Neurally damaged cyberpunk junkie Henry Dorsett Case takes too many pills for temporary relief from the death spiral in which he is trapped. At the behest of ex-military officer Armitage, hired “razorgirl” and street samurai Molly Millions pulls Case from his miserable existence and repairs his nervous system, effectively indenturing Case to whatever cyberhacking missions Armitage wants him to complete. Cue lots of suspenseful action that ends with Case’s consciousness and that of his dead ex (from when he was a drug addict) forever floating through cyberspace.
Many posts have already commented on the level of sensory detail and its effect on the plot. Though distinctly futuristic, the physical space of the novel is not unfamiliar in the way Le Guin’s planet Winter is, allowing the reader to mentally map out Gibson’s world and follow the intricate visual details that drive the plot. Pistols, computers, bars, and violent crime are easier to relate to versus genderless aliens or humanoid robots, features that create terminology and circumstances that can slow a plot down. The high-speed nature of Neuromancer is enabled by Gibson’s apparent intent to provide a plot that requires little explanation of its surroundings. Even the characters themselves — their feelings, thoughts, pasts — are not as important to the plot as the actions they take, making Neuromancer a pretty quick read.