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William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer (1984) is the paradigmatic Internet fiction. It is not by chance that the word "cyberspace" was coined by Gibson in this novel. It still has no parallel as an imaginative exploration of the web and of the oscillations it creates between the real and virtual dimensions of experience. Other novels by Gibson, such as Idoru or Pattern Recognition explore other aspects of the way human experience is transformed by cybernetics, and the first experience which is transformed is the reader’s experience. As the characters confusedly surf channels between their fleshly existence and their cybernetic avatars, the reader has to do cognitive acrobatics to interpret each word-processor generated phrase and its peculiar blend of "solid" fictional world and interface en abyme. In Neuromancer we do not find "metafictional" experiments in the line of Barth or Beckett, but what Gibson writes is indeed metafiction: the metafiction our cybernetically-grounded web society is itself becoming – the metafiction of the new ways our brain processes information and structures reality as it adopts/adapts its perceptual patterns from computer-mediated environments. Who has not had computer dreams after some hours of web surfing? We are in for more and more computer dreams, and those dreams are going to spill out into what used to be called reality.

"Linkterature" in progress... Ecce abstract:

The lecture will offer a perspective on the Internet and literature interface, with a special focus on the issue of intertextuality, in an attempt to delimit those issues specific to networked literature, as against digital or hypertextual literature. I will focus on literature as a family of medium-conditioned discursive practices, and examine the consequences of digital networks for a redefinition of these practices. These consequences will be approached from four viewpoints: a perspective on the Internet as literature, and of literature as an Internet: together with an examination of literature in the Internet, and of the Internet in literature. Among the topics addressed will be issues of interactivity, the blogosphere, postmodernist fiction, and the cyborganization of social communication.

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