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Virtual Light (Bridge Trilogy) by William…
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Virtual Light (Bridge Trilogy) (original 1993; edition 1994)

by William Gibson (Author)

Series: Bridge Trilogy (1)

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5,007461,529 (3.64)64
2005: Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, the uneasy  sister-states of what used to be California. Here the  millenium has come and gone, leaving in its wake  only stunned survivors. In Los Angeles, Berry  Rydell is a former armed-response rentacop now working  for a bounty hunter. Chevette Washington is a  bicycle messenger turned pickpocket who impulsively  snatches a pair of innocent-looking sunglasses. But  these are no ordinary shades. What you can see  through these high-tech specs can make you rich--or  get you killed. Now Berry and Chevette are on the  run, zeroing in on the digitalized heart of  DatAmerica, where pure information is the greatest high.  And a mind can be a terrible thing to crash... From the Paperback edition.… (more)
Member:daxxh
Title:Virtual Light (Bridge Trilogy)
Authors:William Gibson (Author)
Info:Spectra (1994), 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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Virtual Light by William Gibson (1993)

Recently added byhamhands, M_Yalda, kaballerau, MollyMouse, Steve_Walker, djl1964, rickycatto, mlahoz, private library
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» See also 64 mentions

English (44)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Virtual Light is the first in the Bridge Trilogy, and sets the stage for the series arc more than it sets up any central conflict playing out over the three books. Each novel focuses on its own story, the series arc plays out in the background -- especially in the first two books.

In book one, the staging is simple: the Bridge itself, a few hints surrounding AIDS Saint JD Shapeley, and the Yamazaki subplot are enticingly there, but only just. The setting is the aftermath of two cataclysms, one more evident to the reader (at first) than the other: an earthquake crippling the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge, and a pandemic evidently largely responsible for society not fully rebuilding. The Bay Bridge itself is a stark illustration of the haves & have-nots in this US society, with global trends following closely in the wake of US developments. Interestingly, denizens of the Bridge appear more vibrant & creative than rest of culture despite their subalternity. Dominant culture is tired, mechanized, efficient, and pushing society toward disruption, but all of this is recognizable mostly after reading the other two books. The novel's main plot doesn't involve any of these in any significant way.

Curious book design, the font almost a bold typeface and more suitable for captions or titles than narrative text. Chapter pages take a full facing page, in greyscale, with design reminiscent of a graphic novel. Section breaks within a chapter signaled by a horizontal rectangle, almost Prairie Style and at odds with the font and chapter design. Even the pagination and author / title repeated in upper corners seem more appropriate to an OMNI magazine layout than a hardbound novel. I wonder how much the publisher allowed this because the novel seems short, and all this busy-ness helped "fill it out" for the marketing department. Disappointingly, several typos not caught in copyediting: its / it's, Elliot / Elliott. I don't fault or credit Gibson for any of this, of course.

A solid book and a fun read. Taken alone upon publication, quite satisfying. This second reading I read it in one go with the remaining novels. I was pleased to find the shadowy hints took on a bit more solidity and shape in the context of the whole. The theme of global disruption from pandemic was especially interesting, with COVID-19 fully disrupting human civilisation at the time of reading.

//

synopsis | Chevette impulsively steals a pair of sunglasses after an encounter with an entitled misogynist, setting in motion several parties intent on retrieving the glasses and erasing all knowledge of them. Rydell shifts from a job at one subsidiary of DatAmerica to a different job in another, unknowingly moving closer to the center of a private business deal with global implications. There is more than one shadow government pulling strings, however, and evidently most are unaware of (or underestimate) the Republic of Desire. ( )
  elenchus | Aug 14, 2020 |
It's been years since I read this the first time, and it's certainly not what I'd call one of Gibson's best efforts. But I had to read it again, mainly because [b:Idoru|22325|Idoru (Bridge, #2)|William Gibson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309201219s/22325.jpg|879765] has been sitting around here calling my name, and I really want to read that one again. And then the next - [b:All Tomorrow's Parties|22321|All Tomorrow's Parties (Bridge, #3)|William Gibson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309201115s/22321.jpg|513838].

The downside of Virtual Light is that it's a story about a pair of sunglasses. Sure, they have some added capabilities which I will avoid spoiling for you here, but really... they're just some really cool glasses.

The upside of Virtual Light, is of course The Bridge - the Golden Gate Bridge, which in Gibson's grungy future (2005!) has become a post-apocalyptic, Bangledeshi shantytown - a ragtag collaborative of vendors and denizens interesting enough to attract a Japanese graduate student to study its anthropology.

And of course Gibson's writing, which I never tire of. ( )
1 vote markflanagan | Jul 13, 2020 |
"Neighbourhoods that mainly operated at night had a way of looking a lot worse in the morning."

Virtual Light,written in 1993 and set in 2005, is a detective noir story set in San Francisco around two people: Berry Rydell and Chevette Washington. After the city has suffered a massive earthquake the Bay Bridge has become home to the poor and under-privileged who have attached their homes to the steel structure. Chevette calls the top of one of the massive pylons home.

Chevette works as a bicycle messenger delivering packages to rich clients around the city. One evening, she makes a split second decision that will alter the course of her life. Rydell is an ex-cop moved to Southern California after being expelled from the Tennessee police after killing a suspect into the paths of Chevette, a murder, crooked police, international corporations, and hackers.

Described in the blurb on the back as an "audacious, witty and passionate look at our possible future" we are told about five types of guns and two non-lethal weapons in the first five pages. For me this is a real problem. Right from the outset I struggled to see this story as being little more than a thriller. A thriller that was lacking in enough action, intrigue and twists and turns to make it a real page turner.

Similarly whilst I saw the bridge, inhabited by the lower reaches of society, as symbolising the distance between the haves and have-nots of technology the very fact that it was set only some 12 years after it was first published and 15 years before I actually read it meant that it just didn't feel particularly futuristic nor a proper social commentary (if it had been set in say 2050 I might have felt differently). This ultimately meant that I struggled to see just what message the author was trying to convey.

Sci-fi isn't really my thing and this was my first book by the author. Therefore, I don't want to appear overly negative, there were some good elements. Firstly I enjoyed the author's pared down writing style, he has avoided overblown text making it is easy to visualize his 'futuristic' California. Likewise I felt that the two main characters, whilst only sketched, had enough substance to imagine them struggling to find their niche in a society where power has been placed into the hands of the techno-savvy. An interesting if not compelling introduction to the author. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jun 19, 2020 |
Bike messenger steals VL sunglasses which bring mercenaries after her. Berry Rydell helps her.
  JohnLavik | Mar 29, 2020 |
Lumière virtuelle se déroule dans quelques années. Les pays se sont scindés en petits états (la Californie par exemple est coupée en SoCal et NoCal, Californie du Sud et Californie du Nord). Les grands tremblements attendus ont eu lieu. Le little grande a amoché la Californie, Godzilla a ravagé Tokyo. Dans ce monde, on suit Rydell, ex-flic viré pour avoir agi sans retenue dans une prise d'otage, Chevette coursière en vélo et Yamazaki, étudiant en sociologie à l'université d'Osaka qui étudie la vie de certains habitants de San Francisco.

Il y a des morceaux intéressants, par exemple, le mot thomasson et son explication. Mais globalement, ça ne marche pas. L'histoire a par moment l'air de tourner à un immense complot, mais les raisons sont faibles. La construction qui fait se succéder les chapitres suivant tour à tour un des héros devrait renforcer l'impression d'une histoire qui les dépasse et qui englobe tout, mais a plutôt tendance à couper le roman et à le ramener à une suite de tranches plus ou moins intéressantes mais qui ne se rejoignent que géographiquement, pas suivant une dynamique de l'histoire. ( )
  miloshth | Sep 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
From a thematic point of view, Virtual Light was perhaps the most overt of Gibson’s oeuvre at the time it was written. Leaving little doubt as to his aims, fundamentalist religions, the rudiments of cyberspace, economics’ nexus with society, and the influence of entertainment are all presented in one form or another. The climax of the story, while perhaps confusing for some given the oblique commentary, is nevertheless a punch square in the nose of media sensationalism and its effects on modern humanity.
added by elenchus | editspeculiction.com, Jesse (Jul 31, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Gibsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brautigam, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunter, StuartCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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2005: Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, the uneasy  sister-states of what used to be California. Here the  millenium has come and gone, leaving in its wake  only stunned survivors. In Los Angeles, Berry  Rydell is a former armed-response rentacop now working  for a bounty hunter. Chevette Washington is a  bicycle messenger turned pickpocket who impulsively  snatches a pair of innocent-looking sunglasses. But  these are no ordinary shades. What you can see  through these high-tech specs can make you rich--or  get you killed. Now Berry and Chevette are on the  run, zeroing in on the digitalized heart of  DatAmerica, where pure information is the greatest high.  And a mind can be a terrible thing to crash... From the Paperback edition.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140157727, 0241953502

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