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This 2010 contemporary sci-fi actioner follows Dom Cobb and his subconscious security team around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams.

Inception, Neuromancer parallels (spoilers)

Posts: 1
Hey everyone,

was brought here for the "Inception is.... Neuromancer" thread via google search, though I'd expand upon this idea, Neuromancer being my favourite book of all time, and Inception being a new close contender for my top 3 films.

Anyway I will try only to spoil the Inception parts, assuming most people here have seen it and may yet wish to read Neuromancer. I have "white fonted" spoilers instead of using the spoiler tags for formatting reasons, highlight the missing text if you want to see it. Apologies to anyone using custom forum background colors :?

Cobb = Case
Cobb appeared to be an out of work psychologist (it's implied he was driven to extraction/criminal profession by uncontrollable life events, ie mol's death) or maybe this was a much earlier event, and he was simply an out of work "architect" who could no longer build but still had a lot of offer the field of criminal extraction by way of consultation/"going into the field". He was on the run, essentially exiled from his former life, and becomes tempted by a lucratively powerful figure to do one last "big job" to regain his life back.

Case was an out of work hacker, banished from his former life andunable to enter cyberspace (portrayed as a halucination/dream state) as retribution for a past mistake. He lives out a desolate shell of his life, existing only in the hope of going back to what he had lost. Case becomes tempted by a lucratively powerful figure to do one last big job in return for the impossible: regaining his life back (ability to enter cyberspace).

Mal = Molly
Just about every sci-fi to date has based its "strong female heroin" off the character of Molly Millions in some way, this is the first time that I've seen where they also used the name. Molly in Neuromancer was always refereed to my "mol" by one of the other character. Molly and Case were romantically involved. The two characters were very different however, this felt more like a homage than a direct parallel.

Limbo =Neuromancer
Limbo was represented as washing up on an empty beach, where time had no meaning and one could live out a virtual eternity in isolated reality, potentially with the person you loved. In Inception, it is debatable whether Cobb and Mal actually lived here or Cobb was alone with his projection of her the entire time, at least at one point he becomes tempted to go back and live out the rest of his life with her (confirmed) projection.

Neuromancer, the namesake of the book, was an AI designed to grant immortality by transferring ones consciousness into digital form and allowing it to live inside the AI. This world was depicted as an endless beach. Case at one point becomes trapped here, with the virtual consciousness of his ex-lover, who had had her consciousness digitally cloned shortly before her death. Case becomes tempted to stay, but ultimately decides to leave, but cannot take the lover with him: she must live out the rest of her life (eternity) inside Neuromancer on the beach. In the book it is endlessly debated whether there is any actual difference between a perfect digital transfer of ones consciousness and ones biological consciousness, various characters in the following books make the choice to simply give up on life and exist in this way.

Dream State = The matrix, cyberspace etc.
To avoid confusion, both "the matrix" and "cyberspace" as terms were coined by Gibson in the book Neromancer and both refer to the virtual-world / hallucination similar to that in Inception, and yes, "the matrix" the 1999 film. However, the matrix in Neuromancer is extremely primitive and only resembles the advanced alternate reality state in seen in both films in its most sophisticated state and after much technological evolution within the books story arc. In Neuromancer, one enters the matrix through an electronic device very similar in its portrayal to the chemical kit seen in Inception, obviously on an electronic instead of chemical technological principle.

Projections = Constructs, AI's
In Inception, ones projections are seen to resemble in essence a group of borderline conscious/falsely conscious autonomous computer programs, given a life of their own by the power of the subconscious, and capable of acting in their own interests as defined by the emotions behind their creation. In Neuromancer there are various AI's and imperfect digital-personality clones known as "constructs" that float around acting in their own narrow interests, only ever at the best of times passing as a genuine consciousness and always with a kind of hollow/chilling ghost like quality that seems to make most of the characters in the book quite uneasy.

It very much felt like ones constructs in Inception (Mal, Cobb's children) were essentially a biological analogue of this: the best computer program the brain could come up with to emulate an actual person not physically present. I found it remarkable how Inception dealt with projections, the questioning of the human quality of Constructs and AI's and whether they could be accepted as the real thing was an enormous part of Necromancer's subtext.

The people in the Chemist's basement
The people in the Chemists basement were implied to be real people who simply decided to spend more time dreaming than in the real world: to them their dream state was more valid than their real state so they spent as much time there as they could. They accepted that it was not real, they simply did not care.

This was more covered in later books of the "sprawl trilogy" of which Neuromancer was 1/3, but there are described a lower class of desperate people who opted to live very much in this way. It was not inside an AI but instead in a kind of recording of other peoples experiences, called "SimStim" where you play the part of the person who recorded it. Think turning on an episode of The Sopranos, but where you become Tony Soprano and do everything he does, word for word, but thinking it was your idea all along. The people addicted to SimStim tend to spend about 18 hours a day hooked into a series of 7 or so of their favourite programs/fantasies, disconnecting only to eat or if they have to, go to work.

Mega Corporations in constant state of espionage against eachother, elite criminal under-classes in their employ, businessmen so powerful they can override law and order, global community of criminal professionals
This is a very classic cyberpunk/80's sci-fi concept and by no means created by Neuromancer, but certainly popularised to a great extent by it. This was mostly just icing on the cake: Inception could have played down this flavour at every opportunity but instead took every chance to build it up. I suppose it's been so long since cyberpunk that nobody would really remember and it might just seem fresh again, like han solo's pants in Star Wars (1800's military fashion I believe).

Thats as much as I can think of... let me know what you think! I very much liked Inception, even as a rusted-on Neuromancer fan this felt fresh and adaptive and not in the least counterfeit, and for that I appreciate it very much. Well done Nolan for writing and directing this!!
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Location: Planting an idea in your mind.
Bro, there is an Inception spoiler discussion forum right about the new topic button. Use it! For the sake of the people who have yet to see the film use it!
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