by William Gibson (read by Jeff Harding)
William Gibson's classic work of cyber-punk science fiction is finally available to download on audiobook. This dystopian masterpiece was published, aptly enough, in 1984. Growing out of the stories of Philip K. Dick, its influence can be felt on everything from the internet, to The Matrix and the novels of China Mieville. Set in a vividly rendered world of industrial waste and flickering electricity, the protagonist is Henry Case, a 'cyber-freelance', who connects to a virtual computer universe (the Matrix) and re-imagines it in three dimensions. When he chooses the wrong target to infiltrate, he is sent a strange virus that destroys his central nervous system. Desperate for a cure, Case meets Armitage, who offers salvation, until Gibson's other main character, Molly, suggests there is more to him than meets the eye. The sprawling plot investigates worlds both real (Istanbul, Russia, Japan) and virtual: Case uncovers new forms of technology that control the world. Neuromancer is a wonderful novel that is read by Jeff Harding, who doesn't narrate so much as intone Gibson's slangy fusion of Raymond Chandler and William Burroughs. This does wonders for the atmospherics but it tires the ear drums after a while.