Cyberspace as final frontier. Artificial and virtual space in William Gibson’s "Neuromancer"


  • Oliver Plaschka


Gibson, William, Virtuelle Realität <Motiv>


Talking about space in speculative fiction (i.e. fantasy, science fiction or supernatural fiction) touches upon several key aspects of the genre such as worldbuilding, perception of reality and the human condition: what kind of space do we create for ourselves, how do we attribute meaning to it, in which ways are we limited or isolated by its boundaries? Especially in cyberpunk, with its focus on near-future societies and the technologies of the information age, the space we live in and the space we send our minds to do not have to be the same, so the answers are manifold.
The following paper will discuss some basic configurations of world and otherworld in speculative fiction, give a short introduction to cyberpunk literature and William Gibson’s dual world of cyberspace and meatspace, briefly present Jean Baudrillard’s concept of hyperreality, examine the question to which extent the world of Neuromancer might be understood in terms of such a hyperreality, and offer some ideas about alternate realities we might already live in.