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Fri, 31 Aug 2007

Gibson, Spook Country

William Gibson, Spook Country, Penguin/Viking

William Gibson is the Neuromancer guy, the fellow who coined the word "cyberspace" and who was, along with Bruce Sterling and a few others, a representative of the cyberpunk school of sci-fi.

Lately though, he's been in the present or the near future. His last book, Pattern Recognition (there's a review of it in this section) takes us on a hike around world capitals in a search for some cult video makers. In the background is a sort of Euro daddy-warbucks, a smooth portrait of designer amorality including the fact that we only ever see his surface.

This character is back in the background here, in this new book, and has a few more lines sketched into his character. In the forefront is the female ex-singer of a disbanded cult band. She's trying to be a journalist and has been sent to L.A. to do a story on 3d virtual art which is tied to GPS coordinates. In a parallel story, which will merge later, an old man is taking delivery of iPods full of data in NYC. There's also a semi-addled geek who makes the geospatial things happen.

More than this we won't tell. Part of the pleasure of the book is figuring out just what is going on and who're the good guys and who the bad. It's a fun trip with enough weirdness along the way to give it spice and enough in the way of interesting prose and prose asides to make us feel we're not reading junk, even if there are quite a few brands namechecked along the way... which makes us feel like checking out a VW Phaeton - a big, luxurious Passat lookalike that has a talent for not turning heads.

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