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In fact, I've inspired myself to reread my copy of Neuromancer. It's been a few years now.
The story takes place in the former United States during the early 21st century. In this hypothetical future reality, the United States Federal Government has ceded most of its power to private organizations and entrepreneurs. Mercenary armies compete for national defense contracts, and private security guards preserve the peace in gated, sovereign housing developments. Highway companies compete to attract drivers to their roads rather than the competitors', and all mail deliveries are done by hired couriers. The remnants of the government maintain authority only in isolated compounds, where it transacts business that is by and large irrelevant to the booming, dynamic society around it.
Much of the territory ceded by the government has been carved up into a huge number of sovereign enclaves, each run by its own big business franchise (such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong") or the various residential burbclaves (suburb enclaves). This arrangement bears a similarity to anarcho-capitalism, a theme Stephenson carries over to his next novel The Diamond Age. Hyperinflation has devalued the dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills, Ed Meeses, are little regarded and the quadrillion dollar note, a Gipper, is the standard 'small' bill. For physical transactions, people resort to alternative, non-hyperinflated currencies like yen or "Kongbucks" (the official currency of Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong).
The Metaverse, a phrase coined by Stephenson as a successor to the Internet, constitutes Stephenson's vision of how a virtual reality-based Internet might evolve in the near future. Although there are public-access Metaverse terminals in Reality, using them carries a social stigma among Metaverse denizens, in part because of the poor visual representations of themselves via low-quality avatars. In the Metaverse, status is a function of two things: access to restricted environments such as the Black Sun, an exclusive Metaverse club, and technical acumen, which is often demonstrated by the sophistication of one's avatar.
Gatling type 3 mm hypervelocity railgun system
Ng Security Industries, Inc.
PRERELEASE VERSION-NOT FOR FIELD USE
DO NOT TEST IN A POPULATED AREA
-ULTIMA RATIO REGUM-