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The Formation and Absorption of Telos in William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984)


  • Zandra Jäger

Summary, in English

William Gibson’s influential Cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (1984) raises many questions about the effects of rapid technological advancements. The novel presents a Baudrillardian hyperreal situation for the individual characters in the story. Their desires and goals are shaped and directed by the environment in which they live. This essay builds on the work of scholars who have approached Gibson’s text with a focus on the relationship between humans and technology. It adopts Baudrillard’s ideas surrounding hyperreality and simulation and addresses a handful of entities in the novel which belong to one of the three categories: individual, corporation or Artificial Intelligence. The essay will show that the teloses (end goals) of individuals in the story are formed within reproduced simulations of life which originate from corporations or from the sentient Artificial Intelligence named Wintermute. In addition, by treating corporations in the novel as characters, the teloses of those corporations will be shown as parallel to that of the individual characters in a process of absorption whereby the teloses of smaller entities are swallowed by larger entities. Further, the telos of the AI Wintermute will be examined to reveal a reversal of man and machine which is evident both in behaviour and how the end goal manifests.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Neuromancer
  • Baudrillard
  • simulation
  • hyperreality
  • cyberpunk
  • science fiction


  • Ellen Turner