Book by William Gibson
Released in March of 2003
Published by Putnam Books
356 pages, hardbound edition (first printing)
Dedicated to Jack (Womack)
This book by William Gibson, the founding father of the "cyberpunk" literary movement, is his latest work. It is about a young woman named Cayce Pollard (named by her mother after the famed psychic Edgar Cayce), who has an exceptional talent for somehow gleaning what is marketable and what is not. Miss Pollard, a daughter of a World War II pseudo-spy, finds herself embroiled and on the hunt for... something, a secret perhaps. Her travels take her from London to Tokyo to Moscow and the nether regions of a world that seems both parallel to our own universe and, somehow, inextricably woven into its very fabric.
Having read only up to chapter 5 (and still going), Gibson's sense of style, almost poetic in its nature, has not yet disappointed me. The beginning of the novel focuses entirely on Cayce Pollard's unique view of the world in which she lives, showing us evidence of our market-driven reality in a way that seems at once startlingly fresh and, at the same time, so very familiar. Gibson's skill for coloring nuance and flavor almost spills out of the pages and onto my lap, making the story as rich and as realistic as any of his other works.
Still only into the fifth chapter, this looks to be a very promising story indeed.
UPDATE: March 7, 2003 8:00 AM (CST)
And, now, having read the full story, I can honestly say that Mr. Gibson has managed to spin one hell of a magnificently wonderful yarn. The characters, as usual, seem almost as lifelike as your cousin, who lives just on the other side of the city and updates you on the comings and goings of life on the other side of the tracks- they seem so realistic that you are left with the sense that you could Google them and come up with more real-world information on these fictional characters than you could possibly imagine, almost making your own eventful life (if you have one) seem mundane and trite.
I should also note that this story is sci-fi in only general terms at best. The setting is as contemporary and real-time as just last week, or perhaps just last year. It feels like a major kind of story you'd watch on CNN amidst canned ham about Senator Lott, UN Inspection Teams, the first rumblings of a war in Iraq and the release of The Two Towers, if not for the fact that it somehow and mistakenly got lost in the white noise of a market-laden media tsunami.
The plot, for much of the book, stays on track and keeps its focus, following Ms. Pollard hither and thither like a teeny-tiny fly hanging about over her shoulder the entire time. But just when you think you're getting to the end of the novel, we the audience are handed some spectacular curve-balls.
Much jet lag.
Much better than I had ever expected (and that is saying a lot, believe-you-me, for I expected a pearl and was instead handed King Solomon's booty!).
If you like Gibson, if you like damn fine stories, if you like to be taken to a world that is just outside your window, then you'll read this book and wonder how it couldn't have really happened.