Cyber-hybridity (Cybridity)

“Two particular sorts of tropes inform the narrative’s manipulation of technology.  The first is an SF topos, a pattern of tropological displacement common since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818): a neat reversal of the natural/artificial opposition.  In Neuromancer all natural/artificial images are reversed from their conventional priority: techne now precedes physis” Neil Easterbrook, “The Arc of Our Destruction: Reversal and Erasure in Cyberpunk.” SFStudies Vol. 19 (1992).

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Molly’s next body modification.

 

I think that in Neuromancer, Gibson incorporates more hybridity than Easterbrook gives him credit for. In class, we made the distinction between the “meat” and the “tofu,” the organic and the manipulated, the raw and the cooked, citing various examples from the text paying particular attention to bodies in Neuromancer. In doing so, we found that Gibson does not merely reverse the natural/artificial as Easterbrook posits, but instead hybridizes them, illustrating a blurring of these boundaries that takes place in the advent of immersive, invasive technology. For example, with regards to Case’s dependence on the matrix to feel whole and human, Gibson is not posing total reversal of conventions about techne and physis, but rather he illustrates a kind of synthesis (or even mutation), rather than a precedence. In Neuromancer, the natural and artificial hybridize, which perhaps offers more dangerous and intricate complications about how/if we can recover or return from this mutated state.

 

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