Have You Read …? Visionary author focuses on new technology’s effect on modern times
“Spook Country” by William Gibbon
A journalist on assignment for a magazine that does not exist meets with a geohacking artist, whose works includes a virtual-locational recreation of the death of River Phoenix. Bob, a specialist in manipulating GPS, never sleeps in one place. Milgram is being led on by the mysterious Mr. Brown, a man who can stealthily break into a room and supplies Milgram with the high powered anti-anxiety drugs he so desperately craves. These are the characters that inhabit the United State of the here and now, the world of William Gibson’s latest novel “Spook Country.”
William Gibson, the author best known for the word “cyberspace” has recently stepped into the present with his writing. The predecessor to “Spook Country,” “Pattern Recognition,” was Gibson’s first foray into the present world. He had previously been a visionary of the future; he has now set his eye upon our present. Both “Spook Country” and “Pattern Recognition” are set in a post- 9/11 world where emerging technologies and ideas are set to revolutionize our future. “Spook Country” has a slower pace than his previous works, and while some other reviewers have criticized the book based on its pacing, I found “Spook Country” to be more than satisfying. While many authors seem to work a good horse until it dies, Gibson is willing to take chances. Readers that are looking for the breakneck pacing of Gibson’s much earlier works (i.e. the “Neuromancer/Virtual Light” trilogies) will find themselves disappointed.
While Gibson’s first novel “Neuromancer” had a standard storyline, his subsequent novels all went the route of multiple storylines that converged. “Spook Country” has the narrative feel of the film “Pulp Fiction,” where seemingly disparate characters either intersect tangentially or spectacularly collide. “Spook Country” brings Gibson’s vision of the future into a present day perspective.
— Mark Dulyanai is a Friend of the South Lake Tahoe Library.