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Spook Country by William Gibson

Spook Country

by William Gibson

Series: Blue Ant (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,7351031,397 (3.5)118
  1. 40
    Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (Anonymous user)
  2. 20
    Virtual Light by William Gibson (PghDragonMan)
  3. 10
    Jennifer Government by Max Barry (mcuquet)
  4. 00
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (themulhern)
    themulhern: They both have one human being who manipulates human beings in the aggregate, more or less denying their humanity.
  5. 00
    Strange Flesh by Michael Olson (InvisiblerMan)

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Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
Pretty typical Gibson, with well-informed quirky knowledge of current and past culture and emerging technology. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Set in the same world as [b:Pattern Recognition|22320|Pattern Recognition (Bigend, #1)|William Gibson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1288326931s/22320.jpg|2455062]. Hollis Henry, former singer for a 90s band with a cult following, is now a freelance journalist. While investigating an underground art scene, she stumbles across a conspiracy that stretches across the globe. Young man Tito and junkie/linguist Milgrim are involved as well. The chapters are about three pages long each, and pretty much nothing happens. Everyone talks in short, choppy non-sequitars that they then explain at unrealistic length. At the end of the book, I still knew very little about any of the POV characters, and cared even less. I never got the feel that Gibson cared about the plot, or the characters, or their development--he just wanted to describe hotel rooms and how very cool and mysterious Bigend is. Well, I don't care about hotel rooms, no matter how well described, and I don't find ad executives particularly fascinating. It's a boring book with nothing to say and no story to tell. If it had been a short story about the underground artists, the concept might have been enough to make it enjoyable. But stretched into a novel, what little interest there is diluted into nothingness.
( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
The end is significantly better than the beginning. Not my favourite Gibson, but enjoyable. ( )
  SadieSForsythe | Feb 24, 2016 |
Gibson is a pretty consistently excellent writer - mostly because of his ability to take potentially mundane subjects and write about them in ways that make them seem fascinating, exotic - and "cyber!" Hollis Henry, a woman who is a minor celebrity in certain circles because she used to sing with a gothy indie-rock band, has been asked to write an article for a start-up magazine that aims to be 'the Belgian 'Wired''. on 'locative art' - a new form of digital, virtual reality installation art. However, something doesn't smell right. The magazine doesn't seem to exist. The mogul in charge doesn't really seem to interested in art - but wants information on any mentions of 'international shipping.' Meanwhile, a junkie who can translate Russian is being held captive by a man who may or may not be a private detective, a DEA agent - or a nutcase. And also meanwhile, a young member of a crime family (whose resemblance to Johnny Depp merits multiple mentions), is being instructed on a potentially dangerous mission. Spook Country is not a perfect book. Some elements would gain from a bit more background, to make them more believable. But overalls, it's clever, funny, interesting - and definitely hip. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Superb, his novels get ever closer to the present and get better for it. Even though this was written a decade ago it doesn't suffer from all the technological change in the real world since then outstripping it and making it redundant as other near future novels do. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Feb 8, 2016 |
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'Rausch,' said the voice in Hollis Henry's cell. 'Node,' it said.
The strength of Juana's magic had faded, Tito knew, amid new technologies and an increasing governmental stress on "security", by which was meant control. [13]
The Curfew's fans were virtually the only people who knew the band had existed, today, aside from radio programmers, pop historians critics, and collectors.  With the increasingly atemporal nature of music, though, the band had continued to acquire new fans.  Those it did acquire, like Alberto, were often formidably serious. [25]
Cyberspace is everting. [22]  And once it everts, then there isn't any cyberspace, is there? [66]
But what if, asked the upwardly burrowing voice, Brown was not really a government agent? ...  what if Brown was just an asshole with a gun? [80]
Intelligence, Hollis, is advertising turned inside out. [108]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0399154302, Hardcover)

Now that the present has caught up with William Gibson's vision of the future, which made him the most influential science fiction writer of the past quarter century, he has started writing about a time--our time--in which everyday life feels like science fiction. With his previous novel, Pattern Recognition, the challenge of writing about the present-day world drove him to create perhaps his best novel yet, and in Spook Country he remains at the top of his game. It's a stripped-down thriller that reads like the best DeLillo (or the best Gibson), with the lives of a half-dozen evocative characters connected by a tightly converging plot and by the general senses of unease and wonder in our networked, post-9/11 time.

Across the Border to Spook Country

For the last few decades, William Gibson, who grew up in Virginia and elsewhere in the United States, has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, just across the border from Amazon.com's Seattle headquarters, which made for a short drive for a lunchtime interview before the release of Spook Country. We met just a few miles from where the storylines of the new novel, in a rare scene set in Gibson's own city, converge. You can read the full transcript of the interview, in which we discussed, among other things, writing in the age of Google, visiting the Second Life virtual world, the possibilities of science fiction in an age of rapid change, and his original proposal for Spook Country, which we have available for viewing on our site. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Amazon.com: Could you start by telling us a little bit about the scenario of the new book?

William Gibson: It's a book in which shadowy and mysterious characters are using New York's smallest crime family, a sort of boutique operation of smugglers and so-called illegal facilitators, to get something into North America. And you have to hang around to the end of the book to find out what they're doing. So I guess it's a caper novel in that regard.

Amazon.com: The line on your last book, Pattern Recognition was that the present had caught up with William Gibson's future. So many of the things you imagined have come true that in a way it seems like we're all living in science fiction now. Is that the way you felt when you came to write that book, that the real world had caught up with your ideas?

Gibson: Well, I thought that writing about the world today as I perceive it would probably be more challenging, in the real sense of science fiction, than continuing just to make things up. And I found that to absolutely be the case. If I'm going to write fiction set in an imaginary future now, I'm going to need a yardstick that gives me some accurate sense of how weird things are now. 'Cause I'm going to have to go beyond that. And I think over the course of these last two books--I don't think I'm done yet--I've been getting a yardstick together. But I don't know if I'll be able to do it again. I don't know if I'll be able to make up an imaginary future in the same way. In the '80s and '90s--as strange as it may seem to say this--we had such luxury of stability. Things weren't changing quite so quickly in the '80s and '90s. And when things are changing too quickly, as one of the characters in Pattern Recognition says, you don't have any place to stand from which to imagine a very elaborate future.

Amazon.com: Now that you're writing about the present, do you consider yourself a science fiction writer these days? Because the marketplace still does.

Gibson: I never really believed in the separation. But science fiction is definitely where I'm from. Science fiction is my native literary culture. It's what I started reading, and I think the thing that actually makes me a bit different than some of the science fiction writers I've met who are my own age is that I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs and William Burroughs in the same week. And I started reading Beat poets a year later, and got that in the mix. That really changed the direction. But it seems like such an old-fashioned way of looking at things. And it's better not to be pinned down. It's a matter of where you're allowed to park. If you can park in the science fiction bookstore, that's good. If you can park in the other bookstore, that's really good. If people come and buy it at Amazon, that's really good.

I'm sure I must have readers from 20 years ago who are just despairing of the absence of cyberstuff, or girls with bionic fingernails. But that just the way it is. All of that stuff reads so differently now. I think nothing dates more quickly than science fiction. Nothing dates more quickly than an imaginary future. It's acquiring a patina of quaintness even before you've got it in the envelope to send to the publisher.

Amazon.com: So do you think that's your own career path, that you're less interested in imagining a future, or do you think that the world is changing?

Gibson: I think it's actually both. Until fairly recently, I had assumed that it was me, me being drawn to use this toolkit I'd acquired when I was a teenager, and using my old SF toolkit in some kind of attempt at naturalism, 21st-century naturalistic fiction. But over the last five to six years it's started to seem to me that there's something else going on as well, that maybe we're in what the characters in my novel Idoru call a "nodal point," or a series of them. We're in a place where things could just go anywhere. A couple of weeks ago I happened to read Charlie Stross's argument as to why he believes that there will never, ever be any manned space travel. It's not going to happen. We're not going to colonize Mars. All of that is just a big fantasy. And it's so convincing. I read that and I'm like, "My god, there goes so much of the fiction I read as a child."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:13 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The plot involves journalist Hollis Henry, on assignment for a magazine that doesn't exist; Tito, whose family came from Cuba, who does delicate jobs involving information transfer; Milgrim, an Ativan addict coerced into domestic espionage; and Bobby Chombo, a troubleshooter for military navigation equipment.… (more)

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