Literature Study GuidesNeuromancerPart 2 Chapter 7 Summary

Neuromancer | Study Guide

William Gibson

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Neuromancer | Part 2, Chapter 7 : The Shopping Expedition | Summary

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Summary

Once they arrive in Istanbul, the car driving Case, Molly, and Armitage from the airport narrates bits of local history for them. When they get to the Hilton, the Finn is already there waiting for them. Once they're in their respective hotel rooms, Armitage calls Case to tell him they need to get ready to meet someone named Terzibashjian. Case tries to pressure Armitage for more information about their job but doesn't get anywhere.

Case and Molly meet with Terzibashjian. He guides them to find the next member of their team. While he does, the Finn sketches the man's background. He had one lung removed and augments put in its place. They give him the power to project things he imagines so others see them. He is also a Demerol addict. They track the man into the old bazaar. At Terzibashjian's command, a spotlight highlights their target. The man crumples to the ground but projects a horrifying image and almost gets away. The Finn and a Turkish hireling take the man away. Case and Molly go to the Topkapi museum. As they do, they talk about Terzibashjian's brutal background and speculate that it was Wintermute who healed Corto and created Armitage from him. Molly fills Case in on the new team member, whose name is Peter Riviera. Based on the profile she has studied, Riviera is a rare and very sick sociopath who gets sexual satisfaction from betraying those he loves.

Case, Molly, Armitage, and Riviera fly to Paris, where they plan on boarding a shuttle that will take them into space. When they get to the hotel, Case walks around. As he passes the pay phones in the lobby, one rings. It is Wintermute calling him. Case hangs up, but the rest of the phones also ring, just once each.

Analysis

In Riviera, Gibson provides another character who fragments himself to facilitate a closer relationship with technology. The man literally has a lung removed to give himself room for the augmentation that gives him his special powers. Riviera is also another way for Gibson to generate and justify his stylistic experimentation. Case jacks into cyberspace and provides those visual images. Molly sports blades and mirrored lenses and lets Case ride along on her senses. Riviera is the next source of new visions: he can project images, reshaping others' visual realities. These images are sometimes entertaining, sometimes self-expression, and sometimes active players in the plot.

Riviera's name also introduces yet another of Gibson's stylistic riffs. He reuses words or names from Earth and history but transforms them to give them new meaning (and the novel great richness). Beginning in the 19th century, the Riviera became a famous location populated by the wealthy in the south of France. Because Riviera's holograms will later reveal how ugly his childhood was—he was essentially feral and may have resorted to cannibalism to survive—this name becomes a strange paradox.

This chapter's end also signals just how far Gibson's novel is from traditional science fiction. For much of the 20th century, science fiction celebrated the wonder of outer space. The trophy for the Hugo Award, science fiction's oldest major award, is shaped like a rocket ship, signaling how central space is to the genre. The final pages of this chapter spend more time describing the hotel gift shop and lobby than the wonder of space. In Gibson's world, space is taken for granted, and capitalism is the final frontier.

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