Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines intertextuality as “the complex interrelationship between a text and other texts taken as basic to the creation or interpretation of the text”[1]. In layman’s terms, intertextuality refers to the way texts relate to one another. This can be shared themes between books, similar events or themes, or even direct reference of another text or author. This concept is closely associated with the postmodernism movement.  

Intertextuality in "Burning Chrome"Edit

Neuromancer - Episode 1 - Part 1

Neuromancer - Episode 1 - Part 1

A reading of William Gibson's novel "Neuromancer

Author William Gibson and his works have made a huge impact on the information age as we know it today. In his short story "Burning Chrome", Gibson coined the term "cyberspace", a term now widely used to describe the internet. He then popularized this term in his full novel "Neuromancer", in which the "Burning Chrome" character Bobby Quine is mentioned as one main character's mentors.



Throughout "Burning Chrome", the character Bobby Quine is referred to as "a cowboy", drawing parallels between the work he does in "cyberspace" (i.e hacking) and the lawlessness of the wild west. By doing so, Gibson helps the reader better understand the type of work Bobby does and suggests that "cyberspace" is today's equivalent of the wild west. This comparison suggests that the work Bobby does isn't exactly legal and that "cyberspace" is a fairly new unexplored realm of potential and possibility.

Furthermore, the role of Hollywood and "simstim" appears to be Gibson's way of making a statement about plastic surgery and other such cosmetic surgeries and their impact on society. After Rikki gets her ZEISS IKON eyes and leaves for Hollywood, Jack says:

Blue Eye

"And sometimes late at night I’ll pass a window with posters
of simstim stars, all those beautiful, identical eyes staring back at me out of faces that are nearly identical, and sometimes the eyes are hers, but none of the faces are, none of them ever are"[2]

This passage suggests that these types of surgeries essentially rob people of their uniqueness in favor of some more acceptable or attractive norm. This example with Rikki's eyes seems to be making a broader statement about plastic and other cosmetic surgery and, from this example, we can extrapolate Gibson's opinion of such surgeries; that they rob us of our identity. These kinds of modifications (in addition to Jack's own robotic arm) are examples of how Gibson imagined Cyborgs.

The Style of "Burning Chrome" is remi
Blade runner1
niscent of the noir style films that were popular in the 1940's. The gritty, depressing descriptions of the main character's urban city and the way the story is told through Jack's internal dialogue are all characteristics that can also be found in noire style films. The story's representation of a seedy underworld (i.e Finn's place, the Gentleman Loser, and the Blue Lights) is also in

keeping with the grity and grim style common in film noire. This style of blending sci-fi with noir was also used to great effect in the classic film "Blade Runner".

Related TopicsEdit

Burning Chrome

Cyberpunk and Cyberspace



  1. "Intertextuality." Merriam-Webster Inc., n.d. Web. 19 Jan 2013. <>.
  2. "Burning Chrome" pg. 220