Neuromancer, Zion, The Matrix and Google Earth

by 5ocietyx

neuromancer

In his 1984 cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, William Gibson coined the phrase ‘cyberspace’. Gibson is a novelist not a technologist and he says this was an advantage when it came to visualising what cyberspace would be like.

In one passage he states

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. . .

Although technically speaking it’s somewhat inaccurate, he seems to be describing the sensation of using Google Earth and how as you zoom in or fly around the scene fades into view as the screen refreshes.

Neuromancer greatly influenced the The Matrix trilogy providing the framework for the ‘consensual hallucination’ as well as the use of the term ‘Zion’ which is a space station in Gibson’s near future, a future that is already here…just not evenly distributed…yet.

You can read the entire book  online here: http://www.voidspace.org.uk/cyberpunk/neuromancer.shtml

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