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Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Pattern Recognition (2003)

by William Gibson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Blue Ant (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,310131483 (3.8)102
  1. 91
    Zero History by William Gibson (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A new cycle of work from a master future prediction.
  2. 60
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (S_Meyerson)
  3. 40
    Spook Country by William Gibson (Anonymous user)
  4. 10
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (sturlington)
  5. 21
    JPod by Douglas Coupland (verenka)
  6. 10
    Jennifer Government by Max Barry (mcuquet)
  7. 11
    Makers by Cory Doctorow (grizzly.anderson)
  8. 00
    Strange Flesh by Michael Olson (InvisiblerMan)
  9. 00
    So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (souci)
    souci: Same idea of cool-hunting, all about surface, yet with appearances that are deceiving.
  10. 01
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (sparemethecensor)

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» See also 102 mentions

English (127)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All (131)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
Other than as an interesting portrayal of its lead character, I'm not sure that this book amounts to much at all. The story isn't particularly interesting, the secondary characters lack adequate flesh in themselves, to be compelling. And the video at the centre of the plot, isn't substantive enough to show why everyone is obsessed by it. ( )
  TomMcGreevy | Apr 17, 2017 |
The start of another of Gibson's loose trilogy's, this one is set more or less in the present day, rather than some dystopian future, and follows Cayce Pollard as she tries to track down the maker or makers of film footage that is being released piecemeal onto the internet. Cayce has a special sensitivity to brands and is used by pan-global advertising agency Blue Ant to determine whether new brands will work or not. Blue Ant is run by Hubertus Bigend (no, really) who then hires Cayce to track down the footage. Thus begins a journey across several continents as Gibson explores the nature of information and our relationships to it, our desire to detect patterns in everything around us. Written at the start of the Noughties, the novel is eerily prescient about viral advertising and our increasing reliance on all things web. I'm not sure if this is a thoroughly satisfying thriller, or even if it's as good as Gibson's previous work, but it is a dazzling piece of fiction and I'll certainly be reading the two books that follow this, Spook Country and Zero History. ( )
  David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
It's been a little while since I read it, but "Pattern Recognition" made me me see "Neuromancer" a little more clearly. What the latter is, really, isn't science fiction but techno-fantasy, which might explain why the book sweep is so immense and why it's so willing to ignore conventional ideas about what constitutes "computer usage" to go into thrillingly imagistic, largely metaphorical tales of hacker adventure. By contrast, "Pattern Recognition" is more-or-less a standard thriller, though some of its starting points are indeed thought-provoking. The problem is that most people don't read thrillers -- or William Gibson -- to learn more about their characters' inner lives. Here his sentences are sharp and minimalist, which is, in itself, not a bad thing, and Gibson's a good enough writer, to every once in a while, pull off a cracker of a sentence, such as the one where he describes a helicopter with a searchlight as "a lighthouse gone mad from loneliness, searching the barren ground as foolishly, as randomly, as any grieving heart ever has." It's too bad, then, that the author's content to spend most of his time providing endless, tedious descriptions of consumer products and design fetish objects. The setting here is one of ostentatiously understated corporate wealth, which reminded me more than once of Brett Easton Ellis. Now that the sort of tech that Gibson dreamed of in the mid-eighties is a multi-billion dollar industry, this was, perhaps, inevitable, but that doesn't make it any more interesting. Worse, most of the characters here and empty shells, either power-hungry corporate sharks or blank spaces: the main character, Cayce Pollard, seems particularly empty, a minor variation on one of those uber-hip, style-obssessed fashionista types you'll find any ever major city these days. She's a "cool hunter," for Pete's sake. Most of these people are irritatingly shallow high-achievers, and you can probably read "Wired" if you want to learn about those sorts of people. I'd pay good money not have to spend any time around them. And this makes "Pattern Recognition" rather a chore to read.

That being said, there are interesting-enough bits and bobs here: a post-Soviet immigrant artist obsessed with dated computer technology, a picture of a subculture in utero, the mysterious pull of what might be a truly great film, a meditation on what "creation" means in an age of constant user-generated remixing and reconfiguration. The book's too long, but its tech wizardry and its underlying plot points fit together well enough. But until Gibson goes really wide-screen again, I may not be too interested in trying him again. I know that he's written a few other books: maybe someone here on LibraryThing can recommend something of his that's more in that line. ( )
1 vote TheAmpersand | Nov 19, 2016 |
marketing pushed to the edge. Out where Gibson plays. No product, just sizzle (that's what the 1950s Marketing folks used to say: It's not the steak; it's the sizzle.) We get insights into the imaginings of hip-hip places, clothes, and more clothes.

Then the book morphs into a conventional spy thriller. People are chased, drugged, and set free. A raging plot overtakes Gibson's normal descriptive excesses. And Finally in two chapters Givson ties everything together. Characters that you forgot existed come forward to get their due. All is resolved and makes sense--very ungibsonlike--except that some characters may be lying. The world unfolds as not exactly just, but at least finished in a Bondian bedroom coda. ( )
1 vote kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Cayce Pollard's Rickshaw leather jacket is perhaps the most described article of clothing I've ever read. Like an old friend. Not as good as Gibson's seminal cyberpunk work from the 80's, but a fresh, welcome read nonetheless. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Gibsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Achilles,GretchenText Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, ArchieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raphan, BenitaPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Five hours' New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm.
"Nothing like genderbait for the nerds as I'm sure you well know."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425198685, Mass Market Paperback)

The first of William Gibson's usually futuristic novels to be set in the present, Pattern Recognition is a masterful snapshot of modern consumer culture and hipster esoterica. Set in London, Tokyo, and Moscow, Pattern Recognition takes the reader on a tour of a global village inhabited by power-hungry marketeers, industrial saboteurs, high-end hackers, Russian mob bosses, Internet fan-boys, techno archeologists, washed-out spies, cultural documentarians, and our heroine Cayce Pollard--a soothsaying "cool hunter" with an allergy to brand names.

Pollard is among a cult-like group of Internet obsessives that strives to find meaning and patterns within a mysterious collection of video moments, merely called "the footage," let loose onto the Internet by an unknown source. Her hobby and work collide when a megalomaniac client hires her to track down whoever is behind the footage. Cayce's quest will take her in and out of harm's way in a high-stakes game that ultimately coincides with her desire to reconcile her father’s disappearance during the September 11 attacks in New York.

Although he forgoes his usual future-think tactics, this is very much a William Gibson novel, more so for fans who realize that Gibson's brilliance lies not in constructing new futures but in using astute observations of present-day cultural flotsam to create those futures. With Pattern Recognition, Gibson skips the extrapolation and focuses his acumen on our confusing contemporary world, using the precocious Pollard to personify and humanize the uncertain anxiety, optimistic hope, and downright fear many feel when looking to the future. The novel is filled with Gibson's lyric descriptions and astute observations of modern life, making it worth the read for both cool hunters and their prey. --Jeremy Pugh

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Gibson's highly acclaimed "New York Times" bestselling novel is the story of a trend predictor in London who's offered a job to find the creator of the obscure, enigmatic video clips being uploaded to the Internet--footage that is generating massive underground buzz worldwide.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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