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All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson
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All Tomorrow's Parties (1999)

by William Gibson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bridge Trilogy (3)

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3,862281,930 (3.67)28
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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Tried 2x, both times stopped reading. SO boring. ( )
  andreas.wpv | Feb 26, 2017 |
Gibson is just such a great writer. His imagery isn't distracting as one reads it, but has a way of transforming the most mundane things into the exotic and futuristic. His settings are often barely sci-fi - but the way he talks about them, they seem as if they are. Leads to philosophical musings about - it's all in how you look at the world....
'All Tomorrow's Parties' is a sequel to Virtual Light and Idoru, but works as a stand-alone as well. Not much actually happens in the book. It's more about setting, characters, concepts.
Ex-cop Rydell is now working as a security guard at a chain convenience store, when he gets an offer to do a mysterious 'job' for his friend Laney, which sends him to a squatter's community of The Bridge. Escaping an abusive ex-boyfriend, former bike messenger Chevette also returns to the Bridge, towed by a more bourgeoise friend, a film student bent on documenting the Bridge's "interstitial" community. Meanwhile, Laney, ill in a homeless man's cardboard box in Japan, remains online, perceiving, with the abilities given him by experimental drugs, the convergence of a nodal point, which could mean the end of the world.
Of course, the AI 'idoru' Rei Tei, is involved as well... ( )
1 vote AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Best of the Trilogy and well written, and not too long (yay!) ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
This is a Gibson novel that doesn't seem to register much, and I know I read it the year it came out, 1999 - the year I got married, yay! - and I don't remember much about it. Perhaps because it doesn't really add anything new to the world of Virtual Light or Idoru, but synthesizes the ideas in those books into an impending millenarian global paradigm shift. Anyway, it's this nodal point in the flow of digital information that haunts poor Laney, living in a cardboard box in a Tokyo subway station and monitoring the networks while dosing himself with cough syrup. he doesn't know what this nodal point represents, but he knows it is huge and potentially world-ending. He reaches out to Rydell, working as a security guard in a convenience shop, and sends him back to the bridge. It's not just lines of data that are converging on the bridge, however. Rydell's ex, Chevette, is heading there to escape an abusive partner. A smooth, grey killer, a strange young boy, a dealer in antique watches and the idoru herself are all caught up in the unfolding drama.

It's really good. More narrative points of view than the other books, which perhaps makes if feel more diffuse than the other two, but there's some great writing and great thematic development and an exciting plot all building to a strange, subtle moment of transformation. ( )
1 vote Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

When he was a child in an orphanage in Florida, Colin Laney participated in a research study in which he was given a drug that allows him to visualize and extract meaningful information from endless streams of internet data. Laney now has the ability to see nodal points in history â?? times and places where important changes are occurring. Even though he doesn├é┬â??t recognize what the change will be, he ├é┬â??sees the shapes from which history emerges.├é┬â?├é┬Ł

Laney is now an adult whoƒ??s sick and living in a cardboard box in a Tokyo subway station. Heƒ??s convinced that something big is about to happen in San Francisco. He doesnƒ??t know whatƒ??s going to happen, but he knows it will change the world. Unable to get there himself, Laney hires Rydell, a California rent-a-cop, to investigate.

Rydell is pleased to be leaving his lowly night job at the Lucky Dragon convenience store, but his new assignment is not as easy as it first seems to be. First of all, heƒ??s being followed by a bunch of thugs. Then thereƒ??s the mysterious silent killer whoƒ??s lurking around San Francisco. Not to mention Rydellƒ??s ex-girlfriend Chevette and her video-camera-toting friend, a drunk and stimulant-addicted country singer named Buell Creedmore, a computer-generated Asian girl, and a black man named Fontaine who has two wives and sells watches and faux Japanese babies. Rydell has no idea whatƒ??s going on... And neither does the unfortunate reader who might be expecting an easy-to-follow plot with a beginning, middle, and end.

But Gibsonƒ??s fans know that you donƒ??t read his books for a fast-paced straight-forward plot. Gibsonƒ??s brilliance is in creating ideas, settings, technologies, and especially, vivid characters you canƒ??t easily forget. Even minor characters are memorable when he gives them extensive backstories and names like Silencio, Boomzilla, Playboy, and my favorite, Praisegod Satansbane.

Gibson├é┬â??s ├é┬â??post-post-industrial├é┬â?├é┬Ł settings are fascinating. All Tomorrow├é┬â??s Parties, and its two related BRIDGE trilogy books, Virtual Light and Idoru, take place in a future ruined California which has been divided into Northern (NoCal) and Southern (SoCal) states. Much of All Tomorrow├é┬â??s Parties is set on and around the decaying San Francisco Bay bridge which is now stacked with ramshackle plywood dwellings and vendor stalls. That├é┬â??s an unforgettable image.

Cool tech is also to be expected in Gibsonƒ??s novels, and youƒ??ll definitely find some in All Tomorrowƒ??s Parties. My favorites here were the graffiti-eating paint, the quake-proof polymer building materials that engulf whateverƒ??s thrown at them, the global interactive video screens on the pylons outside the Lucky Dragon stores all over the world, and the world-changing piece of technology that appears at the end of the novel.

Those whoƒ??ve read the first two BRIDGE trilogy books (which are not required since All Tomorrowƒ??s Parties can stand alone) may want to know what happened to the characters they met there, and there are some answers here, but as with Mona Lisa Overdrive, the sequel to Gibsonƒ??s Neuromancer and Count Zero, these charactersƒ?? stories donƒ??t so much resolve as just kind of leave us guessing at what might have happened next. Is it the end of the world as we know it, as Laney fears?

But Gibson doesn├é┬â??t leave us completely empty-handed. He gives us interesting things to think about, and perhaps a warning. He makes us wonder how emergent technologies will change us. Will we destroy ourselves with our cleverness? Could we fall in love with people who only exist in virtual reality? Can we become aware enough of the ├é┬â??shape of history├é┬â?├é┬Ł to predict what will happen in the future? Can we change the future? Can we thwart God? Can we become gods?

I listened to Brilliance Audioƒ??s version of All Tomorrowƒ??s Parties, read by Jonathan Davis. His strong sonorous voice makes him one of my favorite readers. I just like listening to him anyway, but heƒ??s especially brilliant when heƒ??s performing William Gibsonƒ??s characters. ( )
1 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Gibsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Werner, HoniCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Through this evening's tide of faces unregistered, unrecognised, amid hurrying black shoes, furled umbrellas, the crowd descending like a single organism into the station's airless heart, comes Shinya Yamazaki, his notebook clasped beneath his arm like the egg case of some modest but moderately successful marine species.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425190447, Mass Market Paperback)

Although Colin Laney (from Gibson's earlier novel Idoru) lives in a cardboard box, he has the power to change the world. Thanks to an experimental drug that he received during his youth, Colin can see "nodal points" in the vast streams of data that make up the worldwide computer network. Nodal points are rare but significant events in history that forever change society, even though they might not be recognizable as such when they occur. Colin isn't quite sure what's going to happen when society reaches this latest nodal point, but he knows it's going to be big. And he knows it's going to occur on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, which has been home to a sort of SoHo-esque shantytown since an earthquake rendered it structurally unsound to carry traffic.

Colin sends Barry Rydell (last seen in Gibson's novel Virtual Light) to the bridge to find a mysterious killer who reveals himself only by his lack of presence on the Net. Barry is also entrusted with a strange package that seems to be the home of Rei Toi, the computer-generated "idol singer" who once tried to "marry" a human rock star (she's also from Idoru). Barry and Rei Toi are eventually joined by Barry's old girlfriend Chevette (from Virtual Light) and a young boy named Silencio who has an unnatural fascination with watches. Together this motley assortment of characters holds the key to stopping billionaire Cody Harwood from doing whatever it is that will make sure he still holds the reigns of power after the nodal point takes place.

Although All Tomorrow's Parties includes characters from two of Gibson's earlier novels, it's not a direct sequel to either. It's a stand-alone book that is possibly Gibson's best solo work since Neuromancer. In the past, Gibson has let his brilliant prose overwhelm what were often lackluster (or nonexistent) story lines, but this book has it all: a good story, electric writing, and a group of likable and believable characters who are out to save the world ... kind of. The ending is not quite as supercharged as the rest of the novel and so comes off a bit flat, but overall this is definitely a winner. --Craig E. Engler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:17 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Changing circumstances lead four people to travel to San Francisco, each one running from a troubled past and headed for a dangerous future.

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