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William Gibson's Pattern Recognition

William Gibson's least-futuristic novel.

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Gibson's Most Present-Based Novel, But Not Necessarily His Least Futuristic.

  • Jul 2, 2010
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This is, in my opinion, potentially Gibson's most mature, approachable, and cogent work to date.

Still ringing with his trademark stream-of-consciousness prose-poetry ("It is that flat and spectral non-hour, awash in limbic tides, brainstem stirring fitfully..."), Pattern Recognition follows the story of Cayce Pollard, a "cool hunter" with a strange sort of telepathic allergy to brands and trends, as she slowly uncovers the mystery of a set of strange, fragmented film-noir-art-house video clips being uploaded sporadically to the internet.

The character of Cayce is painted brilliantly by Gibson. Delightfully filled-out and dynamic, Cayce is a character that comes not from the stock shelves of dull, stereotyped one-dimensional characters. Her cool-hunting talent is shown wonderfully not as a blessing, but as a curse - she is no high-hip, ovalesque sunglass wearing, expensive handbag toting follower of trends. Rather, she has taste that transcends logos and brands. The logos on her clothing are always meticulously removed, right down to the embossing on buttons, and she displays a certain sort of allergy to brands that comes across just as believable as, say, an allergy to pollen might be (one particular scene displays her reactions and symptoms as she finds herself caught in a sea of Tommy Hilfiger clothing).

Beyond the character of Cayce, Gibson's talents as a world-builder come across wonderfully here. The world Cayce inhabits, the environs, the people around her, all manage to be both believable and unique, refusing to resort, again, to stock cliches.

As for the plot and events of the story itself, Gibson strings us along with masterful ease, never pushing us brutally like some testosterone-soaked action-thriller, but delicately leading us along with the skill of a subtle Italian suspense film.

Recommended. Some authors, upon hitting success, get lazy and decline. Gibson, apparently, has only gotten better. He may paint a picture of the near-present, but he does it with all the panache and foresight of a futurist.

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Member Since: Jul 1, 2010
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