Sunday, 30 January 2011

"Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson

Year of Publication: 2003
Number of Pages: 356 pages
Genre: Thriller, spy, science-fiction

Summary: London, 2002: Cayce Pollard is an American woman who has a peculiar allergy to certain trademarks and corporate symbols. As a result of this sensitivity, she is hired by companies who want to test out the effectiveness of their latest logos. While in London for work, Cayce is hired by a sinister advertising agency to investigate a series of mysterious and strangely addictive short film clips, known as "The Footage", which have been posted on the internet in apparently random order. As she becomes increasingly fascinated by the Footage, Cayce finds herself drawn into a murky world of espionage, and comes to believe that her investigation might lead her to answers about her own father who disappeared in New York on the morning of September 11th 2001.

Opinions: This is the eighth novel from legendary science-fiction author William Gibson, who is probably best known as the writer of seminal cyberpunk work Neuromancer (1984), and is his first to be set in the contemporary world. However, despite being set in the modern world, the tone and style of the writing is very much science-fiction. The book is beautifully written in wonderfully vivid, descriptive prose and has moments of sheer poetry. Also it contains some of the best descriptions of internet forums and message boards. The storyline has an intriguing mystery at the centre which keeps the interest even if, at times, the story becomes slightly simplistic. Also, while the character of Cayce Pollard is a complex and engaging character, the other figures in the novel tend to be slightly bland and uninteresting.
However, the novel is a fascinating thriller which is beautifully written and has plenty of big ideas.

1 comment:

  1. I read the first chapter of this recently and found it really interesting. I have already read all of Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, and the first two novels of the Bridge trilogy, so I'll get to this after "All Tomorrow's Parties." Few writers are as consistently interesting to me as Gibson; as far as I'm concerned in science fiction there are only two writers who are better, and they are Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin.