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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson

All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson. New York: Berkley Books, 1999. ISBN: 0-425-19044-7

I had read this book before. In fact, I've read everything by William Gibson, I believe, except for his latest (2007) novel, Spook Country. But it had been long enough since I read it the first time, that I didn't remember too much of the story, or what was going to happen next. Reading it again was like a continuous episode of deja vu. I remember this! Yes, and this, too! Ah yes, that's what I remember! But not in advance. So it was basically just as good as reading it the first time.

And Gibson's novels are definitely good, and definitely worth reading, everyone. He was one of the inventors, and best exemplars of the so-called “cyber-punk” movement in science fiction. A seminal thinker, and a great story teller, his visions of how it might be, or almost could be, or might soon be, are compelling and visceral. If you call yourself a SciFi fan, but haven't read Gibson, you're fooling yourself.

So, what's it about? Good question. Maybe it's about the possibility of artificial intelligence becoming human. Maybe it's about a has-been cop, a private eye, in San Fransisco. Maybe it's about some cyber-savvy hacker living in a cardboard box in a Tokyo slum, who senses that some major paradigmatic change is about to happen, and works to influence events. Maybe it's about all of that, but somehow, much much more. Essential reading for SciFi readers.

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