Sunday, April 13, 2014

20 Books: Neuromancer

This is part of a sub-series of postings based on the "20 Books Cybersecurity Professionals Should Read Now".

William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984) is considered one of the seminal works of cyberpunk.  Ok, so what is "cyberpunk"?  Its a genre of science-fiction that is set in the near-future.  It shows a world that has both high tech, such as advanced information technology and cybernetics, but also shows a degree of breakdown of the social order.  Some could even be a bit dystopic.  Cyberpunk would spawn other genres.  Attempts to push the ideas of cyberpunk into prior technology periods would result in "steampunk" and "dieselpunk" genres.  And other genres would be spawned that would be thispunk and thatpunk that got tiresome.

Why we as info sec professionals should care is that in much of the cyberpunk genre, cyberspace, the world on-line, usually has a big place in the stories.  And as such, hacking and security and all that will have a big part to play.

Gibson is considered one of the main originators of the genre, and Neuromancer was his first novel, and the first in his "Sprawl" series.  I read it and other cyberpunk works soon after they came out.  As a young computer science major in college, I recall trying to grasp the world being explained.  Keep in mind that at the time the Internet was not available to many people.  The idea of cyberspace was then pure science fiction.  We didn't have the Internet, WWW, and all the rest to reference to.

As one of the first cyberpunk works, it sets the stage for others, so I think its important to be familiar with it, and the world of hackers and the computer underground it shows.  If you haven't already read it, check it out.

I should point out that the Keanu Reaves movie, Johnny Mneumonic is loosely based on a short story of the same name that precedes Neuromancer,  But the movie doesn't quite match up with the story.  Big surprise.

1 comment:

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