Neuromancer and Bioshock


As I was reading Neuromancer reminded me of a couple of video games. One was System shock 2, mostly because there a power crazed AI controlling the player. However, I’m not completely knowledge about System shock 2, so I’ll go to my second game Bioshock. I found that Bioshock and Neuromncer shared many connection between their setting, characters, and their values about humanity.


Bioshock has a long complex story but for starter it’s 1960, you play as Jack, a man who was in a plane crush and find themselves in Rapture. Rapture is an underwater city created by Andrew Ryan to escape the wrath of religion, the government, and the pending cold war. However, Jack didn’t arrived at Rapture during its prime after the city is in ruins as Ryan struggles to keep control from a couple of rivals, first the criminal Frank Fontaine then the revolutionary Irishman Atlas. Jack helps Atlas’ plan to defect Ryan and in return Atlas helps Jack navigate through the chaotic city filled with blood thirsty citizens, mutated little girls with their monster guardians and some of Ryan elite followers.


One similar I found between the two is the setting. Although Neuromancer takes place in the future and Bioshock is in the past, both are in a twisted civilization where humans are alter beyond our human limitations. In Neuomancer, you have character with article limbs Ratz, upgrades and powers like Molly and Rivera, remixed human cyborgs like Armitage, eternal men like Julius Deane and Ashpool, and even clones like Lady 3Jane. In Rapture, the altered humans were created by the substance known as ADAM that can produced enhance the body with new abilities. Although, ADAM has some nasty side effects as the city is now filled of citizens or splicers that abuse and depend on ADAM. Also there is the little sisters, genetically modified girls that gather ADAM with the bio-mechanical driver suit wearing monstrosities designed to protect and kill for any splicer hunting for ADAM.


Both works carry the same theme of mutated human being but I noticed thee similarities between Case and Jack. Case was once a famous cowboy hacker who was damaged then recommission to assist in the AI known as Wintermute’s plan to reunite with its second half Neuromancer. While in Bioshock, it was reveal at the climax that everything Jack/ the player was doing was being controlled by Atlas, aka Frank Fontaine in disguise, with the trigger phase “Would You Kindly”. The two men were manipulated by alterations, illusions, and lies to be prawns in others schemes.

Although both men are one of our closest example of what it means to be human while living in their dystopia worlds. The meaning of being human I have found is in the final phase our friend Andrew Ryan chances as he is being kindly beaten to death by jack; “A man chooses. A slave obeys.” For the major of the stories, both characters are playing as the slave since at one point both have archive the main goal of their employers. Yet, Case and Jack each have their opportunities to choose. In Jack’s case the choices are easy to spot, since you can choose to save the little sisters from their zombie state or harvest them to obtain more ADAM. Then the game rewards you with the good or bad ending based on your choices. However, for Case, on top of being controlled by an AI, he doesn’t really act on his humanity.  Case actually surpasses his “meat” or human desires and needs and prefers to embraces artificial cyberspace. In conclusion, I think in any situations we can still hold on to trances of our human mortality but the choose to act upon it is up to the individual. Be the hero or monster like Jack or the pacifist like Case was in the end because maybe in reality it’s not as easy to get a good or bad ending.


Frankenstein and Neuromancer

I agree with the quote from Neil Easterbrook’s article on Neuromancer.

Easterbrook addresses how both Frankenstein and Neuromancer have opposite stand on the importance of nature versus technology. On one hand we have Frankenstein, which was one of the first novel to play with the Science Fiction genre. However, since Shelley’s novel took place sometime during the 18th century, the Science Fiction elements would be more mistaken as supernatural. Of course the novel is set during a time period where the nature of man is a prized trait. Then we have Neuromancer that is set years in the future where technology outweighs natural human beings. The two novels differ between time period and advances in technology, which can account for why an era with slow technical advances would find artificial making a new man from corpses as demonic. While in Neuromancer almost everything of body can be replace with something new. Their technology cover loss limbs, body modifications, and to some degree cheating death because they have the tech to do so. Both works explore which values matter more by trading norms in their own setting.