Neuromancer And Time Machine

A common tool of science fiction writers is the use of a character, to whom the
reader can relate, placed in an alien setting. This character will represent the
reader in this new alien world or society, allowing the reader to form a link
between his or her own world and this new one. Because these characters are
placed in unfamiliar settings, a way is presented to defamiliarize our own
society and perhaps even look at it in a new way, or from a new angle. These
characters play a role in the novel that usually involves some interaction with
this alien society that changes their perception of the alien world. It causes
the characters to see the society or world in a new light, comparing it to their
own more familiar society and seeing the benefits and weaknesses of both. These
experiences usually cause these characters to alter their self-perception as
well, changing due to the influence of these societies. Two such novels are

Neuromancer, and The Time Machine. In Neuromancer, author William Gibson gives
us the character Henry Case, or just Case, as he is referred to throughout the
novel. The setting is in the near future, on Earth, and Case is living in a
highly technologically advanced time. He used to be a console cowboy, a data
thief that could hack into corporate systems and steal information. Case is
recruited, against his will, to help an Artificial Intelligence named Wintermute
free itself from containment. In this setting, laws exist to prevent the release
of Artificial Intelligences into cyberspace, or what Gibson terms "the

Matrix". These "Turing" laws are not the only methods of preventing AIís
from becoming free. Along with the laws, computer security programs guard these

AIís, much like other security programs guard information and corporate
system. Wintermute requires Case to break through the security holding it in
check. At first, Case is unaware of who or what Wintermute is, and he is forced
to help it because Wintermute has caused toxin sacs to be placed in Caseís
bloodstream that will dissolve after a certain amount of time. If Case completes
his job (the freeing of Wintermute), then a cure will be provided. This coercion
causes Case to think of Wintermute as a kind of enemy, and he reluctantly helps
it. His role is as a tool of an Artificial Intelligence, used against his will
for purposes unclear to him. In direct contrast to this, the Time Traveller,
from H.G. Wellsí The Time Machine, decides his own course of action and, in
fact, decides to help an "alien" race without their asking. The Time

Traveller is a character from Britain in the late 19th century. He designs a
time machine and is determined to travel into the future and return to describe
what he has seen. He holds a dinner party for several of his friends where he
relates his experiences in the future. He travels to the year 802,701 and
discovers two different races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, inhabiting the earth
Ė the Eloi on the surface, and the Morlocks below. The first creature he
encounters is a member the Eloi, a "very beautiful and graceful creature, but
indescribably frail". He attempts to interact with the Eloi but because their
language is so different, he has to slowly build a kind of communication through
gestures and sounds. The Time Traveller sees the Eloi as the culmination of
humankind, a delicate creature with no need for fear or any type of aggressive
or competitive behaviour. When he finally discovers the Morlocks, who live below
the surface, he sees them as monsters, "ape-like figures" with large, glassy
eyes and pallid skin. Because of this, the Time Traveller identifies with the

Eloi, and forms a relationship with one of them, a female named Weena. When he
learns that the Morlocks are carnivorous, and eat the Eloi to survive, he sees
the Morlocks as evil. And when he also learns that the Morlocks have stolen his
time machine, he decides to fight them to get it back. His role as an observer,
and later as a protagonist, is almost the exact opposite of Caseís role in

Neuromancer. During his "employment" by Wintermute, Case learns several
about the Artificial Intelligence that affect the way he thinks about them.

Along with recruiting Case, Wintermute has recruited other mercenaries to help
free it. Each of these members has, in some way, been influenced to join in the
task of freeing Wintermute, whether by force (like Case), or because Wintermute
has saved them in some way and