Hollis Henry is an investigative journalist, on assignment from a magazine called Node. Node doesn't exist yet, which is fine; she's used to that. But it seems to be actively blocking the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they start up. Really actively blocking it. It's odd, even a little scary, if Hollis lets herself think about it much - which she doesn't. She can't afford to.
Milgrim is a junkie. A high-end junkie, hooked on prescription antianxiety drugs. Milgrim figures he wouldn't survive 24 hours if Brown, the mystery man who saved him from a misunderstanding with his dealer, ever stopped supplying those little bubble packs. What exactly Brown is up to Milgrim can't say, but it seems to be military in nature. At least, Milgrim's very nuanced Russian would seem to be a big part of it, as would breaking into locked rooms.
Bobby Chombo is a "producer" and an enigma. In his day job, Bobby is a troubleshooter for manufacturers of military navigation equipment. He refuses to sleep in the same place twice. He meets no one. Hollis Henry has been told to find him.
©2007 William Gibson; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
"Gibson's fine ninth novel offers startling insights into our paranoid and often fragmented, postmodern world....Compelling characters and crisp action sequences, plus the author's trademark metaphoric language, help make this one of Gibson's best." (Publishers Weekly)
Gibson, well known as the founder of cyberpunk style of science fiction writing and as the person who coined the term "cyberspace" now is writing novels set in the present. As with Pattern Recognition, Spook Country is set in the present, with New York, London, Los Angeles, and Vancouver as locations. I liked the book for its use of very current language. For example, a character says to another something like, "I read your Wikipedia entry and googled you before I came to see you." Or, when the main character, Hollis Henry, turns on turns on her PowerBook, she gets a screen that says, "None of your trusted wireless networks can be found."
The war in Iraq plays a role in the background of this book, and even Vice Presidents accidentally shooting friends while quail hunting is mentioned.
The book involves three different stories that come together in the last third of the book. All of the novel's characters are trying to locate a certain shipping container, the contents of which are unknown to the listener and many of the characters until near the end of the book.
The narration is competent and unassuming.
I recommend Spook Country
not a good listen. hard to follow and seems like it goes noware. i would not recomend this listen
I write very few reviews, but felt compelled to do so on this book. I really enjoy Gibson's writing, even if this work is not as "out there" as some of his earlier cyberpunk.
I can only give this book 3 stars. It is written in a too flowery way. Describing unimportant facts in minute detail and length such as a fluorescence light.
I find my selves while listening to the book drift away ignoring major passages of the book until an important fact is coming up. I believe I would have enjoyed the abridged version more.
Books books books
Once in a great while a book comes along that transcends the events written about and explains something of deep and cosmic importance. I was stunned by the real story, uncoiling like an invisible serpent of stars, behind the "on the page" story of a woman hired to possibly write for a new magazine, and a parallel story of intrigue amongst a motley collection of spies.
This is Hollis in Wonderland as told by Gibson, a sci-fi cyber punk writer of epic proportions. I am practically obsessed with this book, both in print and the audio read in an intimate and engaging way by the incomparable Robertson Dean.
Milgrim, although I have to say I loved them all.
The story is interdimensional, with so many levels to explore I can get lost in a single sentence like a maze that opens doors in my own mind. I didn't just read this book, I experienced it like a psychedelic trip down a white Lego lined rabbit hole.
These stories coil around each other like a DNA helix to create a new being, a glimpse into a future that could go very wrong or incredibly right. The biggest book, in terms of impact, that I have read in decades. I consider it a classic.
This book by any other writer could have been too unrealistic and a two star. Gibson though is extremely good at spinning a tale. Not for everyone but 5 star plus for me. Sort of a Murakami look alike but morphed into an American Techie writer. Highly recommend. I think at this point any Gibson book will be 5 star. Just love great writers. Hard to find. Enjoy.
I'm generally a fan of Gibson's work, but this story just didn't grab me. The various plot threads were completely separate for much of the book, the ways in which they finally intersected weren't terribly compelling, and the resolution felt unfinished. Some great lines and scenes still, but nothing I would reread.
A truly memorable audiobook.
Gibson paints scenes so expansive in concept, I've thought about them for months afterwards.
I hadn't heard of Roberston Dean. He's now on my favorites list.
Dean's calm, even voice delivers humor and sarcasm with perfect subtlety.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Part techno-thriller, part future prognostication, and part examination of the weird intersections of media, post-9/11 paranoia, reality, artifice, and cyberspace, Spook Country is a thought-provoking book, if not as compelling a one as I might have hoped. It's interesting to absorb the bemused viewpoint of the author who coined the word "cyberspace" twenty-five years ago, who seems to understand the concept now less as a trippy second reality and more as an extension *of* reality. Into this gestalt, both Gibson and his characters seem to come as wandering spirits from twentieth century orders, trying to remap a world that shifts beneath them as a new century gets underway.
Gibson is a good writer, with a dry, understated wit, and the ability to write characters who feel like inhabitants of today living in tomorrow without being an overbearing hipster about it. Unfortunately, though, some of the characters feel like sketches and the "thriller" aspect of the book is a bit of a snoozer. Though it begins involvingly enough, the novel doesn't shake the impression of being a set of loose ideas not fully fleshed out. The underlying conspiracy is too fuzzy to be gripping, and the end feels rushed.
Still, I'd like to read Pattern Recognition and whatever Gibson writes next.
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