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)
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.
I had a hard time caring about any of the characters until about half way through... then it got interesting. From the beginning you know that these people are inter-twined but the author doesn't reveal any clues until the half way point.
I'm a huge Gibson fan and am quite excited to read his new series. Unfortunately, I won't be listening to it until a new reading is done.
The actor for this book overemphasizes all sentences, with understandable volume modulation, and it's near impossible to distiguish different characters in the book. His meter is also quite strange. Because of all this, I couldn't get through more than 60 minutes of the book, constantly being distracted by the actor, unable to focus on the story.
I'm quite upset that I've wasted a book credit on this, and even more upset that I won't be able to listen this book from my favorite author.
I found this book to be a mess. The different characters seem to live in different worlds and it never comes together into one sensibility. Parts of it are set in real places (though the places are not really described - just a lot of brand-name/store-name/hotel-name dropping). A lot of the plot feels like a an internet startup that is taking it self too seriously as Art or as the center of a "DiVinci Code" conspiracy. The sections that are supposed to be about high end hotels, design and art seem particularly thin and unreal. I would give it a miss.
This book is lower key than Gibson's Neuromancer series, which created cyberpunk, but yet as well-written, creative, and perhaps more compelling because in the end, it becomes more Tom Clancy than Tom Clancy about current events. Gibson avoids moralizing and trusts his audience to "get it." When we finally figure out the heroes and the villains, we are left praying that there still exists Americans like that. A bit more Le Carre and Greene than Clancy, hard care techophiles bear with it, the high tech war of spies unfolds and then builds. For hard core literati, no fears, the tech never overwhelms the story.
Art, as always, remains a major motif, and his take on virtual reality (the emerging locative art set) as the potential to be cluttered with a thousand uninteresting visions from mediocre artists is a strong contrast to the exuberant geekiness in Vinge's equally brilliant Rainbow's End. His bon mots on music are breathtaking.
The narration is good, not outstanding, but the book is so good, heck I could probably read it out loud and people would still enjoy it.
Do not pick this one up if you are seeking a story that follows the Gibson of the past century because this is not him...
Despite that glaring fact the story is, without putting too fine a point on the departure from genre, a very easy to listen to romp through classic spydom without the violence, car chases, secret pen guns or... Well... Any of the gadgets that make spies cool.
In the end if you give this book a chance you will find an easy to digest story about people you just cannot really bring yourself to identify with or care about.
I gave it 4 Stars because it is a proper story that was well executed by the narrator and despite its lack of depth retains its entertainment value. If it had not cost me an Audible Credit I might have given it five stars... Maybe...
This book kept me just interested enough to then disappoint me whenever the story seemed to build into something riveting only to fall flat on its face with convoluted plot lines and unnecessary, bloated wording.
Good premise, bad execution.
I'm in complete agreement with Cindy. Nowhere in the first three plus hours have I recognized anything remotely akin to a plot. From the very first sentence, I've been trying to get involved with someone in this dis-jointed amalgam of characters and have been thwarted at each chapters end. This may be the worst piece of writing I have ever laid down good money for. Just glad to see SOMEONE can put a value on it ! Though I hasten to think some people have too much spare reading time on their hands.
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