The Peripheral by William Gibson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
William Gibson isn't for everyone. His books don't hold your hand or spoon feed you the world he has crafted. Instead, you are thrust into am ongoing conversation as if you had been there all along. This can be disorienting and confusing, and for a lot of readers will be a turn off. I love it, though, and I think it gives his novels a lot of re-read value.
The Peripheral is probably the strongest example of this as it has two worlds for you to come to grips with. The first world is that of Burton and Flynne; a near future with rampant corruption, a drug driven Maker Bot economy, and a massive power gap between the wealthy and the poor. The second world is seventy years further into the future of the first. An event referred to as the Jackpot has the left the world in a technologically advanced state, but also...antiseptic? The world is clean and tidy to the point of being without soul.
The core of this story is a murder mystery. Flynne has witnessed a murder and must survive long enough to identify the murderer, who is bending his incredible resources in am attempt to eliminate Flynne before she has that opportunity. That would be interesting enough, but now compound that with the concept that the witness and murderer are living in two disparate timelines, where the future has access to life-like full body avatars and absolutely no qualms about destroying Flynne's alternate timeline. The concepts are fascinating, and I feel the effort of grokking the two worlds definitely pays off.
I highly recommend The Peripheral to any Gibson or SciFi fan.
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Posted by Adam Jones at 11:55 AM