Is Vint Right About The Body?

During class discussion we have perpetuated the notion that Gibson’s novel, Neuromancer, deals explicitly with a continual chase for feeding one’s hunger for technology, but as one reexamines the novel an opposing view can be made. Sherryl Vint’s critique, Cyberpunk: Return of the Repressed Body, makes the argument that most, if not all, the events in Neuromancer can be traced back to the wants of the human body. With an abundant amount of examples in her arsenal, Vint makes a compelling argument that Case’s adventure deals with fulfilling his physical wants and not his technological needs. Overall, I firmly coincide with her argument, considering the fact Case’s expedition was to feed his drug addiction; which can be seen in a number of scenes.

Gibson’s dystopia, Neuromancer, stations a cyberspace cowboy at his lowest moment, a felo de se and a drug addict, still seeking to get back into cyberspace. Immediately, one would consider Case having an ill admiration for technology considering how Gibson shows how pathetic Case is to the fact that he cannot enter cyberspace “he’d cry for it, cry in his sleep”(Gibson, 5). Although one could argue that this instance shows Case’s attachment to technology, one has to acknowledge why he wants to go there in the first place. Aside form the thrill he got “an almost adrenaline high”(Gibson, 5) Case got something in return for his service “ A thief, he’d work for other, wealthier thieves, employers”(Gibson, 5), cash. Finally, one can see that Case cares more for his drugs rather than jacking into cyberspace “You’re biochemically incapable of getting off on amphetamine…. Shit” (Gibson, 36), showing that even though Case will soon be able to enter cyberspace, he still cares about his drugs; the wants of his body. This whole enjoyment of being in cyberspace is only created because at the end of the day Case will be rewarded and get his next pill.

Ultimately, Neuromancer can be seen as a drug addict’s voyage in trying to get his next fix rather than a crazed twenty-four year old obsessed with technology and cyberspace. Still, there are other themes in the novel, except that the addiction to technology seems faulty.

  1. This is an interesting theory, Christian, that Case’s drug addictions are not the effect of his being booted out of cyberspace but rather what drove him to work there in the first place. And while I think that’s a counterintuitive reading of the novel, you provide some nice evidence to bolster your point.

  2. I agree with what you have stated in this blog post, although I think Case can be ultimately addicted to his technology and to his drugs. Another example to bolster your opinion is that he continues his cyberspace mission only to get the toxin sacs removed from his body. Ultimately he is freed, and that can be seen as the only reason he went through this technologic mission.

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