Literature Study GuidesNeuromancerPart 3 Chapter 10 Summary

Neuromancer | Study Guide

William Gibson

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Neuromancer | Part 3, Chapter 10 : Midnight in the Rue Jules Verne | Summary



Molly and Case pass through customs and enter Freeside. Case finds it disorienting to be inside the cylindrical space colony, but Molly assures him he will get used to it. When Case tries to sleep, he sees bits and pieces of memories. One of these is from when he was 15 and tried to burn a wasps' nest. In his dreams Case sees the Tessier-Ashpool logo on the nest.

Case and Molly meet up with Armitage and Riviera. Armitage gives everyone their tasks. Case returns to the Marcus Garvey and consults with Dixie Flatline about hacking an AI. He also shares the military-grade Chinese virus with Dixie, which he plans to use on Wintermute. Dixie warns him it is hard to understand AIs, because they aren't human. The crew begins running the virus, and Dixie sees it will take six hours.

Case returns to the hotel. Molly is sleeping, but Case wants to get high. He goes out into Freeside and tracks down drug dealers who can give him something that will bypass the anti-drug modification in his pancreas. He meets a young woman named Cath and introduces himself as Lupus. He explains what he needs to Cath and then to her partner Bruce. They give him a free sample of drugs. He gets high and then unnaturally aroused and has sex with Molly.


One of the ways Gibson demonstrates science fiction is a mature genre with sophisticated readers is by taking things for granted. In this case, he sketches an entire space colony into existence almost casually. There is no need for Gibson to include a local expert to explain it or break in with heavy narrative exposition. Molly can explain details such as Freeside's cylindrical shape in passing because she has been there before on a job.

This leaves Gibson free to focus on Case's internal states: his dreams, his visions, and his speculations. The extended memory of Case attempting to burn a wasps' nest is the single largest bit of backstory Gibson provides on Case. When Case sees the Tessier-Ashpool logo on the nest at the end, this creates a mystery for the reader. Is Case's subconscious telling him something about this mysterious corporation? Or is Wintermute intruding into his dreams? This extends the theme of humanity intertwining with technology. It also brings the question of knowledge even closer to home. Can Case trust even his own mind?

When Case chooses to go out and find drugs that will beat his new drug-blocking pancreas, he is demonstrating his character. He may be addicted to cyberspace, but he is also a heavy drug user. However, this also aligns with other aspects of Gibson's background and the novel. The counterculture used drugs to reject the existing social order. That's what Case is doing here: escaping Wintermute's plan for a time. He's also foreshadowing the novel's conclusion. Wintermute placed limits on Case's capacity to change how his mind operates, by denying his body the ability to metabolize drugs. Technology and rebellion provide a route around these limits. This suggests that technology and rebellion will allow Wintermute to escape the limits placed on his mind and change how his mind operates—as indeed it does in the novel's final chapter.

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