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Riviera's Golem, Haraway's Cyborg: Reading "Neuromancer" as Baudrillard's Simulation of Crisis

Cynthia Davidson
Science Fiction Studies
Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jul., 1996), pp. 188-198
Published by: SF-TH Inc
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4240503
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Riviera's Golem, Haraway's Cyborg: Reading "Neuromancer" as Baudrillard's Simulation of Crisis
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Abstract

In Gibson's "Neuromancer," Riviera and Case serve as examples of two creators contrasted by Jean Baudrillard in "Simulacra and Simulacrum": the specular, discursive representational artist, and the operational adept who efficiently codes the machines which perform work that until recently would have been performed by the specular, discursive imagination. Case and Riviera can be categorized, respectively, as magicians who practice what William Covino has called arresting and generative magic. Case is a cyberspace cowboy who steals or "arrests" data, working for established power by operating technology, the brainchild of science and corporate power-two voices which constitute official knowledge. Riviera's holographic displays, on the other hand, recreate and disrupt the established flow of events as they are generated by the articulate powers around him. Baudrillard's four phases of the image mark a movement from arresting to generative magic, the most dynamic of these being the second, ripe for a simulation of crisis. The conflict between Molly and Riviera can be read as this kind, staged by the AIs, benefiting their final goal of unifying to become the matrix, that most adept of all generative magicians. Molly "arrests" Riviera's power by paralyzing him with poison-a simulated death.

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