'Neuromancer' Chapters 7 through 12: Midnight in the Rue Jules Verne
One of the things that defines a lot of first-wave cyberpunk for me is how little "ordinary" people show up in it. It wasn't exactly golden- or silver-age science fiction, where you had a lot of engineers or scientists who could implement grand things — people weren't setting out to change the world, nor was the world easy to change — but everybody tended to feel like they lived in either the shadows of the underworld or the glow of extreme wealth.
In Neuromancer, a lot of the scenes (like the Sense/Net run or anything at Freeside) take place around tourists, but they're almost described as scenery or obstacles. A room full of bourgeois human beings in Neuromancer is basically an empty room. Which makes the characters of Cath and Bruce kind of fascinating to me, because they're some of the only people we've met so far who don't feel like they really... belong in the worlds Case or Armitage inhabit.
We're also getting into our first major interactions with characters who aren't human at all. I like seeing how authors try to create personalities who aren't meant to act or think like people, and Gibson's strategy — having it taking on the personalities of other people instead — seems like a pretty effective one.
I'd forgotten how much happened in the first half of this book, so I'm looking forward to getting through the next half. Gibson's fashion ideas continue to be great, too; everything seems somehow both extremely eighties-specific and like something I wouldn't mind actually wearing today.