Retired superhacker (“console cowboy”) that has fallen deep into depression/drug addiction and culture/unemployment, is located and is fixed on the condition that he complete a job that he is unaware of until much later, and the failure to complete it will result in the release of paralyzing toxins in his body that left his nervous system damaged.
The actions of the characters in the novel, with the (possible) exception of the romance emerging between two characters, are indirectly/directly controlled by one of two AIs—designed by an extremely wealthy family of elites—who use them as pawns in order to facilitate their amalgamation into a singular entity.
Following lots of high-intensity action scenes, betrayal/drug-use/sex/killing, the two AI’s eventually merge due to the success of the protagonist and the other characters, and the console cowboy returns back to his normal life as a normal hacker and addict.
I think that when you boil the plot down, which I attempted to do above, you don’t really see the message that Gibson was trying to convey (a push for the acceptance of the natural merging between humans and technology? like his fictional representation of the ideas explored in A Cyborg Manifesto?). His use of hyperdescriptive language and the abruptness in which he introduces high-intensity scenes, for me, was implemented to coincide with the drug-addicted nature of the characters; I kind of felt like I was on drugs when I was reading at certain times (a lot). If I were to compare Gibson to Le Guin I would say that Gibson doesn’t really tell a story or convey a message as explicitly as Le Guin did in The Left Hand of Darkness. I was definitely able to determine Gibson’s views on technology as conveyed through the posthuman/transhuman elements of the book, and enjoyed them especially considering my major is IT and I agree with the argument I think he was making, his style stuck a lot more with me than the message that he may have intended on conveying through the content. On the other hand, the content of The Left Hand of Darkness stuck with me a lot more than her style, although it was definitely written very beautifully. When I was reading Neuromancer I found myself paying a lot more attention to the unfolding of events (trying not to miss any vital information/figure out what the heck is going on), but when reading the The Left Hand of Darkness I paid a lot of attention to the growth of Genly and the relationship he develops with Estraven.