36

I just finished William Gibson's Neuromancer and I'm still puzzled by the famous password that Lady 3Jane is the only one to know, the password needed to remove the restraining bolt on Wintermute.

It's not stated clearly :

and his voice the cry of a bird
unknown,
3Jane answering in song, three
notes, high and pure.
A true name.

I thought about Wintermute or Neuromancer, but both have 4 syllables.

  • 6
    Finnally, a cyberpunk question :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 26 '11 at 0:08
  • 11
    I only count three syllables in "Wintermute." – Pixel Jan 28 '12 at 20:31
40

William gives his answer here.

As to what the word is, well, I never considered it to be a word, really, though 3Jane, teasingly, calls it one. It is in fact three “notes”, something akin to birdcall. The key to the cipher, that is, is revealed as being purely tonal, musical, rather than linguistic.

  • Thanks! I was disappointed with the answer... No great mystery after all. – Igal Zeifman Feb 4 '13 at 22:07
  • @IgalZeifman it would be more disappointing if he had declined to answer, because (as long as he's making it up completely, not drawing from some other reference). At least we know the truth this way :). Well, maybe--"a true name"? What's that part supposed to mean? True names are tones? If you want mystery, you could wonder if there's some meaning here that he's sidestepped revealing. – msouth Oct 2 '14 at 7:13
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    "True name" is a magical idea, maybe Gibson was just referencing this since it seems sort of related to a special word that will "let the genie out of the bottle" so to speak. – Hypnosifl Jun 23 '15 at 1:00

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