Friday, June 10, 2011

William Gibson - Pattern Recognition

To describe William Gibson as brilliant, is I think perhaps an understatement. While, I have found his early works to be outstanding revolutionary works of science fiction. I found their literary pacing a bit dry. None the less, spawning one genera (cyberpunk), and reviving another one (steampunk) is no lean feat. Pattern Recognition proved to me that he is a literary talent as well as a speculative one.

Pattern Recognition follows the journey of Casey Pollard, a woman with two particular talents, and an extraordinary family background. Using her talent for recognizing trends, and her hyper sensitivity to brands, she has been able to make a career for herself as a consultant, a hunter of cool. 9/11 took Casey’s father and rocked her home. That trauma led her to become obsessed with set of internet films. Find the makers of these films, and understanding them is a personal obsession, so when a Belgian media mogul convinces her to engage in a search on his dime, Casey gets over her reluctance and begins a globe spanning adventure filled with seedy corporate spooks and white hat hackers with dubious loyalties.

The book succeeds in a few places. First is the pacing which is solid, moving along at a good clip. Second is the construction of the narrative is humanized in Casey’s character. Gibson’s previous novels d short fiction never really struck a chord with me. I think this may be because the abrasive settings, and complex plots lacked a certain element of humanity, which I found refreshingly in Casey Hubbard. Hubbard is vulnerable in a way that Gibson’s other characters, which I have encountered, haven’t been. This coupled with the landscape in which I came of age, that of post 9/11 internet forums, and to some extent geekdome, really brought me fully into Gibson’s Novel.

If you enjoy espionage thrillers, design, Science Fiction, or media literacy be sure to pick up Pattern Recognition. If you’ve all ready read it, and aren’t familiar with Corey Doctorow, you should pick up his book Little Brother tomorrow.

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