Telescoping Time and Space

Wayne Huang

Gibson's Neuromancer world seems to shift time and space into a more compact and controlled environment. Case moves about from place to place quickly -- it seems as if either the transportation in this world is fast or that places like Boston or Manhattan have grown larger than our contemporary versions so that you could be there, if Boston reached down into present-day Providence. (Scary, no?)

BAMA and the trans-BAMA plays an important role in this telescoping of space as we know it, as do the matrix, in that it can take you to virtual places. However, the matrix also lets you telescope time. You could seem to be in there for several hours but you've actually only spent a few minutes of your real life.

In a combination of the two, the ROM personality matrix allows a person to transcend both physical space and sequential time so that the person's personality can live beyond the person's real life. In our present world, we already transcend our actual life with the photographs, writings, and sperm and eggs that we can leave behind after death. Imagine being the biological parent of a child conceived after your death who grows up and sees your pictures and texts.

In a related way, the freezing of the ninja assassin transcends sequential time -- Finn remarks that Tessier-Ashpool probably has him in ice and thaws him when needed. Again, our present world offers a primitive form of the Neuromancer world -- the cryogenic experiments that freeze people after they die.

Gibson's world also seems to be filled with references to the Japanese, starting from the second paragraph of the novel: Yakuza, ninja, Ninsei, Hitachi, Mitsubishi. In Blade Runner, the streets are filled with different languages, but the most prominent ones are Asian, especially Chinese. (The scene with one of the scientists who helps to build the replicants is Chinese, speaking Cantonese.) Maybe since the book was published in 1984 and Blade Runner was released in 1981 during the decade of America's obsession over trade with Japan that these references are in there, but perhaps it also refers to the globalization of the world -- the space between countries no longer matters.

 Mona Lisa
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