Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finished William Gibson's Spook Country last night (he's signing here in NYC tonight, but I don't think I'll go). It's pretty good; as a diehard member of the cult, I am not disappointed. The language is as spider-precise as ever, and - big step here - he's got a new story to tell.

Here is the William Gibson Plot, as iterated in every book from Neuromancer through Pattern Recognition: Young-ish but jaded person with some preternatural but utterly mediaverse-related skill/talent/ability is roped into a quest for some mysterious objay dart or cyborg critter that's loping about the net causing disruption. Dark forces chase said young skilled/talented person, and ethically gray-area forces assist. By the end, multiple plotlines converge as young skilled/talented person comes face to face with the creator(s) of the objay dart, and everything winds down kinda ambiguously, but happily.

This time out, maybe because the book is quite explicitly present-day (February 2006), there's not so much mysteries-of-the-net hoo-ha. In fact, the MacGuffin everybody's chasing is about as prosaic an object as you can imagine: a 40-foot shipping container. The fun comes not from the quest for the metal box and what's within, but from the interactions between the characters, who include a family of illegal-immigrant spy kids, a former alt-rock singer turned journalist, and Hubertus Bigend, the shadowy Belgian billionaire who was the comic heart of Pattern Recognition. I'm not gonna talk about the plot. Go buy it.

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