From William Gibson’s debut 1984 science-fiction novel, Neuromancer:

Crossing the arcade to stand beside her, high on the deal he’d made, he saw her glance up. Gray eyes rimmed with smudged black paintstick. Eyes of some animal pinned in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

Their night together stretching into a morning, into tickets at the hoverport and his first trip across the Bay. The rain kept up, falling along Harajuku, beading on her plastic jacket, the children of Tokyo trooping past the famous boutiques in white loafers and clingwrap capes, until she’d stood with him in the midnight clatter of a pachinko parlor and held his hand like a child.

The whole text before and after that sentence is in past tense. Just want a clarification whether it is just “night that is stretching” or maybe something else that I missed at school. I’m bad with grammar.

  • I haven't read the book, but I would guess that 'he' is remembering a past occasion when he spent the night with 'her', followed by a hovercraft trip together the next day. Jan 4, 2021 at 9:12
  • 2
    That's not a sentence; it's a noun phrase; it doesn't have a finite verb associated with it, so it's neither present nor past tense. But the two previous sentences are also just noun phrases without finite verbs. Consider "Eyes of some animal pinned ..." pinned is an adjective describing the eyes, not an action that the eyes are performing. Jan 5, 2021 at 2:22
  • It's not clear if it has a single noun phrase or two. “Their night together stretching into a morning, into tickets at the hoverport” and “his first trip across the bay” (two phrases), OR, the night is stretching into a morning and into tickets…” in which case, it has got only one noun phrase.
    – Ram Pillai
    Feb 4, 2021 at 5:31
  • It's one of a series of sentence fragments. Arguably ungrammatical rather than extragrammatrical. Arguably overdone. Jun 4, 2021 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


It is interesting that you noticed the change in tense. I'm not sure a native speaker, or reader of fiction, would have, unless they were an editor. Yes it was the night they were experiencing then that was stretching, rather like a nice time that they felt like continuing.

A more habitable version of the sentence would be: "Their night together stretched into a morning, into tickets at the hoverport and his first trip across the Bay."

Interesting way to hide the verb stretch.


Really, I found the whole style of communication problematic. I can appreciate grammar is in the eye of the beholder - but really. There are forms of punctuation other than commas and periods, and I was annoyed figuring out if it was a list, an appositive, etc.

The only thing that makes sense is for stretching to be stretched. Even then, I have a hard time with his style.

Their night together stretched into a morning, into...

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