William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic ‘Neuromancer’ may finally get to screens


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William Gibson’s visionary 1984 novel ‘Neuromancer,’ which presaged much of the wired world we now take for granted and coined the term ‘cyberspace,’ may finally be coming to the screen.

Slashfilm reports that sales rights were secured at the Cannes Film Festival, currently underway in France, and filming will begin in 2012 in Canada, Istanbul, Tokyo and London. Visual-effects work already has begun.


Vincenzo Natali will direct the film. The Detroit native’s previous films include the scientifically creepy ‘Splice’ and intensely paranoid ‘Cube,’ both of which seem well in line with ‘Neuromancer.’

It’s hard to overstate the influence of Gibson’s breakthrough book. When it was published, ‘Neuromancer’ scored science fiction’s triple crown, winning the Nebula, Hugo and Philip K. Dick awards.

The ideas, language and grim technotopia of ‘Neuromancer’ have been borrowed heavily by other seminal science-fiction creations, notably the ‘Matrix’ movies.

In a 2010 interview with Slashfilm, Natali said:

[T]he very word “matrix” is in Neuromancer. It was borrowed by the Wachowski brothers for their film. I think that’s a good thing, because I don’t even know how someone would have been able to make that film 10 years ago or 15 years ago, because it’s so abstract. I don’t even know how people understood the book when it first came out. I think I read it in the late 1980s, but in 1984, how would people even understand it, because it was just so far ahead of the curve? ... I think when you read it now, it still feels very relevant, maybe in some ways more relevant, because so much of what it predicted has come to pass. And therefore, my approach to it would be to be very realistic.

Gibson himself doesn’t take the pending film treatment of his iconic work too seriously. Thursday morning, as news of the movie deal broke, Gibson joked on Twitter, ‘Quit fretting about Neuromancer, for Pete’s sake! We’ve got the Rapture looming!’


-- Carolyn Kellogg