Literature Study GuidesNeuromancerPart 4 Chapter 23 Summary

Neuromancer | Study Guide

William Gibson

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Neuromancer | Part 4, Chapter 23 : The Straylight Run | Summary



As Case and Molly physically approach the place where Molly will use the key she carries, Case and Dixie (and the Chinese virus) clash with Tessier-Ashpool's defenses in cyberspace. Dixie leads the way in, and Case rides the virus like a plane. He returns to the beach, where the young figure Neuromancer tells Case that living there as a construct is the same as living anywhere else. Neuromancer refers to Wintermute as his brother. Case accuses Neuromancer of killing Linda, but he denies it and says it wasn't Wintermute either—they predicted her death but didn't cause it. Neuromancer also tells Case that Dixie is now dead and then nudges Case to jack out of the matrix.

Back in the flesh, Case hears Molly pressuring 3Jane for the code. Eventually, 3Jane agrees to give it. Case jacks back into cyberspace and rides his hatred through Tessier-Ashpool's defenses. After a time, Case wakes up to the sound of Zion dub music.


Most of Case's "action" in cyberspace boils down to sitting at a keyboard. He is largely passive. However, in this chapter, his deck takes on the image of a plane, and Case gets the sensation of being a pilot. This gives a strong sense of how richly developed cyberspace is, but it also gives Gibson a way to borrow from many old movies involving aerial combat and science fiction works involving piloting spacecraft.

Case's consciousness expands massively during this chapter. At one point, he can count every grain of sand on Neuromancer's beach. Despite this, as Neuromancer tells him, he can't know Linda's thoughts. Neither can Neuromancer. There is something in the mind that goes beyond the level of massive mathematical computation.

The theme of time is crucial in this novel. Through most of the novel, time in cyberspace and time in the biological world move at radically different paces and are fundamentally out of sync. Here, at the novel's climax, they become more fully synchronized: the biological and the cybernetic come together at last.

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