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Throughout the books Neuromancer and Schismatrix, we find that the primary players are generally not wholly human; in Schismatrix, we have the Shapers and Mechanists, both groups who could barely still be considered human. In Neuromancer, we were introduced to AI programs which had wills of their own, as well as a girl who was cyberneticly enhanced to the point of absurdity. Despite these qualities, people have been very willing to give human-like qualities to these character, they are not seen as "foreign," for the most part they are attributed a sort of generic humanality. This page's purpose is twofold: for one, we want to explore the reason for this, in addition, we also want to discuss how and why this theme is necessary to the overall understanding of our class.


This book has the most obvious use of humanity as a theme. We are introduced to two rival factions: Shapers and Mechanists. The Mechanists are the most aesthetically inhuman. They are the group that use mechanical implants to enhance their own natural abilities. These implants can include (but are in no way limited to) optical enhancements, bio-feedback monitors and prosthetic limbs. Their primary political enemy is the Shaper society; these people are all created through the use of genetic engineering, and are almost all very smart. They generally look "perfect," and are never referred to with negative adjectives (at least, about their looks), while Mechanists are quite often referred to as uglier and less "pure."

Despite their differences, though, they are both still considered to be human factions. Some of the more radical members of both factions can hardly be considered human beings, Mechanists with more "additions" than ordinary biomatter, and Shapers who have had their genetics strengthened until they barely resemble the human genome..

Nearing the end of the novel, humanity is seen as finally being cast with the transformation into "Angels" on Europa. Modeled after the abyssal life that Lindsay found on Earth, its relation to humanity is practically non-existent. Lindsay also casts his human-self in order to see the universe with the Presence.

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