I read Pattern Recognition last year and thought I might enjoy listening to the story once again on ipod. I was quite fond of the book and looked forward to listening to the story while doing chores and exercising, my usual audible pass-times.
For the first time, I found that the narrator actually made the story unlistenable. Shelly Frasier does not come across as a storyteller. I really wish that the crew that has done most of the Orson Scott Card books had a chance with Pattern Recognition, or the narrator of Ringworld. Books like The Secret Life of Bees and Tara Road are such fabulous stories to listen to, in large part because of their talented narrators. I'm afraid that Pattern Recognition was a loss for me--both as a wasted book credit and as a disappointment. I know this book could have been a fabulous audio story.
This is a mixed bag. The protagonist treads the border between attractive and insufferably smug, with her pilates, ibook, and "allergy" to trendiness. The plot similarly is on the edge of sophisticated and bone-headed with a gee-whizness about technology combined with embarassing ignorance (a "render farm" with dozens of people rendering video full time?) It also could have used better editing, as there are many verbal ticks that find their way into the text repeatedly.
All that aside, its a good listen, worth the time, and very well read.
Takes place in the present day, but a CUTTING EDGE present day, making it all the more delicious. Fun characters, snappy narration, a constant steady flow of ideas - what's not to like?
I tried for 45 minitues to enjoy this book. I still know little about the story line. The reader makes what may be a good book painful to listen to and difficult to understand. Try the "Hear Sample" before spending a book credit or money on this one. This may be a book to get in hard copy and read yourself.
The reader's tone is a little odd and hard to get used to, but in the end it seems to fit the oddity of the main character herself. Gibson is so good at creating new little slices of the future. This book sits somewhere between his core cyberpunk books (Neuromancer, etc.) and today, in terms of setting, but it's equally foreign as those seminal works in the genre. We slowly learn the ins and outs of this time he paints, and the layers are good all the way down. The central mystery pays off well and the story leaves you wanting to see more in this universe. Read this if you like any of Gibson's work; stories about how our cult-of-personality might be leading us to oblivion, and mysteries.
I've read all of Gibson's works and have loved them equally. This book is beautifully written and, IMHO, made even more appealing by Shelly Frasier's narration. At first I was missing Robertson Dean's voicing because I had just listened to Spook Country (which I consider a sort of sequel--also a great listen--to this book because of overlapping characters and motifs), but as the hours slipped by I began to marvel at the quality of the narration. I don't want to compare the two narrators, as I feel they are equally good, but something about this book and this narrator affected me strongly. There are powerful images throughout, such wonderful use of language, and differentiation of voices, dialects and characterizations that left me nearly breathless, and craving more. More Gibson, more of both narrators. Sorry for the inclusion of Spook Country, but the two books make a great pair. Listen to this one first. If you like Gibson's books these two downloads should be true 'ear openers"!
Unusual turns of phrases, ditto with the plot. Not your normal read. Most excellent. Really enjoyed this baby :)
I have been a fan of William Gibson since his award-winning book Neuromancer. Patter Recognition was also my first audio book, so my comments might be tainted by these facts.
Pattern Recognition starts off like a roller coaster ride, moving one rapidly through names, places and settings. So much is presented at first, that it might seem like you missed something, but with patience and dedication to the listening of the full story, a rich weave of mystery can be heard.
Unlike his earlier sci-fi or cyberpunk novels, Gibson is placing us in a more contemporary world, which I personally like because one can compare his world to "our" world almost directly and THAT leads the listener to a comparitive awareness, in regards to issues of advertisement and popular culture.
Patter Recognition is also about the nature of believing in either science, pseudo-science or mystery, as a substitute for religion. How this occurs is through a description of a community based on common interests, even if that "interest" is a mystery and open to debate by this same community. I can't say any more about it without beginning to devulge the story. Sorry, you are just going to have to listen to the audiobook for yourself!
My usual preference is the "thriller" type books, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one because the plot was engaging with many twists, and the character's lifestyle was personally interesting in a "what would it be like to live her life?" sort of way. The narrator is one of those very excellent readers who can change voices seamlessly and has all the right expressions and tones. It was an especially enjoyable listen.
I looked for more Audible's by this author and couldn't find any (much to my disappointment), but I did discover another book I'm interested in (Stiff) is read by the reader of this one.
Unique in a sci-fi book, the main character of this book is an honest-to-God human being, who faces a number of challenges: family, intellectual, financial, physical, spiritual--not just a 2D fight-the-villain conflict, but the complete life of a realistic human being. Her voyage around the world and through cyberspace is fascinating, as are the people she meets, like a man who collects 1980s Wang dedicated word processors.
The ending, like the ending of many sci-fi books, is sadly disappointing; it comes to a too cheerful resolution too quickly; I really wish the book had gone on longer to develop its ending better so it wouldn't feel so tacked on. Yet it's saying a lot for a book that you're left wishing it was longer.
This book is also a marvel, in that it's a thoroughly futuristic book in the vein of William Gibson set in the present-day relying on more or less actually existing technology. We've come a long way with information technology.
The reading was one of the best on audible. The reader actually lets the text speak for itself rather than trying to outshine it with irrelevant flourishes.