Neuromancer

Neuromancer

by

William Gibson

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A graphic representation of data and computer networks. A “consensual hallucination” also known as cyberspace.

Matrix Quotes in Neuromancer

The Neuromancer quotes below are all either spoken by Matrix or refer to Matrix. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Neuromancer published in 1984.
Chapter 1 Quotes

A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he’d taken and the corners he’d cut in Night City, and still he’d see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void….The Sprawl was a long strange way home over the Pacific now, and he was no console man, no cyberspace cowboy. Just another hustler, trying to make it through. But the dreams came on in the Japanese night like livewire voodoo, and he’d cry for it, cry in his sleep, and wake alone in the dark, curled in his capsule in some coffin hotel, his hands clawed into the bedslab, temperfoam bunched between his fingers, trying to reach the console that wasn’t there.

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case, Armitage / Corto
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

For Case, who'd lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it was the Fall. In the bars he’d frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of his own flesh.

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 3 Quotes

“The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games,” said the voice-over, “in early graphics programs and military experimentation with cranial jacks.” On the Sony, a two-dimensional space war faded behind a forest of mathematically generated ferns, demonstrating the spacial possibilities of logarithmic spirals; cold blue military footage burned through, lab animals wired into test systems, helmets feeding into fire control circuits of tanks and war planes. “Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding....”

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

This was it. This was what he was, who he was, his being. He forgot to eat. Molly left cartons of rice and foam trays of sushi on the corner of the long table. Sometimes he resented having to leave the deck to use the chemical toilet they’d set up in a corner of the loft. Ice patterns formed and reformed on the screen as he probed for gaps, skirted the most obvious traps, and mapped the route he’d take through Sense/Net’s ice. It was good ice. Wonderful ice. Its patterns burned there while he lay with his arm under Molly’s shoulders, watching the red dawn through the steel grid of the skylight. Its rainbow pixel maze was the first thing he saw when he woke. He’d go straight to the deck, not bothering to dress, and jack in. He was cutting it. He was working. He lost track of days.

And sometimes, falling asleep, particularly when Molly was off on one of her reconnaissance trips with her rented cadre of Moderns, images of Chiba came flooding back. Faces and Ninsei neon. Once he woke from a confused dream of Linda Lee, unable to recall who she was or what she’d ever meant to him. When he did remember, he jacked in and worked for nine straight hours.

The cutting of Sense/Net’s ice took a total of nine days.

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case, Linda Lee, Molly
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

He coughed. “Dix? McCoy? That you man?” His throat was tight.

“Hey, bro,” said a directionless voice.

“It’s Case, man. Remember?”

“Miami, joeboy, quick study.”

“What’s the last thing you remember before I spoke to you, Dix?”

“Nothin’.”

“Hang on.”

He disconnected the construct. The presence was gone. He reconnected it. “Dix? Who am I?”

“You got me hung, Jack. Who the fuck are you?”

“Ca—your buddy. Partner. What’s happening, man?”

“Good question.”

“Remember being here, a second ago?”

“No.”

“Know how a ROM personality matrix works?”

“Sure, bro, it’s a firmware construct.”

“So I jack it into the bank I’m using, I can give it sequential, real time memory?”

“Guess so,” said the construct.

“Okay, Dix. You are a ROM construct. Got me?”

“If you say so,” said the construct. “Who are you?”

“Case.”

“Miami,” said the voice, “joeboy, quick study.”

“Right. And for starts, Dix, you and me, we’re gonna sleaze over to London grid and access a little data. You game for that?”

“You gonna tell me I got a choice, boy?”

Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 8 Quotes

Case didn’t understand the Zionites.

Aerol, with no particular provocation, related the tale of the baby who had burst from his forehead and scampered into a forest of hydroponic ganja. “Ver’ small baby, mon, no long’ you finga.” He rubbed his palm across an unscarred expanse of brown forehead and smiled.

“It’s the ganja,” Molly said, when Case told her the story. “They don’t make much of a difference between states, you know? Aerol tells you it happened, well, it happened to him. It’s not like bullshit, more like poetry. Get it?”

Case nodded dubiously.

Related Characters: Molly (speaker), Aerol (speaker), Henry Dorsett Case
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

Case brought the gun around and looked down the line of sight at Deane’s pink, ageless face.

“Don’t,” Deane said. “You’re right. About what this all is. What I am. But there are certain internal logics to be honored. If you use that, you'll see a lot of brains and blood, and it would take me several hours—your subjective time—to effect another spokesperson. This set isn’t easy for me to maintain. Oh, and I’m sorry about Linda, in the arcade. I was hoping to speak through her, but I’m generating all this out of your memories, and the emotional charge….Well, it’s very tricky. I slipped. Sorry.”

Case lowered the gun. “This is the matrix. You’re Wintermute.”

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case (speaker), Wintermute (speaker), Julius “Julie” Deane (speaker), Linda Lee
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 20 Quotes

He refused her arms, that night, refused the food she offered him, the place beside her in the nest of blankets and shredded foam. He crouched beside the door, finally, and watched her sleep, listening to the wind scour the structure’s walls. Every hour or so, he rose and crossed to the makeshift stove, adding fresh driftwood from the pile beside it. None of this was real, but cold was cold.

Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
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“No,” he said, and then it no longer mattered, what he knew, tasting the salt of her mouth where tears had dried. There was a strength that ran in her, something he’d known in Night City and held there, been held by it, held for a while away from time and death, from the relentless Street that hunted them all. It was a place he’d known before; not everyone could take him there, and somehow he always managed to forget it. Something he’d found and lost so many times. It belonged, he knew— he remembered—as she pulled him down, to the meat, the flesh the cowboys mocked. It was a vast thing, beyond knowing, a sea of information coded in spiral and pheromone, infinite intricacy that only the body, in its strong blind way, could ever read.

The zipper hung, caught, as he opened the French fatigues, the coils of toothed nylon clotted with salt. He broke it, some tiny metal part shooting off against the wall as salt-rotten cloth gave, and then he was in her, effecting the transmission of the old message. Here, even here, in a place he knew for what it was, a coded model of some stranger’s memory, the drive held.

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case (speaker), Linda Lee
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

“To call up a demon you must learn its name. Men dreamed that, once, but now it is real in another way. You know that, Case. Your business is to learn the names of programs, the long formal names, names the owners seek to conceal. True names...”

“A Turing code’s not your name.”

“Neuromancer,” the boy said, slitting long gray eyes against the rising sun. “The lane to the land of the dead. Where you are, my friend. Marie-France, my lady, she prepared this road, but her lord choked her off before I could read the book of her days. Neuro from the nerves, the silver paths. Romancer. Necromancer. I call up the dead. But no, my friend,” and the boy did a little dance, brown feet printing the sand, “I am the dead, and their land.” He laughed. A gull cried. “Stay. If your woman is a ghost, she doesn’t know it. Neither will you.”

Related Characters: Henry Dorsett Case (speaker), Neuromancer / Rio (speaker), Wintermute, Marie-France, Michèle
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Neuromancer LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Matrix Term Timeline in Neuromancer

The timeline below shows where the term Matrix appears in Neuromancer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Addiction and Dependency Theme Icon
...nervous system so that he would be unable to hook up his brain to the matrix and work in cyberspace. He describes this mutilation as “the Fall.” As a cowboy he’d... (full context)
Chapter 2
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Addiction and Dependency Theme Icon
...“I gotta punch deck.” She laughs and explains he can’t hook himself up to the matrix for eight days at least, allowing his nervous system to heal. (full context)
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Addiction and Dependency Theme Icon
...Case describes his orgasm as “flaring blue in the timeless space, a vastness like the matrix, where the faces were shredded and blown away down hurricane corridors…” (full context)
Chapter 3
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Addiction and Dependency Theme Icon
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...it expands. Suddenly, he is in his “distanceless home, his country,” the world of the matrix. Back in the loft he laughs and cries. (full context)
Chapter 4
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
...have planned a diversion for Sense/Net’s human security. During the heist, Case switches between the matrix and Molly’s SimStim. He watches her enter the building, disguised as a tourist, and then... (full context)
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...fight with several security guards. Case feels her pain, screaming and flipping back to the matrix. (full context)
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
...construct from its storage, and Molly takes it. Case then withdraws his program from the matrix, the virtual doors he’s opened in the ice closing behind him. (full context)
Chapter 9
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...not to shoot him, because, even though he is what Case suspects—Wintermute—and they’re in the matrix, he will still die and bleed, and it will take several hours to reconstruct. (full context)
Chapter 14
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Back in the matrix, Dixie explains the virus to Case. It’s a slow virus, so slow the ice won’t... (full context)
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
...knows, but the Finn/Wintermute wonders if Case would prefer Wintermute “come to you in the matrix like a burning bush?” (full context)
Chapter 15
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Back in the matrix, Dixie tells Case he was brain-dead for five seconds. Unconcerned, Case switches to Molly’s simstim.... (full context)
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Case flips to the matrix, watching Kuang grow. Case tells Dixie he was right—Wintermute is kept under control by a... (full context)
Chapter 16
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
In the matrix, Dixie tells Case that Armitage/Corto wiped his Hosaka, almost wiping Dixie and Case’s computer as... (full context)
Chapter 17
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Back in the matrix, Case watches Kuang expand and tells Dixie that Wintermute killed Armitage—ejecting him into space with... (full context)
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Case flips to the matrix. Dixie tells him Kuang is working well. As they talk, the Finn/Wintermute appears in the... (full context)
Chapter 19
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...in a closet. Meanwhile, Case plugs his deck into the wall, and jacks into the matrix. Dixie greets him, and jokes that it’s been a while (although, for him, no time... (full context)
Chapter 23
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...it to the Straylight’s central room, which houses the robotic head. Case jacks into the matrix, and greets Dixie. The Kuang is ready. It’s almost like a small airplane, and Case... (full context)
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...that she was going to die. When the time came, he absorbed her into the matrix, hoping he could trap Case as well. Case asks what happens next, but Neuromancer does... (full context)
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Reality and Perception Theme Icon
...yell “now!” so 3Jane can sing out the code—three notes of song.” Back in the matrix, for a second, Case is back in Chiba, he feels Linda’s hand against his back,... (full context)
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
...then passes out—into the darkness of his own mind, instead of the darkness of the matrix. (full context)
Chapter 24
Self-Interest vs. Human Connection Theme Icon
Case thinks about his time inside the matrix, staring down into the heart of the T-A cores. He understands why Wintermute made him... (full context)
Technology and the Body Theme Icon
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Identity and Personhood Theme Icon
Addiction and Dependency Theme Icon
...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... (full context)