Literature Study GuidesNeuromancerPart 2 Chapter 4 Summary

Neuromancer | Study Guide

William Gibson

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Neuromancer | Part 2, Chapter 4 : The Shopping Expedition | Summary



Case uses simstim to experience Molly's sensations, sensing what she senses as she moves through the world to contact the Panther Modern gang. Case rides with her until the gang detects his presence and objects to it, and then he shifts to cyberspace. He then spends days in cyberspace, cutting through the "ice," or protective measures guarding Sense/Net. Once he does, he disrupts the organization's systems at a distance. Molly breaks in to steal the recording of Dixie Flatline from the Panther Moderns' library. Molly breaks her leg in the process and sustains other injuries but makes it out alive. As the Panther Moderns conclude negotiations with Case, they pass on a brief, cryptic message: "Wintermute."


The simstim Gibson introduces in this chapter allows multiple perspectives and themes to emerge. It allows him to cheat as a writer: he can focus completely on Case and follow him in a limited third-person perspective, but because Case can ride along with Molly on her adventures, Case and the reader can see more than they otherwise would. It also lets Case enjoy the sort of pleasures video games offer, by taking on the viewpoint of a different character. Because Molly's body is surgically augmented, Case can experience things such as intense speed, and the simstim link lets him feel what sexual stimulation feels like for her. The simstim also develops the themes of humanity and technology and fragmentation, almost casually. The same technology that lets Case feel Molly's experience fragments his own experience and removes him that much further from a natural biological reality.

This is also the first stage of the caper plot in action: the team works together to steal something. This shows what each member contributes to the plot and highlights each person's individual skill set.

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