It won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, and if I hadíve read it in Ď84 I would have been blown away too. As it is Iíve read enough stuff influenced by what I imagine must have been Gibsonís ground breaking style for it not to have been so surprising.
It would have been a double for originality: playing with Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, bio-technological implants - bodies as open slather for drug and neurological tampering ... PLUS ... post-modern characters, not exactly sure whatís going on, detached from relationships, not particularly noble, set in a future thatís the antithesis to the stereotyped antiseptic, uniform, civilised ones of 50s TV. ĎThe Matrixí, for example, is straight out of this.
So, sure, a B+. Heís clever and (was) original.
But it didnít take me right away because I didnít really like any of the pretty much shallow characters. They didnít make me laugh or feel - they donít go any deeper than a novel video game (ďSay, watch this cool stuntĒ). Take away the novelty and thereís not a lot there that I enjoyed.