Some reflections off the first seven plus chapters (112 of 845 pages on the Medium size...) One smallish semi-spoiler included:
* It's written in the usual style of Gibson: Short and staccato chapters interlaced with longer (yet still comparatively small) chapters. You just have to flow with the novel for a bit, getting used to the characters and situations depicted, just stringing along while figuring out where Gibson is going.
Also, main characters are introduced individually in the first few chapters. You'll probably have to read the novel through more than once (my usual for Gibson is that on the third read I really start appreciating the deeper themes.)
* In the first six chapters I thought this might be a stand-alone novel. It's in Chapter 7 that we get a reference to Pattern Recognition
SPOILER WARNING (forgot that this board doesn't have spoiler codes!):
It turns out that one of the characters has been contracted to write an article for what is (apparently) a magazine owned by Hubertus Bigend, owner of Blue Ant in PR.
END OF SPOILER
While Gibson does write stand-alone stories (The Difference Engine
with Bruce Sterling, the collected novellas of Burning Chrome
,) he is more famous for his trilogies. The "Neuromancer" series (Neuromancer
, Count Zero
, and Mona Lisa Overdrive
,) and the "Bridge" series (Virtual Light
, and All Tomorrow's Parties
Like his other trilogies, these novels are entirely readable separately, but there are added dimensions to reading the series. So, if you liked Pattern Recognition
, there is hope to like this one.
* As above, I found it hard to get into the rhythm of the novel - it finally started to flow in late Chapter 5. With Gibson's shorter style, though, this is in the first sixteenth or so of the book. This is normal for me with Gibson stories.
* As an (at least potential) continuation of Pattern Recognition
, this novel is not set in some alternate past, future, or even present. Instead, everything in it so far is entirely possible today, if on the fringe of technology and relationships. Gibson has always included elements of today's bleeding edge technologies and events, this series simply omits what's not possible today. This series is hard therefore to define as science fiction - there isn't a futuristic or alternate element here. It's questionable if this fits a "Cyberpunk" definition or not, even though it's utterly in Gibson's style of writing. Perhaps, just as Gibson was at the forefront of "Cyberpunk," he's now at the forefront of an entirely new school or writing yet-to-be-defined.
* So far, it's an enjoyable read, especially if you're as into Gibson as I am.