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Virtual Light by William Gibson

Virtual Light (original 1993; edition 1994)

by William Gibson

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4,710411,451 (3.62)61
Title:Virtual Light
Authors:William Gibson
Info:Spectra (1994), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Virtual Light by William Gibson (1993)


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English (39)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Plus a half star. I enjoyed it a lot. The characters and the world building. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
Felt a bit disjointed, but there are some interesting bits that seem to become more and more likely to come true. Sadly. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Mar 23, 2018 |
‘Virtual Light’ is a gripping thriller, set in an unspecified near future following a partial collapse of authority in America arising from the combined impacts of earthquakes and plague. It opens in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco and features a large community now living on the Golden Gate Bridge which evolved into a sort of sanctuary beyond the reach of mainstream law and order.

Chevette Washington, a bicycle courier Inadvertently finds herself on the fringe of a high society party. Having been hassled by one of the guests she wanders off to explore. When she returns to the main party room she sees that the man who had hassled her is now asleep with something sticking out of his pocket. Uncharacteristically Chevette steals this mysterious object and then leaves the party. As she emerges into the street she investigates the fruits of her theft and finds a pair of very dark and unexpectedly heavy sunglasses.

It transpires, however, that these are not ordinary sunglasses but are, instead, Virtual Light (VL) spectacles. When switched on they offer a new means of conveying data about whatever the wearer might be looking at. This stolen pair also contains top secret information about plans for the reconstruction of the recently devastated San Francisco. This information is immensely valuable and the owner (not the man from whom Chevette stole them - he was a mere intermediary) will stop at nothing to retrieve them.

Meanwhile former cop Berry Rydell, having recently lost his post with IntenSecure, a shady independent "rentacop" conglomerate with contacts everywhere, has been recruited by the sinister Mr Warbaby who has himself been commissioned to retrieve the missing glasses. His and Chevette’s paths are about to meet.

Gibson’s great gift has been the plausibility of his vision of a tortured future in which technological developments lend themselves to sinister activities, while society as a whole is fractured. Communes based around new and unorthodox religions abound, and there is increasing polarisation between the wealthy, who live in the safety of gated communities, and the disenfranchised poor, left largely to their own devices. It is not an appealing future, but all too easy to accept.

I recognise that the synopsis above may make the novel sound unduly fraught. William Gibson manages it to convey it all very deftly and the story flows seamlessly. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Dec 17, 2016 |
Dystopic details (“Fine, dry, flakes of fecal snow”), language with attitude, techy goodies, a god-awful font and page layout, and anti-nostalgic looks at defunct San Francisco, LA, and Mexico City, all woven into a mashup of current historical forces pushed out twenty plus years: privatization (Golden Gate Park is now the gated SkyWalker), militarization, globalization (Singapore runs things) in a coming-of-age thriller showcasing the naïve, tough bike messenger, her senile old fart roomie, the young, ex-cop/ex-private security hero? who believes in doing right, and his buddy, an apostate from the powerful movie-Jesus sect.

Halt—this is too much (But it’s always that way with Gibson) and it works. ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Interesting, I think reading the series out of sync didn't help, as the 2nd & 3rd books in the trilogy had more going for them ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Gibsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brautigam, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunter, StuartCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553566067, Paperback)

The author of Neuromancer takes you to the vividly realized near future of 2005. Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, the uneasy sister-states of what used to be California. Here the millennium 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 pick-pocket 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:37 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Berry Rydell, an ex-cop, signs on with IntenSecure Armed Response in Los Angeles. He finds himself on a collision course that results in a desperate romance, and a journey into the ecstasy and dread that mirror each other at the heart of the postmodern experience.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140157727, 0241953502

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