Saturday, January 26, 2008

Book #4: Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

I've had this book on my iPod for the longest time. After trying to read Neuromancer, one of the first books to define the term "cyberpunk" as a science fiction sub-genre, I wasn't sure if I could get through this. But good reviews made me reconsider and I had a long bus ride and I wasn't up for going through my current affairs podcasts. I'm glad that I did listen to it - while the writing is choppy and the characters are nerds, it's a book of ideas, dealing with the issue of the internet, how the cyber-culture changes or creates relationships, and security.

Anyway, the book is about Cayce, a woman who is a high-end marketing consult, who because of a phobia, knows what logos will take off. She also is one of a growing movement of people obsessed by "The Footage," a series of internet movies that appear randomly on the web. She is hired to find out who "The Maker" is - but she's conflicted by the idea. Although she wants to know, she doesn't know or trust the motives of those she's working with.

Meeting the Maker is the strongest part of the book. Those scenes are full of a 'sense of wonder,' what science fiction tries to create in its pages. There's a funny bit about creating internet personas, but also a chilling big when one of Cayce's offhand forum posts sets the stage for trouble.

Tying things up in the last quarter of the book are very weak, and a last 'talking heads' segment is a big infodump.

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