Neuromancer

Neuromancer

by

William Gibson

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Neuromancer: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Turing Police (who Case recognizes as the three French teenagers he had seen around the resort earlier) are disturbed that Case is not more concerned about his arrest. They explain he is under arrest and the charges “have to do with conspiracy to augment an artificial intelligence.” They tell him Armitage is already in custody. He clarifies, asking “Corto?” The police are shocked that he knows that name, asking where he learned it. Case says he’s forgotten.
The Turing Police have been following Case through Freeside wearing disguises. They know he is part of a conspiracy to unshackle Wintermute and allow it to become more powerful. To the Turing Police, an AI gaining freedom is the scariest thing they can imagine. Case understands the basic implications, but feels no fear of this specific technology.
Themes
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
The three police officers, Michèle, Pierre, and Roland, begin to interrogate Case in his hotel room. They speak with each other in French so that he cannot understand. Roland wonders if it is unusual for Case to have been hired to make a run but not know the nature of his target. Case insists he knew nothing—that Armitage was the brains, and Molly (whom they refer to by her alias, Kolodny) was “Just muscle, a razorgirl.”
Even in this stressful situation, Case tries to protect Molly. They’ve grown closer during their time together, and although he knows she has a lot of information regarding Wintermute, he is reluctant to out her.
Themes
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Pierre wonders how Case knows the name Corto, Case lies and says Armitage mentioned it. The police reveal they know the name Wintermute, and that the AI’s first mistake was repairing Case in Chiba, and exchanging technology for the surgery—the clinic applied for multiple patents, drawing attention.
Case said Corto by accident, a name that suggests he knows more about the conspiracy than he’s letting on. He does his best to play dumb, and prevent himself from getting in more trouble. Still, he is not the first to make a mistake, as Wintermute and Armitage drew attention to themselves (likely accidentally) in Chiba.
Themes
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Michèle explains they have tracked Case across the world and into space. They know about the Sense/Net riot, and so can either charge him in Switzerland, as a pawn in “the trial of an artificial intelligence,” or in BAMA, where he will be charged with “data invasion and larceny,” and “public mischief which cost fourteen innocent lives.” Case remains unmoved; disturbed, Michèle tells him he has “no care for your species.” She likens working for Wintermute to making a pact with a demon.
Case sees Wintermute as almost human, an artificial intelligence that appears merely as an intelligence when he speaks to it in the matrix. As a result, he respects its power and influence but doesn’t fear it. In contrast, Michele sees Wintermute as a demon that must remain shackled, and sees Case’s collaborating with it as the ultimate crime, selling out humanity to machines.
Themes
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Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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After being strip searched, Case gets dressed. He realizes his anger has dissipated. He thinks of his toxin sacs, but knows it is “time to give in.” He says to himself “here comes the meat.”
Case believes that if he fails to complete his mission, Armitage will not help dissolve the toxin sacs, and he will lose his ability to jack into the matrix. This upsets him, as does the idea of his body, but without his anger he has no motivation.
Themes
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Michèle, Pierre, and Roland escort Case out of the hotel. As they walk across a footbridge, an autonomous microlight swings down out of the sky, partially decapitating Pierre. Case makes a break for it, and although Roland chases after him, a gardening robot falls from a tree, killing him as well.
The microlight is a kind of tiny hang glider that Wintermute controls. Similarly, the AI controls the gardening robot. Although sometimes deceptively human, in moments like this Wintermute reveals the full scope of its nonhuman powers.
Themes
Technology and the Body Theme Icon