Neuromancer: Reader’s Response pt. 3

This is going to be (relatively) brief. I just want to comment on an element I’ve read about half of. The Rastafarians.

I should probably have known better, but at first I thought that the Rastafarians in orbit was simple name-checking, if you will. In the early 1980’s, Rastafari was exotic and cresting a wave of popularity. Bob Marley was as big as he was ever going to get, and probably as big as any proponent of an off-shoot of Christianity for which smoking weed is sacramental can possibly be in America. Anyway. Actually, they appear to be there for an author’s reason (in addition to a narrative reason).

Gibson puts a community of Rasta in orbit, and not because of the Ganja. They’re there to escape Babylon, of which there is plenty Earthside. They’re clearly not opposed to technology as such. After all, they’re in orbit, on a space station they built themselves, out of scrap, and the colony was founded by a group of Rasta space workers. But when Case plugs one of the Rastas into cyberspace, the Rasta doesn’t like it. He calls it Babylon. Gibson is talking here, I think. But I don’t know for sure what he’s saying.

Typically in noir, we accept the narrator’s (or main character’s) point of view. “It’s a dirty old world, but there’s a one in a couple of million shot that this time, someone’s OK.” And our POV is resigned to it, but works against it. In Neuromancer, as I’ve noted before, we don’t have that. Our POV is a part of the dirty world, and pretty much OK with that. I think the Rasatas are telling us that, in this noir anyway, maybe there are some more-or-less OK people, even if we hardly see them.