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Pattern Recognition

by William Gibson

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)


Pattern Recognition, William Gibson
Cayce Pollard inhabits a world in which disembodied voices speak suggestively to each other in boutique elevators, data is encrypted invisibly within graphical content, and an entire sub-culture is born from the viewing of bits of video footage disseminated via the internet. Yet another Gibsonian info-trash cluttered cyber-realm? No. Cayce Pollard's world is our own. Pattern Recognition marks a significant departure for William Gibson.

Cayce is a "cool-hunter." Google her and you find that she is a "sensitive of some sort," paid handsomely for her particularly acute sense of product image-branding. She is also a relatively anonymous member of this pervasive Internet subculture obsessed with the 134 segments of video footage available via the World Wide Web. When segment 135 of this mysteriously evocative footage emerges, Cayce is hired to find its maker, a quest that will propel her into the realm of global espionage, a realm Cayce feels less comfortable in than perhaps her father, Win, did.
Win Pollard, ex-security agent with probable CIA ties was last seen getting into a taxi in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. His disappearance remains a mystery for Cayce and her mother. Now, Cayce must employ everything she learned from her father if she is to track down the mysterious author of the footage and outsmart those who would stop her.

William Gibson is often referred to as the father of cyberpunk, a science fiction sub-genre that he created with his seminal work, Neuromancer, in 1984. It was in Neuromancer that Gibson introduced his audience to the concept of cyberspace, to the newly important human-computer interface, and to the gritty and dangerous technological wasteland that became the backdrop for other Gibson novels.

Neuromancer netted Gibson the Hugo. Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards, the triple crown of science fiction, and became a cult favorite among science fiction readers and academics alike. Gibson has since soloed on five subsequent novels in the cyberpunk genre: Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow's Parties.
Has technology finally caught up with William Gibson? With internet-spawned underground cults and steganographic encryption current realities, perhaps the cyberpunk maestro no longer feels the need to reach into the future for the accoutrements that populate his prose.

Whatever the reason, Gibson's transition backwards into the present day is flawless. His command of story and symbol as sharp as it was when he penned his earlier works jets the reader grippingly through our world as only Gibson could interpret it. And we, followers of his tales, are the beneficiaries. We "give ourselves to the dream," that Gibsonian dream that promises to haunt the mind long after the cover is shut.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
, Member hazeltidbit

The story is slow to start, but the reader is kept intoxicated by the overwhelmingly interesting main character, Cayce Pollard. Not everyone finds the world of market advertising exciting. Cayce's odd mannerisms such as her allergy to certain corporate symbols keep the reader interested. The overall plot line, the search for the anonymous creator of a world renowned series of film clips posted on the internet, may not seem captivating, and would not be without Cayce. Some downfalls of the novel include the overuse of language that requires not only a dictionary, but either google or an encyclopedia. The encyclopedia would be used to help the non fashion-savy reader to look up the frequent references Cayce and other characters bring up. After the long journey, the ending does leave the reader with a satisfied sense of accomplishment and new insight to a world he/she probably did not ever think about before.

5 out of 5 people found this helpful.

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