ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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I recently finished Pattern Recognition, William Gibson's latest book. It is the story of a marketing consultant who has a profound sensitivity to brand images, to the point of being allergic to the most common ones. It is about media, and art, money, and the effect of personal relationships on these things. Technology is involved, but it is not about technology.

I enjoyed it greatly, and I think that, taken on its own, it is his best book yet. Neuromancer was a landmark because it was the first book of its kind. Pattern Recognition is not as great a leap, and is quite in keeping with Gibson's established style. I find, however, that in returning from the future to the present, Gibson has gained a level of sharpness and realism. William Gibson is not an engineer or a scientist, and has never claimed to be. His technology has always seemed very cool, but also rather contrived. In this book, he comes closer to his narrative strengths, leaving behind the technical fluff which sometimes obscured the deeper undercurrents.

Neuromancer was, for me, a novel-length narrative poem, a moving picture of a somewhat alien world in language. Pattern Recognition employs similar tricks to paint a world closer to home, and recognizable elements are often shown in surprising and revealing ways. The hectic intensity of Neuromancer isn't there: this is a less tangled, clearer book.

Gibson has changed directions over time, and I find that in Pattern Recognition, he has reached an area which blends his style and his substance to excellent effect.
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