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Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Johnny Mnemonic" by William Gibson

This is post #500.

Nominated for the Nebula and Locus Poll awards, this originally appeared in Ben Bova and Robert Sheckley's Omni and reprinted in Joe Haldeman's Nebula Awards anthology, two retrospective field anthologies by David Hartwell, and the recent Victoria Blake anthology, Cyberpunk, among others.  After Neuromancer, it's arguably most representative of cyberpunk and possibly the reason it leads off the collection.  Both works feature Molly Millions, prototypical futuristic hired gun and bad -ss.*

Johnny Mnemonic has been carrying Ralfi's data in his head implants, but Ralfi was overdue, so they meet.  Ralfi had a bodyguard and Johnny a shotgun, but Ralfi has a neural disruptor, incapacitating Johnny.  Body-modified Molly drops in and offers her services to the highest bidder, which is Johnny.  She takes care of the bodyguard, and they exit.

Only Ralfi has the password to Johnny's data, but a drug-addicted, cyborg dolphin can access it.  Because they leave behind information wherever they go, Molly and Johnny hook up with the Lo Teks.  They meet an assassin.

Interesting mix of antiquated (microfiche) and futuristic technology (body modification for weapons and information storage).  It's prescient in its assessment of the necessity and ubiquity of information--the impossibility of hiding yourself, pieces of yourself dot along a trail of information.

* My current position does not allow me to write this word--at least I'd rather chance it.

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