Literature Study GuidesNeuromancerPart 4 Chapter 22 Summary

Neuromancer | Study Guide

William Gibson

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Neuromancer | Part 4, Chapter 22 : The Straylight Run | Summary



As Maelcum and Case ride the service cart one more time, Case tries to prepare Maelcum for what they will face: Riviera, who can project holograms, and 3Jane's family's assassin—Hideo, a genetically engineered ninja. Maelcum doesn't want this battle but says Jah or God gave him the mission of recovering Molly.

They enter the large room with the pool. Immediately the assassin shoots an arrow through Maelcum's arm and then knocks the shotgun out of his hands with a second. He steps into view, a third arrow ready. Riviera steps into view as well and tells Case that Case and Molly will both die there. Case suggests 3Jane won't want this. When Riviera asks why, 3Jane emerges, pushing Molly in an antique wheelchair. She tells her assassin to help Maelcum get the arrow out of his arm. Case explains his theory of events, that Neuromancer and Wintermute are clashing.

Riviera tries to fire Molly's gun at Case. 3Jane's assassin shoots the gun out of Riviera's hands with an arrow. Riviera projects beams into the assassin's eyes, blinding him. The assassin regularly practices blind, so all this does is remove the distraction of Riviera's holograms. Riviera flees and the assassin follows. Maelcum points his shotgun at 3Jane and gets her to take the bindings off Molly's hands. 3Jane, Case, Maelcum, and Molly all ride an elevator to the center of Villa Straylight.


Where the previous chapter consisted of internal visions and exposition, this chapter is all action. Gibson gives readers a series of quick, intense reversals. Case and Maelcum ride to the rescue, but Hideo shoots the shotgun out of Maelcum's hands the instant they enter the room. Hideo injures Maelcum—but 3Jane orders Hideo to bind his wounds. Riviera tries to fire Molly's gun at Case—but Hideo knocks it out of his hands with an arrow. Riviera uses his beams to blind Hideo—but it works against him, because Hideo has practiced blindfolded his whole life. This becomes like the action movies Molly dreamt of taking part in, except that in the largest reversal of all, she is a prisoner in a wheelchair, so she can't take part in any of the action. Case and Molly had planned to get the crucial code from 3Jane, but in the end, it is Maelcum—who had up until now been almost a bit player—who saves the day.

Despite this chapter's focus on action, it enriches the novel's symbols and advances its themes. Riviera uses his technological advancement to blind Hideo, ruining his eyes and removing his vision. However, because of his high level of skill, developed through a life of training, Hideo can move with deadly precision without his eyes.

Gibson does not explain Riviera's presence in Villa Straylight, so readers must make sense of it for themselves. Because 3Jane uses drugs and her interactions with Cath show she enjoys slumming, it is possible 3Jane might have met Riviera in that context. However, it seems more likely that she brought him to the villa because she likes his powerful, pornographic, psychopathic art.

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