I think the most difficult thing about Neuromancer is the use of exposition or sometimes lack there of in the novel. The book begins without a pause and throws you right into dialogue basically without the introduction or “expository dump” more common in science fiction novels.
“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.It’s not like I’m using,” Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. “It’s like my body’s developed this massive drug deficiency.” It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese,” (Gibson 3).
The opening paragraph above is, as I mentioned, a perfect example of this. Multiple slang references are made in the first paragraph and yet the novel plows ahead as though this is entirely normal and everyone understands. It is an interesting way to establish credibility for the environment and characters quickly but leaves readers a little out of the loop. Curiously Star Wars does much the same thing but movies provide a better medium for this tactic I think.
The book does use exposition every now and then, on page 51 we get a nice explanation of the “Matrix” which is one of the central ideas to the novel and a key aspect of the main character. Yet for all this the explanation is on page 51, a solid chunk into the novel. Usually such central themes and ideas get a serious explanation earlier in most novels. In some ways I felt drawn along as much by curiosity as to what the characters are on about as much as the plot itself.
The obvious questions raised by this difficulty are why did Gibson choose this drip feed method of information and exposition and what differences that ultimately makes in how the story comes together. I guess I’ll figure answers out more as I get to the end of the novel… almost there.