Neuromancer, William Gibson's first novel, started the genre of cyberpunk and examines the concepts of Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering and cyberspace. It was published 1 July 1984 and won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award, helping to legitimize cyberpunk as a mainstream branch of dystopian, science fiction literature. Neuromancer is the first book in Gibson's The Sprawl Trilogy (Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive).
The novel has had significant linguistic influence for New Media, by popularizing such terms as cyberspace and ICE. Gibson coined the term " cyberspace" in his novelette "Burning Chrome", published in 1982 by Omni magazine. After the popularity of Neuromancer, however, the term Cyberspace gained enough recognition to become the de facto term for the World Wide Web during the 1990s.
Neuromancer is also often believed to be the first work to refer to cyberspace as "the Matrix." However, the Doctor Who story "The Deadly Assassin" introduced its own matrix in 1976, with substantial similarities.
"The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games... in early [[Graphics Program | graphics programs} and military experimentation with cranial jacks....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...." William Gibson, Neuromancer
Gibson's work shows, writes Bruce Sterling, "with exaggerated clarity, the hidden bulk of an iceberg of social change" that "now glides with sinister majesty across the surface of the late twentieth century" (preface to Gibson's Burning Chrome).
"If Gibson's `cyberspace' has become a synonym for virtual reality and information technologies ... this should not be taken as evidence of prescience or even extraordinary clear-sightedness... Gibson's fiction is more complex in its relation to its cultural and historical-economic context. In the sense that it `represents' the culture of late capitalism, it stages the underlying market forces that drive that culture constantly and ever more rapidly to revolutionize its relations of production (part of the `cultural logic' of late capitalism, in Frederic Jameson's phrase)." (Brande, 105).
"Cyberspace is a globally networked, computer-sustained, computer-accessed, and computer-generated, multidimensional, artificial, or `virtual' reality. In this reality, to which every computer is a window, seen or heard objects are neither physical nor, necessarily, representations of physical objects but are, rather, in form, character and action, made up of data, of pure information. This information derives in part from the operations of the natural, physical world, but for the most part it derives from the immense traffic of information that constitute human enterprise in science, art, business, and culture." (Michael Benedikt, "Cyberspace: Some Proposals," in Benedikt 122-23).