Pattern Recognition

by William Gibson

Hardcover, 2003

Status

Available

Series

Publication

New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2003.

Description

Cayce Pollard, a design consultant, is on the trail of the creator of Internet videos that have attained a worldwide cult following. As she draws closer to the truth, Cayce's life is threatened by those who will stop at nothing to protect the secret of the videos.

Media reviews

"In this, he is basically a conservative author; he doesn't really want to engage with the possibilities of the post-human. His chosen form, the novel, doesn't allow him to do this."
3 more
"Gibson's best book since Mona Lisa Overdrive should satisfy his hardcore fans while winning plenty of new ones."
''Pattern Recognition'' considers these issues with appealing care and, given that this best-selling author is his own kind of franchise, surprising modesty.
"A slick but surprisingly humane piece of work from the father of cyberpunk."

User reviews

LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
One of my favourite novels ever!
Advertising consultant Cayce Pollard, renowned as a “coolhunter” because of her ability to assess the likely success of new logos and brand insignia though she actually reacts to branding and advertising as if to an allergen, arrives in London in August 2002. She has been retained by innovative new marketing consultants Blue Ant to judge the effectiveness of a proposed corporate logo for a major sportswear company. During the presentation, graphic designer Dorotea Benedetti acts towards Cayce in an especially hostile manner as she rejects the first proposal. After dinner with some Blue Ant employees, the company founder Hubertus Bigend offers Cayce a new contract: to uncover who is responsible for producing and distributing a series of anonymous, artistic film clips which have been released periodically in obscure backwaters of the internet. Cayce had already become obsessed with these clips (referred to by fellow fans just as “the footage”) and has been a leading participant in an online discussion forum theorizing on their provenance and meaning, setting, and other aspects. Wary of the risk of corrupting the artistic process and mystery of the clips, she reluctantly accepts.

A friend from the discussion group, who uses the handle Parkaboy, privately emails her saying a friend of a friend has discovered an encrypted watermark on one clip. They concoct a fake persona, a young woman named Keiko, to seduce the Japanese man who knows the watermark code. Cayce, along with an American computer security specialist, Boone Chu, hired to assist her, travels to Tokyo to meet the man and retrieve the watermark code. Two men attempt to steal the code but Cayce escapes and travels back to London. Boone travels to Columbus, Ohio to investigate the company that he believes created the watermark. Meanwhile, Blue Ant hires Dorotea who reveals that she was previously employed by a Russian lawyer whose clients have been investigating Cayce. The clients wanted Cayce to refuse the job of tracking the film clips and it was Dorotea's responsibility to ensure this.

Through a completely random encounter Cayce meets Voytek Biroshak and Ngemi; the former an artist using old ZX81 microcomputers as a sculpture medium, the latter a collector of rare technology (he mentions purchasing Stephen King's word processor, for example). Another collector, and sometime 'friend' of Ngemi's, Hobbs Baranov, is a retired cryptographer and mathematician with connections in the American National Security Agency. Cayce strikes a deal with him: she buys a Curta calculator for him and he finds the email address to which the watermark code was sent. Using this email address Cayce makes contact with Stella Volkova whose sister Nora is the maker of the film clips.

Cayce flies to Moscow to meet Stella in person and watch Nora work. Nora is brain damaged from an assassination attempt and can only express herself through film. At her hotel, Cayce is intercepted and drugged by Dorotea and wakes up in a mysterious prison facility. Cayce escapes; exhausted, disoriented and lost, she nearly collapses as Parkaboy, who upon Cayce's request was flown to Moscow, retrieves her and brings her to the prison where the film is processed. There Hubertus, Stella and Nora's uncle Andrei, and the latter's security employees are waiting for her. Over dinner with Cayce, the Russians reveal that they have been spying on her since she posted to a discussion forum speculating that the clips may be controlled by the Russian Mafia. They had let her track the clips to expose any security breaches in their distribution network. The Russians surrender all the information they had collected on her father’s disappearance and the book ends with Cayce coming to terms with his absence while in Paris with Parkaboy, whose real name is Peter Gilbert.
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LibraryThing member clong
I had been slightly disappointed with Neuromancer, so it took me some time to get around to picking up another Gibson title. But when I ran into mint-condition copy of Pattern Recognition at the used book store at a price that was too good to be true, I decided to give him another try. I'm glad I did.

This is definitely a book about now: the post 9-11, connected, globalized world. Its protagonist is the very original Cayce Pollard, a professional "cool-hunter" with a sixth sense that tells her which designs will be hits and which will be flops. This has allowed her to make a pretty decent living as a marketing consultant, but has also left her with an odd phobia towards the over-exposed, and over-commercialized (a visit to the Tommy Hilfiger section of the nearest department store is likely to induce hyperventilation). It took me a while to warm to Cayce, but in the end I did. The supporting cast, whether good, bad, or of uncertain allegiance, features an odd assortment of effectively drawn and intriguing oddballs.

The book is more adventure than science fiction, more cyber-thriller than cyberpunk; the limits of Cayce’s on line activity are email and her somewhat obsessive participation in a discussion forum focused on the mysterious underground film that drives much of the book’s plot. At a basic level it is about exactly what the title says: the challenge of finding patterns that do exist, and not imagining patterns that don’t. It has some interesting things to say about the challenges and compromises of marketing in today’s world.

As for complaints, I would observe that Cayce’s solving of the book’s central mystery comes through a series of circumstances and coincidences that stretch credulity, and that the end wraps everything up a bit too nicely and easily. But this is a book that is less about plot than the world the author has sketched and the characters who inhabit it.
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LibraryThing member RobertDay
And so, finally, the real world catches up with William Gibson. In 'Pattern recognition', he was written a typical Bill Gibson novel, but in this case it is unrecognisable as science fiction because his imagination now depicts the world we are living in.

His principal character, Cayce Pollard, makes a living from her acute sensitivity to logos, coupled with a semiotic equivalent to perfect pitch - she can instantly tell whether a logo or house style will work, will 'click' with its intended marklet and the zeitgeist. If there are no such people at large in the world today, if there is no real-life Cayce Pollard, then there ought to be, because design is so embedded in our modern market -oriented world that it needs to be got right for the benefit of companies and the sanity of the rest of us. There have been enough tales of marketing disasters for any acute company to understand the need for such a talent (the one example which comes close to this is the late Woolworth company marketing a range of bedroom furniture for young girls under the name "Lolita"); and such a person with such a talent would probably find other, more ordinary, jobs either unfulfilling or even physically impossible.

The MacGuffin of the novel (though it is essential to the plot) is some found video footage that keeps emerging on the Internet; Pollard is a fan of the footage and contributes to ongoing Internet forums on its origin, background and meaning. Gibson weaves this plot strand into a corporate thriller that spans the globe.

Throughout, Gibson displays a great sensitivity of place. The sections set in North London had the bite of authenticity for me; I accurately predicted where he had stayed and who had put him up, based on those parts of the novel! On that basis, he is probably familiar with the other places in the book.

The plot would have been total science fiction if the book had been written no more than ten years before; the world has changed in that time so fundamentally that a modern reader could never visualise it as such. Looking back to the writing of the book in 2002 from the perspective of nearly ten years later, it hasn't dated, just become more relevant. Indeed, about the one item that might have seemed vaguely science fictional - "a project to build a new kind of visually-based search engine" (p.273 in my edition) - has come to pass. Also: this is the first Gibson novel that I've read that has a lot of humour in it, including a running joke about a major character's name...

In short, the Zeitgeisty novel of our times.
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LibraryThing member noblechicken
William Gibson has redefined himself with this novel. This one, like "All tomorrow's Parties" and "Spook Country", Gibson deals more with the present, well present at the time these books are written. I think that he has maybe realized that what he was writing about 20 years ago (considered futuristic) is now a reality in a lot of ways. His writing style is just as clever and slick as ever. This one deals with "cool-hunting" and is a type of mystery relating to a series of scenes from an online "movie". Anyone who has already appreciated WG will not be disappointed, for those who have never tried him because he was too "cyberpunk", this is a good place to find him.… (more)
LibraryThing member masyukun
Gibson does not write grammatically. His words try to trigger deep structures in your brain through association and impressions. Sadly, this is dependent upon a shared culture and knowledge of current technology and pop culture.

With this background, his meaning filters through your brain like water through rocks and sand.

Without such a background, it will feel like you're pushing your brain through a cheese grater.

The story is not as good as reviews led me to believe. His writing techniques grow tedious as you discover his formula. Worse, as the shared pop-sci memes Gibson depends upon to communicate die out, this book will become nearly unintelligible.
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LibraryThing member seph
This was a very strange book. I pushed myself about 75 pages into it thinking it was the most pretentious book I've encountered and wondering where the story was, but just as I was afraid I'd have to really work to get through it, I found perhaps the most subtle plot I have ever read. In talking about the book with my husband, we've concluded it's not so much a plot-driven book as it is an aesthetic. It's marketing meets internet subculture meets the ever-shrinking world. I don't think I could call it a page-turner, despite the fact that I sped through it whenever I had a spare second, but it was definitely curious and very appealing from the perspective of someone who's spent the past fifteen years exploring the internet and all of it's oddities. "He took a duck to the face..." A very strange and likable book.… (more)
LibraryThing member TCWriter
I'm a big fan of Gibson's early novels, but found Pattern Recognition a little hard to warm up to. His insights -- as usual -- feel simultaneously surprising and entirely plausible. Yet in this case, I found the plot a little implausible (especially late in the book) and the characters uninteresting. Not my favorite, but still quality stuff from Gibson.… (more)
LibraryThing member dczapka
There are two things worth noting here: 1) this isn't really science fiction, as it's set in the present (at least the present of 2002); and 2) this is absolutely nothing like Neuromancer in terms of plotting, character development, or narrative style. And yet, despite these two radical differences from what is almost unanimously called the definitive Gibson novel, this is still a damn good work too.

If anything, the plot, which develops slowly but at an appropriate, skilled pace, feels a bit fluffier than it needs to be, in the way it amplifies a subcultural event into a worldwide spectacle. But then Gibson, I guess, predicted the YouTube phenomenon a few years early.

Regardless, this is a really well-constructed novel, one that deals with technological advances, globalization, surveillance, viral marketing, and September 11th and somehow coalesces all of them into a hip (maybe too hip, but never in an over-the-top way), viciously readable pageturner.

Definitely worth picking up, whether you're a technophile, a sci-fi fan, or neither.
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LibraryThing member TheAmpersand
It's been a little while since I read it, but "Pattern Recognition" made me me see "Neuromancer" a little more clearly. What the latter is, really, isn't science fiction but techno-fantasy, which might explain why the book sweep is so immense and why it's so willing to ignore conventional ideas about what constitutes "computer usage" to go into thrillingly imagistic, largely metaphorical tales of hacker adventure. By contrast, "Pattern Recognition" is more-or-less a standard thriller, though some of its starting points are indeed thought-provoking. The problem is that most people don't read thrillers -- or William Gibson -- to learn more about their characters' inner lives. Here his sentences are sharp and minimalist, which is, in itself, not a bad thing, and Gibson's a good enough writer, to every once in a while, pull off a cracker of a sentence, such as the one where he describes a helicopter with a searchlight as "a lighthouse gone mad from loneliness, searching the barren ground as foolishly, as randomly, as any grieving heart ever has." It's too bad, then, that the author's content to spend most of his time providing endless, tedious descriptions of consumer products and design fetish objects. The setting here is one of ostentatiously understated corporate wealth, which reminded me more than once of Brett Easton Ellis. Now that the sort of tech that Gibson dreamed of in the mid-eighties is a multi-billion dollar industry, this was, perhaps, inevitable, but that doesn't make it any more interesting. Worse, most of the characters here and empty shells, either power-hungry corporate sharks or blank spaces: the main character, Cayce Pollard, seems particularly empty, a minor variation on one of those uber-hip, style-obssessed fashionista types you'll find any ever major city these days. She's a "cool hunter," for Pete's sake. Most of these people are irritatingly shallow high-achievers, and you can probably read "Wired" if you want to learn about those sorts of people. I'd pay good money not have to spend any time around them. And this makes "Pattern Recognition" rather a chore to read.

That being said, there are interesting-enough bits and bobs here: a post-Soviet immigrant artist obsessed with dated computer technology, a picture of a subculture in utero, the mysterious pull of what might be a truly great film, a meditation on what "creation" means in an age of constant user-generated remixing and reconfiguration. The book's too long, but its tech wizardry and its underlying plot points fit together well enough. But until Gibson goes really wide-screen again, I may not be too interested in trying him again. I know that he's written a few other books: maybe someone here on LibraryThing can recommend something of his that's more in that line.
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LibraryThing member ShellyS
William Gibson has been one of my favorite authors since I first read and was enthralled by Neuromancer. Maybe I've gotten jaded or perhaps things get past me now that didn't used to, but this book left me feeling unaffected, something I never thought I'd say about a Gibson novel.

Cayce Pollard, in this contemporary tale, set soon after 9/11, can predict market success of products and logos, of public relations campaigns for consumer goods. The nature of this skill is nebulous at best. At the heart of the story is some footage, aka video, that appears piece by piece on the internet. Cayce is tasked to find the "maker" of the footage. If there's a slimmer premise for a novel, I can't think of it.

The book sparkles with Gibson's clever prose, but this time, it feels like name dropping due to all the product names bandied about. And for 80 or so pages, nothing seems to happen. There is more packed into the last 50 pages of the 356 page trade paperback than the rest of the book together, or so it seemed. And I was left thinking, so what? The premise, the action, all seemed quaint, out of place with how the world is evolving. To set his story so close to now, Gibson pretty much guaranteed that this bookhad a short life for freshness. It's not quite stale now, but it certainly felt old.

Or maybe it's just me, missing something obvious. I doubt it.
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LibraryThing member kerns222
marketing pushed to the edge. Out where Gibson plays. No product, just sizzle (that's what the 1950s Marketing folks used to say: It's not the steak; it's the sizzle.) We get insights into the imaginings of hip-hip places, clothes, and more clothes.

Then the book morphs into a conventional spy thriller. People are chased, drugged, and set free. A raging plot overtakes Gibson's normal descriptive excesses. And Finally in two chapters Givson ties everything together. Characters that you forgot existed come forward to get their due. All is resolved and makes sense--very ungibsonlike--except that some characters may be lying. The world unfolds as not exactly just, but at least finished in a Bondian bedroom coda.… (more)
LibraryThing member scistarz
I enjoyed reading this very interesting novel by William Gibson. Seeing the media culture from this point of view made me question why we depend on such a thing. The "footage" really seemed to represent or seemed to be trying to reveal to the characters in the book what it is they were missing in their lives. Not through directly showing "this is what you are missing" but more leading the characters to question their own lives and think it through for themselves. Needless to say, this evolution of the characters kept me intrigued and questioning too.… (more)
LibraryThing member TeeMcp
One of the best examples of Gibson's ability to assimilate the sum total of modern life into a work of alleged science fiction. I say alleged because with every passing year, the premise of his books seem more plausible.

Pattern Recognition weaves post 9-11paranoia, fashion, post Soviet Union economics, independent film, and Otaku lust into a page turning delight. The author's ability to dive deep into social observation and report the findings back in a fistful of simple, salient words is remarkable. It almost makes me think social ficition, or psyche-fiction would be a more apt term for these kind of books. Like some kind of carnival mirror that shows us a slightly skewed version of our lives.

To be honest, it's more of an ideas, or concept book than a sci-fi adventure. More of a chess game than a football game, if you can stomach a sports metaphor.
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LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
Since I started listing them back in my rather autistic teens I have now read just over four thousand books, and this could very probably my favourite of them all.

There are other contenders for that title, of course: John Buchan's 'John Macnab', for its beautifully written amalgam of a rattling good adventure with its passionate evocation of an Elysian age largely of his own imagining; J. I. M. Stewart's superlative 'Young Pattullo' with its glorious portrayal of an Oxford that is simultaneously so reminiscent of, yet remote from, my own Oxford experience; and David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' with its intricately concentric structure and mind-blowing melding of plotlines across ages.

There is also, of course, Anthony Powell's 'Dance to the Music of Time'. I tend to think of my life as falling into two distinct phases: that dull sepia-tone stretch of tedium and woe before I met my wife and the glorious 64 bit kaleidoscopic years that followed. I sometimes wonder, however, whether reading 'A Dance to the Music of Time' was a similarly significant watershed moment (well, scarcely a moment as there are twelve volumes). Still, as it occurs to me that Catherine might read this I had better scratch that last thought. Phew, that was close but I think I got away with it.

Anyway, I am rambling. William Gibson is probably best known for his cyberpunks novels, and in particular for 'Neuromancer' which really launched the genre. His cyberpunk works are set in a technology-ridden, post-apocalyptic near future with anarchy threatening all around. 'Pattern Recognition' is very different. Written in 2003 it is set in an unspecified but very close future in a world immediately recognisable to us.

It was also one of the first novels to engage meaningfully with the events of 11 September 2001. Gibson was about halfway through writing the novel when 9/11 happened. As Cayce Pollard, the novel's amazing protagonist, is from New York it was utterly implausible for her not to refer to such a cataclysmic event, and Gibson reworked the book to feature 9/11 in her back story in a very sensitive and moving manner.

Other aspects of the novel include an alarming dissection of the lupine mores of the world of advertising agencies where industrial espionage and intimidation are all grist to the copy mill. Gibson also invents an early form of viral advertising and throws in an immensely readable history of mechanical computing.

Gibson's writing is economic, even sometimes austere, but he has a great capacity for conveying his heroine's emotions. Cayce Pollard is one of the most empathetic and credible characters I have read.

Advertising consultant Cayce Pollard, renowned as a “coolhunter” because of her ability to assess the likely success of new logos and brand insignia though she actually reacts to branding and advertising as if to an allergen, arrives in London in August 2002. She has been retained by innovative new marketing consultants Blue Ant to judge the effectiveness of a proposed corporate logo for a major sportswear company. During the presentation, graphic designer Dorotea Benedetti acts towards Cayce in an especially hostile manner as she rejects the first proposal. After dinner with some Blue Ant employees, the company founder Hubertus Bigend offers Cayce a new contract: to uncover who is responsible for producing and distributing a series of anonymous, artistic film clips which have been released periodically in obscure backwaters of the internet. Cayce had already become obsessed with these clips (referred to by fellow fans just as “the footage”) and has been a leading participant in an online discussion forum theorizing on their provenance and meaning, setting, and other aspects. Wary of the risk of corrupting the artistic process and mystery of the clips, she reluctantly accepts.

A friend from the discussion group, who uses the handle Parkaboy, privately emails her saying a friend of a friend has discovered an encrypted watermark on one clip. They concoct a fake persona, a young woman named Keiko, to seduce the Japanese man who knows the watermark code. Cayce, along with an American computer security specialist, Boone Chu, hired to assist her, travels to Tokyo to meet the man and retrieve the watermark code. Two men attempt to steal the code but Cayce escapes and travels back to London. Boone travels to Columbus, Ohio to investigate the company that he believes created the watermark. Meanwhile, Blue Ant hires Dorotea who reveals that she was previously employed by a Russian lawyer whose clients have been investigating Cayce. The clients wanted Cayce to refuse the job of tracking the film clips and it was Dorotea's responsibility to ensure this.

Through a completely random encounter Cayce meets Voytek Biroshak and Ngemi; the former an artist using old ZX81 microcomputers as a sculpture medium, the latter a collector of rare technology (he mentions purchasing Stephen King's word processor, for example). Another collector, and sometime 'friend' of Ngemi's, Hobbs Baranov, is a retired cryptographer and mathematician with connections in the American National Security Agency. Cayce strikes a deal with him: she buys a Curta calculator for him and he finds the email address to which the watermark code was sent. Using this email address Cayce makes contact with Stella Volkova whose sister Nora is the maker of the film clips.

Cayce flies to Moscow to meet Stella in person and watch Nora work. Nora is brain damaged from an assassination attempt and can only express herself through film. At her hotel, Cayce is intercepted and drugged by Dorotea and wakes up in a mysterious prison facility. Cayce escapes; exhausted, disoriented and lost, she nearly collapses as Parkaboy, who upon Cayce's request was flown to Moscow, retrieves her and brings her to the prison where the film is processed. There Hubertus, Stella and Nora's uncle Andrei, and the latter's security employees are waiting for her. Over dinner with Cayce, the Russians reveal that they have been spying on her since she posted to a discussion forum speculating that the clips may be controlled by the Russian Mafia. They had let her track the clips to expose any security breaches in their distribution network. The Russians surrender all the information they had collected on her father’s disappearance and the book ends with Cayce coming to terms with his absence while in Paris with Parkaboy, whose real name is Peter Gilbert.
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LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
Interesting but not greatly engaging industrial espionage story, with a cute narrative style. We are also treated to musing on the process of history when it interacts with urban legends, and some material on artistic freedoms and copyright law.
LibraryThing member DaveCapp
Having been a Gibson fan for years it was with a bit of trepidation that I picked up this book. After all, it's set in todays world (or very close) and is more a view of societies evolution than a view of the evolution of technology (and it's impact on society). However, within a very few pages I was hooked. The lead protagonist is one of his best characters ever, and her role as the walking talking litmus test of the next big thing is fascinating. This is also Gibsons best novel from a pure writing viewpoint - his character and scene development are outstanding, without going over the top, and the story line holds your interest throughout.… (more)
LibraryThing member callmecayce
This is my favorite book in the history of all books ever. I've reread it many times (which is rarity for me) and I thought (due to a friend of mine wanting to read it but only being able to acquire an audio book copy) that I ought to listen to it. It is almost even better to listen to. The reader is fantastic, she gets all the voices right and it's kind of nice to know how to pronounce things. I also enjoyed the listen because I picked up on different things, but was still able to find all of my favorite parts of the book. I have also acquired more knowledge about Asia since the last time I reread it (in 2010, when I was 32, the same age as Cayce) and I came away with an even greater understand and appreciation for my favorite book.… (more)
LibraryThing member HenryKrinkle
Cayce Pollard is an advertising consultant allergic to, ahem, brand logos. She spends her downtime searching the web for new pieces of "The Footage." What is "The Footage?" Apparently, it's some pretentious art film being released out of sequence. For some inexplicable reason, thousands of really cool, smart tech people, as well as a cabal of evil corporate henchmen have become extremely invested in finding the auteur of said interminable art film. Makes little or no sense, but there are lots of allusions to outdated technology.… (more)
LibraryThing member 2215bee
I just finished Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson, last week, and I enjoyed it, although I felt that the plot got resolved a little bit too nicely and neatly.
The first several pages actually put me off a bit, with all of its mentions of Casey Pollard's clothes as CPU's (Casey Pollard Units) and the Rickson's -- meticulously crafted Japanese versions of a certain type of jacket -- and her way of taking the labels off of her clothes. It seemed a bit much, and slightly precious or pretentious.
But I gave the book a chance, and I thought the idea of "cool hunting" was neat (cool) and kind of an interesting idea. Casey's talent for spotting workable logos in an unconscious or preconscious instant seems believable, and I wonder where Gibson got the idea. I've never heard of anyone else talk about such a capacity, although, admittedly, I don't stay current with these kinds of trends.
The world-wide search for the makers of the footage was interesting, the intrigue with Hubertus Bigend's company, Blue Ant, Dorotea Benedetti's devious tactics, all held my attention, as did Parkaboy's and Mama Anarhcia's posts on F:F:F.
Even the place where the search ends up (I don't want to give it away, in case someone reading this by chance reads the book) was believable and compelling.
But with all of the intrigue and the confusion that complicate the plot, Casey ending up solving the mystery, getting paid, and etc. seemed just too -- I don't know -- pat, or emotionally "uplifting." It's as if the pattern of the plot, with all of its spying, post-modern subjectivity, industrial espionage and danger only resulted in the comfortable design of a sweet romance. Maybe that's not completely fair, but, who says I have to be fair?
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LibraryThing member nordie
Set a few minutes in the future, this is the story about marketing, paranoia, stalking, and crime. For me, a lot better than Neuromancer
LibraryThing member MichaelAllanScott
Gibson Turns Insight Out

Weaving an intricate tale from behind the eyes of marketing maven Cayce Pollard, Gibson creates a hypersensitive world of highflying corporate espionage. From New York to London, Tokyo, Paris and Moscow, Ms. Pollard, hired gun for Blue Ant, reluctantly searches the globe, for the reclusive creator of viral "footage".

Hot on the trail of the ubiquitous yet enigmatic "footage", Cayce ducks and weaves, dodging Italian thugs, Michelin Man phobias and haunting memories of a father lost in the 9/11 rubble. She wakes up from a drug-induced blackout to find herself held captive by a Russian Mafia Kingpin. More, I dare not say.

Spellbinding prose and intriguing characters in surreal situations are the mainstays of Gibson's unique storytelling. I highly recommend it!
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LibraryThing member lenoreva
Cayce is a cool hunter working for an ad agency and looking for "the footage". Very cyber, quick paced, and fun. Even if you are not usually into sci-fi or technology, give it a try.
LibraryThing member ezuk
Not what I expected from Gibson; the book is set around 2002 (9/11 plays a major role), and on the one hand it's supposed to be futuristic Sci-Fi (it's a Gibson, after all), but on the other hand, it's full of references to outdated technology, making it feel a bit old.

I mean, it's hard for me to seriously take a book as Sci-Fi or cyberpunk when the heroine is using an ancient Mac which she has to plug into a landline to go online. There's lots of name-dropping in the book (famous brands and so on), but it's elegantly tied into the plot, so it doesn't feel like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in that respect. That said, there are other obvious parallels, not the least of which is the young wiry-thin female heroine.

Reading it now, in 2012, parts of it feel a bit strained and overwrought -- like Gibson was really trying to impress with convoluted prose. But that's not something I'd say about the book as a whole: Many of the descriptions are striking and fun to read (the Moscow subway stations, for example).

All in all, this is a nice book, but don't expect anything earth-shattering. An okay read.
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LibraryThing member bluenoser81
Same old William Gibson. Strange, affected style that you can either tolerate, or you will run away screaming. Gibson tends to get lost in minutiae, which are interesting to read, but ultimately slow the plot down. Gibson is a literary giant in his genre, and has great social commentary. Ultimately, even though I love the cyber motifs and plot, I set this one aside to read at brief intervals between other books.… (more)
LibraryThing member isabelx
Cayce has hung her Buzz Rickson's over the back of her chair, and now she catches Dorotea looking at it.
The Rickson's is a fanatical museum-grade replica of a U.S. MA-1 flying jacket, as purely functional and iconic a garment as the previous century produced. Dorotea's slow burn is being accelerated, Cayce suspects, by her perception that Cayce's MA-1 trumps any attempt at minimalism, the Rickson's having been created by Japanese obsessives driven by passions having nothing at all to do with anything remotely like fashion.


Unlike Gibson's other novels, this one is set in the present day and isn't actually science-fiction. It is a thriller about a woman who is employed by the head of a marketing agency to track down the source of a mysterious film that is appearing piece by piece on the internet. Cayce is a fascinating character, a cool-hunter whose career involves tracking down the next 'in' thing and using her extreme sensitivity to branding to say yes or no to companies' new logos.

I loved this book and wouldn't like to spoil the story for you, so I won't say anything else, except that Muji is one of my favourite shops as well as Cayce's.… (more)

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