"Due to how badly Gibson's big screen adaptation of Johnny Mnemonic butchered the original story, I am worried this too will tarnish my memories of William Gibson's works."
When I was younger, I was somewhat mystified as to why Gibson's stories seemed so amazing on paper, but disappointing to me on the screen.
It wasn't until almost a decade later that I remembered something he'd said when I interviewed him back in the late 90s. I don't remember his exact wording, but it was something like "when someone is reading a novel, they're getting a completely custom, one-off 'film' in their mind".
Suddenly, I had a shocking realization: it wasn't that the people adapting his work for film or television were doing a terrible job of it. It was that I was imagining a very different fictional world than the one he actually wrote about.
In my mind (and a lot of peoples', I think), the world of Neuromancer is grim and bleak. That is, it not only looks like Bladerunner, but it makes its fictional inhabitants feel the way watching Bladerunner makes us feel.
What I've started to believe is that this is not really the case for Gibson himself. There is certainly a lot of the look of Bladerunner in Neuromancer (they draw on the same inspirations, like Heavy Metal comics), but there is also a huge helping of quirky humour, like the Rastafarian space station (or if you go back to Johnny Mnemonic (the short story) itself, elements like the "Aryan Reggae Band").
When I read Neuromancer, those elements are sort of in the background - little one-offs that briefly lighten the mood, like Sebastian's "I make friends!" line in Bladerunner, or the way Doctor Who will have a funny scene right before stabbing the viewer in the gut with something sad. But I think Gibson intended them as being close to (if not fully) on equal footing with the more serious aspects.
If you watch Johnny Mnemonic (the film), or either of the X-Files episodes that Gibson wrote with this in mind, I think you'll see what I mean. All of them are set in a world that looks grim and gritty, but the story itself is actually not. Sort of like The Fifth Element, another Heavy Metal-inspired film.
Anyway, I don't know if I'm right, but the more I think about it, the more I believe I am. Just follow the trail that each of his successive novels points in. Each one is more fantastical and less-serious overall than the previous one.
Track down the shooting script for Johnny Mnemonic - the one that Gibson himself claims is much closer to his original vision for the film. It's really not substantially different than what ended up on screen, at least in the ways that I'm thinking of.