John M. Ford’s Web of Angels bears the same relationship to Neuromancer as Cordwainer Smith’s…

John Ohno on 2018-08-30

John M. Ford’s Web of Angels bears the same relationship to Neuromancer as Cordwainer Smith’s Instrumentality of Mankind stories bears to Dune: containing all the core elements of that genre-defining work, and coming first, but containing too much extra strangeness to be easily categorized or to become the template for later work.

Where the Instrumentality stories introduce Dune’s epic-scoped space-feudalism political intrigue surrounding a backwater planet’s monopoly on the supply of a naturally-occurring immortality drug (Spice, the effluvia of a sandworm, in Dune and Stroon, the cancerous growths of mutant sheep, in the Instrumentality stories), the Instrumentality also adds to the mix:

Likewise, where Web of Angels gives us Neuromancer’s loser protagonist, corporation- and government-run automated deadly cyberspace attackers, dense dive into the underworld, and cross-planetary chase corresponding to a cyberspace heist, it also gives us:

Web of Angels is a book I started in high school (literally fifteen years ago now) and that fascinated me, and at the time, I never finished it (because I excitedly lent it to someone who never gave it back). I recently bought a new copy, and I look forward to seeing all the things I missed.