Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Tokyo homeless people reiterate the whole nature of living in Tokyo in cardboard boxes, they're only slightly smaller than Tokyo apartments, and they have almost as many consumer goods. It's a nightmare of boxes within boxes."
- William Gibson

Microsoft  
  A small piece of firmware inserted into the brain that provides data on a particular subject, or special features, for the user.  

One of the key concepts introduced in Neuromancer is the idea of a microsoft, a small piece of electronics that is inserted into a socket placed in your brain. In the novel, it is implied that this practice is new, edgy - kind of like multiple body piercings in the late 1990's.

Her destination was one of the dubious software rental complexes that lined Memory Lane... The clientele were young, few of them out of their teens. They all seemed to have carbon sockets planted behind the left ear, but she didn't focus on them. The counters that fronted the booths displayed hundreds of slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon mounted under oblong transparent bubbles on squares of white cardboard ... Behind [one] counter a boy with a shaven head stared vacantly into space, a dozen spikes of microsoft protruding from the socket behind his ear.

"Larry, you in, man?" She positioned herself in front of him. The boy's eyes focused. He sat up in his chair and pried a bright magenta splinter from his socket with a dirty thumbnail.

From Neuromancer, by William Gibson.
Published by Phantasia Press in 1984
Additional resources -

Throughout this novel, and the ones that followed, Gibson expands on this basic idea. Microsofts can have the following kinds of features:

  • Provide basic data, like a big database of information about antiques; an antique dealer with this information at his fingertips would have a substantial advantage.
  • Provide data plus some computational ability, like a chip that could translate from one language to another.
  • Provide some sort of additional functionality, like the capacity to see if another person were bugged. A perfect analogy to this kind of microsoft is the small camera that fits into a Pocket PC. The base of the camera is a compact flash card with data space, software and the electronics needed to capture the image; the top part is the camera itself, with eyepiece and charge couple device to make the original light capture.
So where did Gibson get the name?

For those who don't recall, Microsoft Corporation was not always a corporate giant; at the time the author wrote this book, Microsoft was one of the many small companies that made software for those newfangled microcomputers. Microsoft the company was started in the mid-1970's; the company name was registered in 1976 and went public in 1986.

Just a couple of years before this novel was written, most software for microcomputers came in a plastic bag with a disk and some photocopied instructions (if you were lucky).

Compare to chiphead, from Nanotime, by Bart Kosko.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Neuromancer
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Neuromancer
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Microsoft-related news articles:
  - Chips In Your Head - Artificial Brain Prosthesis Under Development
  - Brain Coprocessor Platform Needed
  - Cyborg Rats Have Digital Brain Parts
  - Neurological Engineering - Creating Silicon Substrates For Brain Replacement
  - Military Implants To Boost Memory
  - ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips

Articles related to Medical
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
PRIMA Bionic Vision Restoration
Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.