromancer · Read more. (ebook txt) William Gibson - Disney Land with the Death Penalty. Read more ( ebook) William Gibson - The Gernsback Continuum. Read more. Autor: William Gibson Rating: of 5 stars () counts. Original Format: ebook , Download Format: PDF, FB2, MOBI, MP3. Published: August 29th / by.

At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in mid- town Manhattan, outlines of hundred- year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta According to Boyer, Gibson introduces the Sprawl "by mapping the cyberspace of the computer onto the physical space of a regional city.

Boyer, in other words, organizes Gibson's description around a dichotomy between the residual, impalpable, and vague real city and the important, containable, and legible abstract matrix. According to Davis, the city of Blade Runner "yet another edition of the core modernist vision - alternately utopia or dystopia, ville radieuse or Gotham City" does not suffice to help us understand the current Los Angeles.

In a city like L. Davis appeals to the mechanism of careful extrapolation also found with Gibson to develop his "ecology" from "existing spatial patterns, in order to glimpse their emergent pattern. Neither Boyer nor Davis are much enchanted by this reality, in fact, and both interpret the impact of the network space on the real city as a loss.

Although Davis does not appeal to a binary, antithetical relationship between city and cyberspace as much as Boyer does, for him, too, the universe of Neuromancer offers only an imperfect possibility for mapping the new, partly invisible city.

Davis is forced to appropriate not only Gibson's universe but also the concomitant cowboy mental- ity to be at all able to continue writing about what is really happening. Boyer describes the loss as a loss of the conditions of possibility for a cognitive process. The urbanite is literally no longer able to form an image of the city, and this impotence has deleterious consequences: Pamphlet Series 23 Metropolitan Books, , See also Bukatman, Terminal Identity, This registration is capable of acting autonomously in cyberspace, where it helps Case in his various runs on protected databases.

Grid and Memorv Observers of the loss that accompanies the transition from the modern to the postmodern city cannot so simply use Neuromancer to clinch their case, however. They must for example bypass the stereotypical quality of Gibson's descriptions of real space, as well as the urban descriptions he transmits to the virtual world. Gibson himself does not describe a new urban condition supposedly produced by the impact of data on the real city.

What he is the first to have described is a complete space constructed out of the representation of data. This space is only attributed certain urban features by comparing its representa- tion to a city.

The space of data has thus acquired a number of characteristics that are automatically associated with the selected city images. The metaphors in Neuromancer, in other words, induce us less to study the implications of cyber- space for the contemporary city - as Boyer and Davis would have it - than to study which "urban" characteristics are being associated with the spatial repre- sentation of data.

This space of data, colored by urban images, is the arena in which the transformation of cyberspace takes place. This transformation, as I will demonstrate, has less to do with the formal characteristics of this space than with the way in which the space enters into a relation with its user.

Neuromancer's description of the databanks of the Tessier-Ashpool family suggests at first that data in the matrix are not only visually presented like a city or a conglomeration of buildings , but also really structured like a city. You know the old RCA Building? When the protagonist, Case, "jacks in" for the first time i. To break into a databank "He punched himself through and found an infinite blue space ranged with color-coded spheres strung on a tight grid of pale blue neon" [81; emphasis added I.

A databank is found by entering the correct coordinates: He opened it.

Grid coordinates and entry codes" [ The matrix, in short, appears as a full complement of real space. The components of this complementary space carry specific connotations, The grid is one of the preeminent images for conjuring up the modern utopia; it appears, in Scott Bukatman's words, as a "doubled sign of modernity - as it rep- resented the present, 'everything else was declared to be the past.

The gridwise multiplication of geometrical volumes in fact recalls a project like Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse. The comparison is worth pursuing for a moment since it transcends the level of mere formal analogy and introduces two impor- tant, interwoven themes already announced by Bukatman. The Ville Radieuse as conceived by Le Corbusier enters into a specific rela- tion with the past of a site as well as with history in general. It thereby embodies a certain notion of monumentality.

A Ville Radieuse is simultaneously new and definitive; it has no past and stands outside history. This position becomes quite clear if we look at the Plan Voisin, a proposal for Paris made by Le Corbusier in and obviously related to the idea of the Ville Radieuse. Only tru- ly idiosyncratic monuments like the Notre Dame are spared. The historical rem- nants in the plan function as a pars pro toto, as compressers of the past in a space that is otherwise spotlessly new.

They liberate the rest of the environment from history and clear the way for the three-dimensional grid. An expanded monumentality is 20 Bukatman, Terminal Identity, l. Art etArchitecture en Europe, , ed. Jean Dethier and Alain Guiheux Paris: Exhibition Catalogue Centre Pompidou, Allen Brooks, ed. Garland Publishing; Paris: Fondation Le Corbusier, To him, cyberspace, "in its vectored perfection, its spaceless space, its scaleless scale and its timeless time," recalls Smithson's fascination for "a city constructed of'null structures and surfaces' which perform no functions.

The Recursive Generation of the Cyberbody," in Cyberspace, ed. Featherstone and Burrows, At the same time, this world is able to offer us some comfort for the intractability of processes at the lev- el of microcircuits and other hardware. Thanks to the grid, the intractable multi- tude of the virtual and the real worlds acquires a certain perspectival cohesion. The urban quality of cyberspace would thus consist of the fact that the matrix offers an environment in which the virtual flaneur gathers structured knowledge by navigating along visually presented pieces of information.

This thesis has a reassuring appeal, yet it is severely complicated by the book itself. In Neuromancer, cyberspace proves to be much more unstable and incalcu- lable than the indicated metaphors for the matrix suggest. The passage from which the emblematic quotation about cyberspace was culled also speaks of a "consensual hallucination" and "Unthinkable complexity" [ The passage in which the T-A data are compared to a city surrounded by suburbs occurs in the following description of Case's ultimate run on the heavily guarded files: The roof of his mouth cleaved painlessly, admitting rootlets that whipped around his tongue, hungry for the taste of blue, to feed the crystal forests of his eyes, forests that pressed against the green dome, pressed and were hindered, and spread, growing down, filling the universe ofT-A, down into the waiting, hapless suburbs of the city that was the mind of Tessier-Ash pool SA [ He quotes Jameson one year before the publication of Neuromancer, saying that "this latest mu- tation in space - postmodern hyperspace - has finally succeeded in transcending the capacities of the individual human body to locate itself, to organise its immediate surroundings perceptually, and cognitively to map its position in a mappable external world.

The Discourse of Cyberculture, ed. Mark Dery Durham: This book appeared earli- er as a thematic issue of The South Atlantic Quarterly 92, 4 Allegory, Rhetoric, and the Paraspace," Critique 33,3 First Steps, ed.

Michael Benedikt Cambridge, MA.: M IT Press, , A Casebook ofCyber. Larry McCaffery Durham: Dery, In Neuromancer, the real city and the matrix are linked through the kinetic intox- ication experienced by protagonists. Case, for example, "[felt]a wave of exhilara- tion as cyberspace shivered, blurred, gelled" [ On another occasion, "The drug hit him like an express train, a white-hot column of light mounting his spine from the region of his prostate, illuminating the sutures of his skull with x-raysof short circuited sexual energy" [ Cyberspace acquires the same immersiveness as the modern city, which in turn is presented as an intoxicating image.

Urban space and cyber- space each enabled an understanding and negotiation of each other. Games show the intoxicating potential of an electronically simulated environment. In Gibson's own words about his first ac- quaintance with arcade games: Even the narrative structure of Neuromancer is closely related to the arcade game.

The two key moments in the story are attacks that run parallel in cyberspace and real space. The two worlds are linked by a "simstim- switch," which permits Case, while he is jacked in on the matrix, to ride along in the meatworld via the sensorium of Molly, the fighting machine.

Then he keyed the new switch. The abrupt jolt into other flesh. Matrix gone, a wave of sound and color She was moving through a crowded street, past stalls vending dis- count software, prices feltpenned on sheets of plastic, fragments of music from countless speakers.

Smells of urine, free monomers, perfume, patties of frying krill. For a few frightened seconds he fought helplessly to control her body. Then he willed himself into passivity, became the passenger behind her eyes [ Both in its representation of the real city and its descriptions of cyberspace, Neuromancer is soaked in the kind of "machine-age modernity" for which intoxi- cation and multitude are essential ingredients.

Gibson's use of this aesthetic is a typically modernist way of conjuring up an image of "the new. The driving force behind this transformation proves to be the memory. On several occasions, Gibson has emphasized that the computer is to him no more than a metaphor for the memory and its operations. The memory is carried in genetic codes and is manifested throughout Neuromancer in the form and use of different spatial surroundings. When Case, at the outset of the story, is being chased through Ninsei the underbelly of the Japanese city of Chiba , he compares the kick of a drugged run through the slums to a run through the matrix: Then you could throw yourself into a highspeed drift and skid, totally engaged but set apart from it all, and all around you the dance of biz, information interacting, data made flesh in the mazes of the black market [ Ninsei is a field of data in the same way the matrix recalls a linking of proteins.

The street and the proteins are carriers of data, of information. The actions on the street and the interactions of proteins are determined by these data; they form "data made flesh" and "cell specialties. There are not only significant and essential internal links among data, but also similar external links between those data and the manner in which they are physically manifested.

When by the end of the book Case asks why his girlfriend Linda Lee had to die, Neuromancer replies that he saw her death prefigured in the "patterns you sometimes imagined you could detect in the dance of the street" [ These patterns are real, "As clear to me as the shadow of a tumor to a surgeon studying a patient's scan" [ Much as the life of the street finds its translation in material patterns, death is legible from an unwanted excrescence.

For Case at one point, the streets ofNinsei are no more than "the externalization of some death wish" [ Although life in Ninsei is no bed of roses, passages like these suggest an 34 McCaffery, "Interview," Delany , "Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Dery, ' It is precisely this link between the city and everything taking place in it which is almost completely absent from Freeside.

Freeside is sterile, less real than simstim. Wintermute manages the colony like a perfect machine. When Case is arrested by the Turing police, the AI has the offi- cers killed by the maintenance and surveillance robots.

The counterpart of Free- side in Neuromancer is the Zion cluster, a space colony of a rastafarian subculture founded by five spaceworkers who refused to return to earth.

The Tessier-Ashpools' Villa Straylight wants to escape from the sterility of Freeside's custom accommodation at all costs. The Villa is described as "a Gothic folly," and "endless series of chambers linked by passages, by stairwells vaulted like intestines" [ Whereas Freeside is being presented as nothing but service- able infrastructure, Straylight wishes to suggest a significant connection between home and residents.

The relationship between the family and the house is not shown to the outer world, nor is it expressed in a representation of the family's activities or some image of its history.

Straylight is the heart and the body of the family, and thus also the physical carrier of the family business's memory. The intimate link between the villa and the databanks becomes visible in the empire's central terminal, a sophisticated mechanical head which occupies the central space of Straylight.

Thus, the corporate memory of the family business is physically in- tertwined with the building; the Tessier-Ashpools are inextricably tied to Stray- light. Another and complementary model for the way in which the memory es- tablishes links between inhabitants and surroundings is to be found in the descriptions of Ninsei and the BAMA.

In those cases, the close link between city and residents forms a living organism that grows and develops in accordance with certain genetic codes. Contrary to the city, the Villa Straylight establishes a physical connection between a single family and its cybernetic memory. A zai- batsu, too, may be compared to a structure in which the memory of the workers' community is contained, but here those workers are not organic parts of the structure.

A zaibatsu is represented as a machine. The position somebody hap- pens to occupy in such a company determines to what extent he has access to the "corporate memory. It should be noted, however, that the Tessier-Ashpool breed is itself already a perversion of an older family structure [ T-A is composed out of a series of clones, which, depending on the needs of the busi- ness empire, may be either defrosted or frozen.

Tessier, the founder, is at the time of his death more than years old. It takes a complex computer system and the juridical control of a law firm in London to follow up this system and its continual shifts in authority and power.

Straylight is presented as a failed, perverted nest, "a parasitic structure" [ The nest structure of Straylight is directly revealed to Case by Wintermute during flatlines - moments of being brain dead during visits to the matrix.

After Wintermute has flatlined Case for the first time, Case dreams about an occurrence from his adolescence. In the hotel room in which Case passes the summer with his girlfriend, a hornets' nest has formed in the window. First pushing it off the window sill so that it falls down on the street, he then wants to strike the final blow with a flame-thrower.


He saw the thing the shell of gray paper had concealed, Horror. The spiral birth facto- ry, stepped terraces of the hatching cells, blind jaws of the unborn moving ceaselessly, the staged progressfrom egg to larva, near-wasp, wasp.

In his mind's eye, a kind of time-lapse photography took place, revealing the thing as the biological equivalent of a machine gun, hideous in its perfection. Alien [ Wintermute has induced this memory in Case to reveal to him the workings of 37 One of the most essential links between cyberspace and the meatworld is that an unpleasant meeting in cyberspace, more particularly with ICE Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics , results in physical death.

The term "flatline" refers to the E. The family has failed in its attempt at setting up a symbiotic relationship between family structure and A I. The image of the nest is "the closest thing you got to what Tessier-Ashpool would like to be. The human equivalent. Straylight's like that nest, or anyway it was supposed to work out that way" [ Implicitly, Wintermute is pointing to the philosophy of Marie-France Tessier, the progenetrix. Animal bliss. Only in cer- tain heightened modes would an individual- a clan member - suffer the more painful aspects of self-awareness" [ She was however killed by her husband, Ashpool, to foil the execution of the project.

Now, sensing that its walls were starting to crumble, he felt the edge of a strange euphoria. Genetic materials and hormones trickled down to Ninsei along an intricate ladder of fronts and blinds. Somehow Wage had managed to trace something back, once, and now he enjoyed steady connections in a dozen cities. Case found himself staring through a shop window. The place sold small bright objects to the sailors. The shuriken had always fascinated him, steel stars with knife-sharp points.

Some were chromed, others black, others treated with a rainbow surface like oil on water. But the chrome stars held his gaze. They were mounted against scarlet ultra suede with nearly invisible loops of nylon fish line; their centers stamped with dragons or yin yang symbols.

His primary hedge against aging was a yearly pilgrimage to Tokyo, where genetic surgeons reset the code of his DNA, a procedure unavailable in Chiba. Sexless and inhumanly patient, his primary gratification seemed to he in his devotion to esoteric forms of tailor-worship. He affected prescription lenses, framed in spidery gold, ground from thin slabs of pink synthetic quartz and beveled like the mirrors in a Victorian doll house. His offices were located in a warehouse behind Ninsei, part of which seemed to have been sparsely decorated, years before, with a random collection of European furniture, as though Deane had once intended to use the place as his home.

Neo-Aztec bookcases gathered dust against one wall of the room where Case waited. A pair of bulbous Disney-styled table lamps perched awkwardly on a low Kandinsky-look coffee table in scarlet-lacquered steel. A Dali clock hung on the wall between the bookcases, its distorted face sagging to the bare concrete floor.

Its hands were holograms that altered to match the convolutions of the face as they rotated, but it never told the correct time. The room was stacked with white fiberglass shipping modules that gave off the tang of preserved ginger. The importer was securely fenced behind a vast desk of painted steel, flanked on either side by tall, drawer Ed cabinets made of some sort of pale wood. The sort of thing, Case supposed, that had once been used to store written records of some kind.

The desktop was littered with cassettes, scrolls of yellowed printout, and various parts of some sort of clockwork typewriter, a machine Deane never seemed to get around to reassembling. Tins Ting Djahe, the very best. Well then. And where did you hear this, if I may? Case nodded. He say anything to you? Things being what they are, you understand. He want to kill me, Julie?

They might have been discussing the price of ginger.

The steel desk was jammed with a fortune in debugging gear. The cultivation of a certain tame paranoia was something Case took for granted. The trick lay in not letting it get out of control.

But that could be quite a trick, behind a stack of octagons. He fought the adrenaline surge and composed his narrow features in a mask of bored vacancy, pretending to let the crowd carry him along. When he saw a darkened display window, he managed to pause by it. The place was a surgical boutique, closed for renovations. With his hands in the pockets of his jacket, he stared through the glass at a flat lozenge of vat grown flesh that lay on a carved pedestal of imitation jade.

Why bother with the surgery, he found himself thinking, while sweat coursed down his ribs, when you could just carry the thing around in your pocket? Without moving his head, he raised his eyes and studied the reflection of the passing crowd.

Behind sailors in short-sleeved khaki. Dark hair, mirrored glasses, dark clothing, slender. And gone. Then Case was running, bent low, dodging between bodies. Got anything right now? He produced a slender package wrapped in gray plastic. One hour, twenty New Yen.

Thirty deposit. I need a gun. Like I maybe wanna shoot somebody, understand? The Japanese woman behind the terminal looked like she had a few years on old Deane, none of them with the benefit of science.

He took his slender roll of New Yen out of his pocketand showed itto her.

Navigation menu

The lid was yellow cardboard, stamped with a crude image of a coiled cobra with a swollen hood. Inside were eight identical tissue-wrapped cylinders. He watched while mottled brown fingers stripped the paper from one.

She held the thing up for him to examine, a dull steel tube with a leather thong at one end and a small bronze pyramid at the other. She gripped the tube with one hand, the pyramid between her other thumb and forefinger, and pulled.

Three oiled, telescoping segments of tightly wound coil spring slid out and locked. Beyond the neon shudder of Ninsei, the sky was that mean shade of gray. The air had gotten worse; it seemed to have teeth tonight, and half the crowd wore filtration masks. The pyramidal striking tip rode between his ribcage and the lining of his windbreaker.

The thing felt like it might clatter to the pavement with his next step, but it made him feel better. Fridays and Saturdays were different. The regulars were still there, most of them, but they faded behind an influx of sailors and the specialists who preyed on diem. Zone was addicted to a brand of hypnotic the Japanese called Cloud Dancers. Zone came drifting through the crowd in slow motion, his long face slack and placid.

He shook his head. Maybe two hours ago. One of 'em thin, dark hair, maybe a black jacket?

He saw the bulge of the steel whip. His tail was back. He was sure of it. He felt a stab of elation the octagons and adrenaline mingling with something else. Because, in some weird and very approximate way, it was like a run in the matrix. Get just wasted enough, find yourself in some desperate but strangely arbitrary kind of trouble, and it was possible to see Ninsei as a field of data, the way the matrix had once reminded him of proteins linking to distinguish cell specialties.

Then you could throw yourself into a highspeed drift and skid, totally engaged but set apart from it all, and all around you the dance of biz, information interacting, data made flesh in the mazes of the black market. Go it, Case, he told himself. Suck 'em in. Last thing they'll expect. He bolted across Ninsei, scattering a pack of strolling sailors. One of them screamed after him in Spanish. Then he was through the entrance, the sound crashing over him like surf, subsonics throbbing in the pit of his stomach.

Someone scored a ten-megaton hit on Tank War Europa, a simulated air burst drowning the arcade in white sound as a lurid hologram fireball mushroomed overhead. He cut to the right and loped up a flight of unpainted chip board stairs. He remembered the hallway, its stained matting, the row of identical doors leading to tiny office cubicles. One door was open now. A Japanese girl in a sleeveless black t-shirt glanced up from a white terminal, behind her head a travel poster of Greece, Aegian blue splashed with streamlined ideograms.

Then he sprinted down the corridor, out of her sight. The last two doors were closed and, he assumed, locked. He spun and slammed the sole of his nylon running shoe into the blue-lacquered composition door at the far end. It popped, cheap hardware falling from the splintered frame.

Darkness there, the white curve of a terminal housing. Then he was on the door to its right, both hands around the transparent plastic knob, leaning in with everything he had. Something snapped, and he was inside. This was where he and Wage had met with Matsuga, but whatever front company Matsuga had operated was long gone. No terminal, nothing. Light from the alley behind the arcade, filtering in through soot blown plastic.

He made out a snake like loop of fiber optics protruding from a wall socket, a pile of discarded food containers, and the blade less nacelle of an electric fan. The window was a single pane of cheap plastic. He shrugged out of his jacket, bundled it around his right hand, and punched. It split, requiring two more blows to free it from the frame. Over the muted chaos of the games, an alarm began to cycle, triggered either by the broken window or by the girl at the head of the corridor.

Case turned, pulled his jacket on, and flicked the cobra to full extension. Nothing happened. There was only the surging of the alarm, the crashing of the games, his heart hammering. When the fear came, it was like some half-forgotten friend. Not the cold rapid mechanism of the dex-paranoia, but simple animal fear.

This cubicle was the sort of place where people died. He might die here. They might have guns A crash, from the far end of the corridor.

A scream, shrill terror. Another crash. And footsteps, unhurried, coming closer. Passing his closed door. Pausing for the space of three rapid beats of his heart. And returning. One, two, three. A bootheel scraped the matting. The last of his octagon-induced bravado collapsed.

He snapped the cobra into its handle and scrambled for the window, blind with fear, his nerves screaming. The impact with pavement drove dull rods of pain through his shins. A narrow wedge of light from a half-open service hatch framed a heap of discarded fiber optics and the chassis of a junked console. The alarm still oscillated, louder here, the rear wall dulling the roar of the games. A head appeared, framed in the window, back lit by the fluorescents in the corridor, then vanished.

Glint of silver across the eyes. The head was gone. Case lay under the console for a long count of twenty, then stood up. The steel cobra was still in his hand, and it took him a few seconds to remember what it was. He limped away down the alley, nursing his left ankle. It was chambered for. Still it was a handgun and nine rounds of ammunition, and as he made his way down Shiga from the sushi stall he cradled it in his jacket pocket.

The grips were bright red plastic molded in a raised dragon motif, something to run your thumb across in the dark. The pill lit his circuits and he rode the rush down Shiga to Ninsei, then over to Baiitsu. A block down Baiitsu, toward the port, stood a featureless ten-story office building in ugly yellow brick. Its windows were dark now, but a faint glow from the roof was visible if you craned your neck. You reached it through an alley off Baiitsu, where an elevator waited at the foot of a transparent shaft.

The elevator, like Cheap Hotel, was an afterthought, lashed to the building with bamboo and epoxy. Case climbed into the plastic cage and used his key, an unmarked length of rigid magnetic tape. He slept in cheaper places. The elevator smelled of perfume and cigarettes; the sides of the cage was scratched and thumb- smudged. As it passed the fifth floor, he saw the lights of Ninsei. He drummed his fingers against the pistol grip as the cage slowed with a gradual hiss.

As always, it came to a full stop with a violent jolt, but he was ready for it. He stepped out into the courtyard that served the place as some combination of lobby and lawn. Centered in the square carpet of green plastic turf, a Japanese teenager sat behind a C -shaped console, reading a textbook. The white fiberglass coffins were racked in a framework of industrial scaffolding. Six tiers of coffins, ten coffins on a side. The compound was roofed with cheap laminated matting that rattled in a strong wind and leaked when it rained, but the coffins were reasonably difficult to open without a key.

The expansion-grate catwalk vibrated with his weight as he edged his way along the third tier to Number The coffins were three meters long, the oval hatches a meter wide and just under a meter and a half tall.

He fed his key into the slot and waited for verification from the house computer. Magnetic bolts thudded reassuringly and the hatch rose vertically with a creak of springs. Fluorescents flickered on as he crawled in, pulling the hatch shut behind him and slapping the panel that activated the manual latch.

There was nothing in Number 92 but a standard Hitachi pocket computer and a small white styrofoam cooler chest. The cooler contained the remains of three ten-kilo slabs of dry ice carefully wrapped in paper to delay evaporation, and a spun aluminum lab flask.

Then he took off his jacket. Case took the pink handset from its cradle and punched a Hongkong number from memory. He let it ring five times, then hung up. He punched a Tokyo number in Shinjuku. A woman answered, something in Japanese. We have a cash flow problem. Can you front? He stared at the cheap little pistol. Ratz was at a rear table, drinking Apollonaris water from a beer pitcher, his hundred and twenty kilos of doughy flesh tilted against the wall on a creaking chair. A Brazilian kid called Kurt was on the bar, tending a thin crowd of mostly silent drunks.

His shaven head was filmed with sweat. Proof against the grosser emotions, yes? You seen Wage? Somebody hurt? He was looking past Case, toward the entrance. The speed sang in his head. The pistol in his hand was slippery with sweat. Too seldom do you honor us.

It was a tanned and forgettable mask. The eyes were vat grown sea-green Nikon transplants. Wage wore a suit of gunmetal silk and a simple bracelet of platinum on either wrist. He was flanked by his Joe boys, nearly identical young men, their arms and shoulders bulging with grafted muscle.

Ratz crushed it smoothly, butts and shards of green plastic cascading onto the table top.

The skeletal magazine revealed five fat orange cartridges, subsonic sandbag jellies. These," and he glowered at Wage and the Joe boys, "should know better.

We just wanna talk business. Case and me, we work together. Wait for me. Ratz held the gun in his claw and pumped the round out of the chamber. Somebody trying to set you up? Case felt the weight of the night come down on him like a bag of wet sand settling behind his eyes. He took the flask out of his pocket and handed it to Wage.

Get you five hundred if you move it fast. Like hammered shit. You better go somewhere and sleep. Go home. Down on Ninsei the holograms were vanishing like ghosts, and most of the neon was already cold and dead. Towns like this are for people who like the way down. She just wanted a ticket home, and the RAM in his Hitachi would download it for her, if she could find the right fence. When he climbed out of the elevator, the same boy was on the desk. Different textbook.

I know already. Pretty lady came to visit, said she had my key. Nice little tip for you, say fifty New ones? The boy smiled back, nodded. On the catwalk, he had trouble with the lock. He knew where to rent a black box that would open anything in Cheap Hotel.

Fluorescents came on as he crawled in. You still got that Saturday night special you rented from the waiter? She had her knees up, resting her wrists on them, the pepper box muzzle of a flechette pistol emerged from her hands.

Took your Hitachi. Real nervous kid. What about the gun, man? Her clothes were black, the heels of black boots deep in the temper foam. Sold his bullets back to him for half what I paid. You want the money? All I got, right now. I had to mess up this rentacop came after me with nun chucks. I never saw her before I came up here. He realized that the glasses were surgically inset, sealing her sockets. The silver lenses seemed to grow from smooth pale skin above her cheekbones, framed by dark hair cut in a rough shag.

The fingers curled around the fletcher were slender, white, tipped with polished burgundy. The nails looked artificial.

I showed up and you just fit me right into your reality picture. One live body, brains still somewhat intact. Molly, Case. Just wants to talk, is all. You look like you like to take stupid chances.

She smiled. The blades slowly withdrew. It was ten meters by eight, half of a suite. A white Braun coffee maker steamed on a low table by the sliding glass panels that opened onto a narrow balcony. Look like you need it. She wore a sleeveless gray pullover with plain steel zips across each shoulder.

Bulletproof, Case decided, slopping coffee into a bright red mug. His arms and legs felt like they were made out of wood. Blue eyes so pale they made Case think of bleach. This is your lucky day, boy. Brown stain running down the imitation rice paper wall. He saw the angular gold ring through the left lobe. Special Forces. The man smiled.

Twin mirrors tracking as he crossed to the table and refilled his cup. A heavy gold bracelet flashed on his wrist.


We invented you in Siberia, Case. Tried to burn this Russian nexus with virus programs. Yeah, I heard about it. And nobody got out. Armitage walked to the window and looked out over Tokyo Bay. One unit made it back to Helsinki, Case. The prototypes of the programs you use to crack industrial banks were developed for Screaming Fist.

For the assault on the Kirensk computer nexus. Basic module was a Nightwing micro light, a pilot, a matrix deck, a jockey. We were running a virus called Mole.

The Mole series was the first generation of real intrusion programs. Bought a go-to for each of your aliases and ran the skim through some military software. The model gives you a month on the outside. A statue. Right now. The clinic was nameless, expensively appointed, a cluster of sleek pavilions separated by small formal gardens.

White boulders, a stand of green bamboo, black gravel raked into smooth waves. A gardener, a thing like a large metal crab, was tending the bamboo. You got no idea, the kind of stuff Armitage has. The narrow toes were sheathed in bright Mexican silver. The lenses were empty quicksilver, regarding him with an insect calm. Working girl, you know? He okay, Molly?

Its bronze carapace might have been a thousand years old. When it was within a meter of her boots, it fired a burst of light, then froze for an instant, analyzing data obtained. The thing fell on its back, but the bronze limbs soon righted it. Case sat on one of the boulders, scuffing at the symmetry of the gravel waves with the toes of his shoes. He began to search his pockets for cigarettes. Cold steel odor. Ice caressed his spine. Lost, so small amid that dark, hands grown cold, body image fading down corridors of television sky.

Then black fire found the branching tributaries of the nerves, pain beyond anything to which the name of pain is given. Hold still. And Ratz was there, and Linda Lee, Wage and Lonny Zone, a hundred faces from the neon forest, sailors and hustlers and whores, where the sky is poisoned silver, beyond chain link and the prison of the skull.

Where the sky faded from hissing static to the non color of the matrix, and he glimpsed the shuriken, his stars. His neck was brittle, made of twigs. There was a steady pulse of pain midway down his spine. Images formed and reformed: A breast brushed his upper arm. He heard her tear the foil seal from a bottle of water and drink.

Micro channel image-amps in my glasses. Changed your blood too. Blood 'cause you got a new pancreas thrown into the deal. And some new tissue patched into your liver. The nerve stuff I dun no. Lot of injections.

Got a readout chipped into my optic nerve. Gagged, coughed, lukewarm water spraying his chest and thighs.

He was groping for his clothes. Small strong hands gripped his upper arms. Eight day wait. Your nervous system would fall out on the floor if you jacked in now. Besides, they figure it worked. Check you in a day or so. Cheap Hotel. Amsterdam, Paris, then back to the Sprawl. She settled over the small of his back, kneeling on the temper foam, the leather jeans cool against his skin.

Her fingers brushed his neck. She rocked there for a minute in the dark, erect above him, her other hand on his neck. The leather of her jeans creaked softly with the movement. Case shifted, feeling himself harden against the temper foam.

His head throbbed, but the brittleness in his neck seemed to retreat. He raised himself on one elbow, rolled, sank back against the foam, pulling her down, licking her breasts, small hard nipples sliding wet across his cheek. He found the zip on the leather jeans and tugged it down.

She struggled beside him until she could kick them away. She threw a leg across him and he touched her face. Unexpected hardness of the implanted lenses.

As she began to lower herself, the images came pulsing back, the faces, fragments of neon arriving and receding. She slid down around him and his back arched convulsively. She rode him that way, impaling herself, slipping down on him again and again, until they both had come, his orgasm flaring blue in a timeless space, a vastness like the matrix, where the faces were shredded and blown away down hurricane corridors, and her inner thighs were strong and wet against his hips.

On Nisei, a thinner, weekday version of the crowd went through the motions of the dance. Waves of sound rolled from the arcades and pachinko parlors. Case glanced into the Chat and saw Zone watching over his girls in the warm, beer-smelling twilight.

Ratz was tending bar. He takes care of himself. She shook her head. Five minutes. By your clock, okay? Tight friends my ass. What is this about, exactly? Anyway, I'll be coming in alone. But five Minutes. Any more and I'll come in and cool your tight friend permanently. You wanna let me in?

Please, Julie? It was a belly gun, a magnum revolver with the barrel sawn down to a nub. The front of the trigger-guard had been cut away and the grips wrapped with what looked like old masking tape.

Nothing personal. Now tell me what you want. And a go-to on somebody. I'm leaving. But do me the favor, okay? This gentleman seems to have a temporary arrangement with the Yakuza, and the sons of the neon chrysanthemum have ways of screening their allies from the likes of me.

Now, history. You said history. You in the war, Julie? Lasted three weeks. Great bloody postwar political football, that was. Watergated all to hell and back. Your brass, Case, your Sprawlside brass in, where was it, McLean? In the bunkers, all of that. Wasted a fair bit of patriotic young flesh in order to test some new technology. Knew about the emps, magnetic pulse weapons. Sent these fellows in regardless, just to see. Though I do think a few did.

One of the teams. Got hold of a Sov gunship. Helicopter, you know. Flew it back to Finland. Special Forces types. The smell of preserved ginger was overwhelming. Though I did see action.

I owe you one. And goodbye. You want one? Armitage had them designed to bypass that shit. He looked at the octagon, then at her.

Eat a dozen. Nothing did. Three beers later, she was asking Ratz about the fights. The corridor, with a door at either end, was a crude airlock preserving the pressure differential that supported the dome. Fluorescent rings were screwed to the plywood ceiling at intervals, but most of them had been broken.

The air was damp and close with the smell of sweat and concrete. None of that prepared him for the arena, the crowd, the tense hush, the towering puppets of light beneath the dome.

Concrete sloped away in tiers to a kind of central stage, a raised circle ringed with a glittering thicket of projection gear. No light but the holograms that shifted and flickered above the ring, reproducing the movements of the two men below. Strata of cigarette smoke rose from the tiers, drifting until it struck currents set up by the blowers that supported the dome. No sound but the muted purring of the blowers and the amplified breathing of the fighters.

The holograms were ten-power magnifications; at ten, the knives they held were just under a meter long. The knives seemed to move of their own accord, gliding with a ritual lack of urgency through the arcs and passes of their dance, point passing point, as the men waited for an opening. She nodded, lost in contemplation of the dance.

He turned and walked back into the shadows. Too dark. Too quiet. The crowd, he saw, was mostly Japanese. Not really a Night City crowd.

Teaks down from the arcologies. He supposed that meant the arena had the approval of some corporate recreational committee.

He wondered briefly what it would be like, working all your life for one zaibatsu. Company housing, company hymn, company funeral. He bought yakitori on skewers and two tall waxy cartons of beer. Thick brown sauce trickled down the skewers and over his knuckles. Shadows twisted as the holograms swung through their dance. Then the fear began to knot between his shoulders.

A cold trickle of sweat worked its way down and across his ribs. He was still here, still meat, no Molly waiting, her eyes locked on the circling knives, no Armitage waiting in the Hilton with tickets and a new passport and money. It was all some dream, some pathetic fantasy. Hot tears blurred his vision. Blood sprayed from a jugular in a red gout of light. And now the crowd was screaming, rising, screaming — as one figure crumpled, the hologram fading, flickering.

Raw edge of vomit in his throat. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, opened them, and saw Linda Lee step past him her gray eyes blind with fear. She wore the same French fatigues. Into shadow. Pure mindless reflex: Afterimage of a single hair-fine line of red light.

Seared concrete beneath the thin soles of his shoes. Her white sneakers flashing, close to the curving wall now and again the ghost line of the laser branded across his eye, bobbing in his vision as he ran.

Someone tripped him. Concrete tore his palms. He rolled and kicked, failing to connect. A thin boy, spiked blond hair lit from behind in a rainbow nimbus, was leaning over him. Above the stage, a figure turned, knife held high, to the cheering crowd. The boy smiled and drew something from his sleeve. A razor, etched in red as a third beam blinked past them into the dark. The face was erased in a humming cloud of microscopic explosions. He was walking toward the stalls, into the shadows.

He looked down, expecting to see that needle of ruby emerge from his chest.

He found her. She was thrown down at the foot of a concrete pillar, eyes closed. There was a smell of cooked meat. A beer vendor was wiping his taps with a dark rag. One white sneaker had come off, somehow, and lay beside her head. Follow the wall. Curve of concrete. Hands in pockets. Keep walking. Once a seamed European face danced in the glare of a match, lips pursed around the short stem of a metal pipe.

Tang of hashish. Case walked on, feeling nothing. Time to go home. She stopped him with a hand on his chest. Killed your girl for you. We got a partial profile on that old bastard when we did you, man. The one back there said they got on to her when she was trying to fence your RAM.

Just cheaper for them to kill her and take it. Save a little money I got the one who had the laser to tell me all about it. Coincidence we were here, but I had to make sure. Case felt as though his brain were jammed. He saw that her hands were sticky with blood. Back in the shadows, someone made wet sounds and died. After the postoperative check at the clinic, Molly took him to the port. Armitage was waiting. The last Case saw of Chiba were the dark angles of the arcologies.

Then a mist closed over the black water and the drifting shoals of waste. Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen. Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white. Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation.

Your map is about to go nova. Cool it down. Up your scale. Each pixel a million megabytes. At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta. He watched himself download a flat plastic flask of Danish vodka at some kiosk, an hour before dawn.

The train itself was silent, gliding over its induction cushion, but displaced air made the tunnel sing, bass down into subsonics. Vibration reached the room where he lay and caused dust to rise from the cracks in the desiccated parquet floor.

Opening his eyes, he saw Molly, naked and just out of reach across an expanse of very new pink temper foam. Overhead, sunlight filtered through the soot-stained grid of a skylight. One half-meter square of glass had been replaced with chip-board, a fat gray cable emerging there to dangle within a few centimeters of the floor. The room was large. He sat up. The room was empty, aside from the wide pink bedslab and two nylon bags, new and identical, that lay beside it.

Blank walls, no windows, a single white-painted steel fire door. The walls were coated with countless layers of white latex paint. Factory space. He was home. He swung his feet to the floor. It was made of little blocks of wood, some missing, others loose. His head ached.

He remembered Amsterdam, another room, in the Old City section of the Centrum, buildings centuries old. Armitage off on some cryptic foray, the two of them walking alone past Dam Square to a bar she knew on a Damrak thoroughfare.

Paris was a blurred dream. He stood, pulling on a wrinkled pair of new black jeans that lay at his feet, and knelt beside the bags. Beneath a green t-shirt, he discovered a flat, origami-wrapped package, recycled Japanese paper.

The paper tore when he picked it up; a bright nine-pointed star fell — to stick upright in a crack in the parquet. He stood in the open doorway with an old-fashioned magnetic key in his hand.

Molly was making coffee on a tiny German stove she took from her bag. Infrascan perimeter, screamers Armitage was no taller than Case, but with his broad shoulders and military posture he seemed to fill the doorway. He wore a somber Italian suit; in his right hand he held a briefcase of soft black calf. The Special Forces earring was gone. The pale glitter of his eyes heightened the effect of a mask.

Case began to regret the question. Or corporate security," Case added uncomfortably. Molly handed him a steaming mug of coffee. You should thank me.

The one we bought for you frees you from a dangerous dependency. Armitage was smiling. Very slowly, but they definitely are dissolving. Each one contains a mycotoxin. It was the one your former employers gave you in Memphis.

Do the job and I can inject you with an enzyme that will dissolve the bond without opening the sacs. So you see, Case, you need us. You need us as badly as you did when we scraped you up from the gutter. She shrugged. Like Christmas morning. He sat beside Molly in filtered sunlight on the rim of a dry concrete fountain, letting the endless stream of faces recapitulate the stages of his life.

First a child with hooded eyes, a street boy, hands relaxed and ready at his sides; then a teenager, face smooth and cryptic beneath red glasses. Case remembered fighting on a rooftop at seventeen, silent combat in the rose glow of the dawn geodesics. He shifted on the concrete, feeling it rough and cool through the thin black denim. Nothing here like the electric dance of Ninsei. This was different commerce, a different rhythm, in the smell of fast food and perfume and fresh summer sweat.

With his deck waiting, back in the loft, an Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7. Big ones. Near airports, if he can manage it. Works either way. I saw you stroking that Sendai; man, it was pornographic. Eggs, real bacon. Probably kill you, you been eating that rebuilt Chiba krill for so long.

Case picked at a shred of bacon that had lodged between his front teeth.The room fell silent. He bought yakitori on skewers and two tall waxy cartons of beer.

Eggs, real bacon. Go it, Case, he told himself. The wheelchair whispered across browning linoleum, guided by tiny twitches of one imperfectly paralyzed hand. Thus, it figures a foundational moment: Nobody at all. The men were blanks; the woman reminded him of Linda Lee. He'd have the best. Deke was glad to have the battered elevator doors sigh shut behind him.

NELIDA from Fort Smith
Browse my other articles. I am highly influenced by calcio fiorentino. I do like reading comics upwardly.