Dan Sandman

50: Spook Country by William Gibson

In Books, Fiction, Science Fiction, Spy on 09/12/2016 at 12:00 pm

spook-country-by-william-gibsonThree inter-connected stories weave into one, in this fast-paced and prescient novel set in 2006. Hollis is hired to write a 7,000 word piece about locative art, a new form of art involving a virtual reality helmet, allowing the user to view images overlying real rooms — pictures of death scenes, places of cultural interest. Tito runs precarious and covert errands for his Cuban family, dropping off iPods to a mysterious old man without knowing anything about what is stored on them — it is probably not a hard rock playlist. Milgrim is being held under threat by a scary ex-military type, who feeds his drug addiction to Rize and gets him to translate messages coded in a language called Volpek. All three characters are unknowingly entangled in a web of complexity, playing their roles as stooges in game of life and death.

As soon as you begin a William Gibson novel, you are thrown into the world in which the characters live and breve. There is no time to gather your thoughts, the pages turn and you do your best to puzzle out what the hell might be going on. This requires concentration, which is rewarded when the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. Gibson, famed in history for coining the term cyberspace, is able to depict our advanced technological age with great skill and a predicative sense of future. His characters move through the urban and cyber jungle as outsiders, wired up to a global system of communications and international flights. The post-millennial world is shown as the huge, looming and uncontrollable beast that it arguably is. A vast series of nodes whose points are too vast to number yet somehow describable, like a blanket of stars in a clear sky. Creatives are always in danger of being sucked in, chewed up and spat out; as the black leather gloves of shady organizations reach out to insinuate control over our lives. As a reader, it is your job to enjoy the ride and unveil the links between the nodes, which gravitate towards the massive and more powerful.

Highly recommended fun.


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