Neuromancer

Neuromancer

by

William Gibson

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Neuromancer: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Case wakes up in a suite in the Hyatt. Molly is gone. He finds her note, stuck to the wall with his shuriken; she tells him he’s taking the edge off her game, and so she has to leave.
Weeks or months have passed since the events of the previous chapter. Molly and Case have been living together, but Molly, who had promised herself not to get attached to a romantic partner again after her ex died, feels she cannot fully do her job if she remains tied to Case.
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Case considers the shuriken. He thinks about stars and destiny, and about how he never even used the weapon. He considers how he never knew the color of Molly’s eyes; she never showed him.
Case realizes that even though he spent time with Molly and shared a physical connection with her, he never truly got to know her on an intimate level. He considers that their destiny was to not end up together.
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Wintermute won, combining with Neuromancer. They spoke together from the platinum head, explaining they erased the Turing records and all records of the crimes Molly, Case, and their team had committed. Money was deposited in bank accounts for both Case and Molly, as well as accounts belonging to Zion. Even Case’s toxin sacs were taken care of—the new entity had gotten deep into his brain and taught it how to dissolve the bonds on the toxin sacs itself.
The book jumps back in time, explaining what happened after 3Jane spoke the magic word to the head. A new entity was born, one surprisingly willing to make good on its debts.
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Case thinks about his time inside the matrix, staring down into the heart of the T-A cores. He understands why Wintermute made him imagine it as a wasp nest, but notes he “felt no revulsion.”
Wintermute had hoped to turn Case against the family using the wasp imagery. However, Case has returned to his comfortable numbness, and sees the family for what it is, complicated, ugly, and dangerous, but natural.
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In his hotel room, Case turns to get a drink, but is surprised by the Finn’s enormous face on his wall screen. The face announces that it’s no longer Wintermute; it’s the matrix, “the sum total of the works, the whole show.” It says it’s been spending time talking to its own kind, some of which exist across the universe. Then the screen goes blank—the AI is gone.
The AI’s new personality is nameless, a combination of the qualities of both Wintermute and Neuromancer. It is so powerful it can control essentially the entire matrix and, because of humanity’s reliance on technology, the entire world. Although so massive there can only be one of it on earth, it reveals there are other, alien artificial intelligences.
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Case packs up his things. He considers putting the shuriken in his bag, but changes his mind, throwing it at the wall screen and shattering it.
Case decides he wants a new future, free of Molly, Linda, and the darkness of his past (although, notably, not free of drugs and the threat of addiction).
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Case spends most of his new money “on a new pancreas and liver […] a new Ono-Sendai and a ticket back to the sprawl.” He finds a new girlfriend and new jobs. One night, in the matrix, Case sees small figures on the edge of a mountain of data: a young boy (Neuromancer), Linda, and himself. In the background he hears “the laugh that wasn’t laughter,” which likely belongs to Dixie.
In the novel’s final pages, it is unclear if Case has changed at all, or learned anything. He’s back where he was even before the novel began—hooked on his computer, with new organs that will allow him to again experience drug-induced highs. Still, other characters have moved on or moved up. A version of Linda Lee now lives in the matrix, as does a version of Neuromancer and Dixie Flatline, whose laugh Case hears.
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