Spook Country by William Gibson
Short Review: A good listen. Likable characters and diverse perspectives carry us through a story set in the here. The author who coined the term cyberspace delivers a carefully wrought tale of high tech intrigue. Robertson Dean reads well – not a performance I would gush about, but it gets the job done without any mannerisms that I found annoying. He faded into the background in the telling – and in my book that is just fine.
Long Review: Gibson’s latest installment is set in the here and now. Not quite a sequel to Pattern Recognition, Spook Country revisits the present day world of Hubertus Bigend – but in this book Bigend is just one of many players trying to keep their fingers in the pie. In this story we find Bigend attempting to use his vast wealth and resources to see into the center of a series of hidden activities that he can sense the shape of – if not the meaning.
I struggled with how to categorize this book. Science-Fiction? No. Fiction? Yes. Mystery? Basically. I finally settled on High Tech Intrigue. I enjoyed the assortment of tangled paths that Gibson used to lead me to the intersection of many lives and the culmination of many plots. I love puzzles and it is that part of me that especially gloried in this tale. It took a long time for me to figure out exactly who I wanted to root for – just as is often the case in life little is purely black and white.
I enjoyed learning about Locative Art and spies and why rock bands fade away and more. Gibson has mixed interesting tasty tidbits, tangible city landscapes and eloquent, textured descriptions with clues and intrigue. I like his style and have for a long time. I wonder at the new readers who will discover his work now that the present has caught up with his visions of the future such that he can still write the stories in his mind without them being tucked away in the Sci-Fi section.
The reading was all it needed to be – clear and evenly paced. It didn’t take me long to pick out the voices that Dean wanted me to recognize. I suspect that if I ever read this one on paper I will hear Dean’s voice in my mind as I do so.