Book details of 'Pattern Recognition'
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Pattern Recognition':
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
This novel takes place in the corporate present, rather than the
dystopian cyberpunk future of Gibson's early works (although he was
bringing us closer even with "Virtual Light", cf. BKVRTLIT.RVW).
Gibson's "edge" is possibly smoothing, although his writing skill and
the humanity that have always marked his work are intact. Central
elements in this work are the marketing and building of "brand." The
internationalization of brands, the implications for individualization
in the face of that pressure, and our discomfort when presented with
different brands are all examined in interesting ways in the character
of a woman who researches and measures the potential popularity of
trademark material, but who is also allergic to certain brands.
(There are some really interesting points about social engineering, of
In terms of this series, Gibson has never made real technology central
to his books, and this one is no exception. However, he does involve
steganography, digital watermarking, and the tracing of electronic
messages and files in the plot. While I enjoyed the book (a lot), I
found it strangely weak in regard to the actual use of technology in
the plot. Gibson has not made any secret of the fact that he doesn't
have a technical background, but there are numerous technologies that
could have been used and explored in regard to the plot as it exists,
so it seems oddly unfinished. Still, while Gibson hasn't devoted a
lot of detail to the technologies involved, neither has he made any of
the technical howlers that are so annoying in other, similar, works.
So, it only barely makes it into the series, but I recommend it as a
good read, and some great insight into the human condition.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2006
Reviewer Rivka wrote:
This is an unusually vivid and gripping, as well as entertaining read. The characters come alive. Much of it reminds me of Whoopi Goldberg's darker and weirder movies.
The writing is magnificent!
Reviewer amazon.com wrote:
The first of William Gibson's usually futuristic novels to be set in the present, Pattern Recognition is a masterful snapshot of modern consumer culture and hipster esoterica. Set in London, Tokyo, and Moscow, Pattern Recognition takes the reader on a tour of a global village inhabited by power-hungry marketeers, industrial saboteurs, high-end hackers, Russian mob bosses, Internet fan-boys, techno archeologists, washed-out spies, cultural documentarians, and our heroine Cayce Pollard--a soothsaying "cool hunter" with an allergy to brand names.
Pollard is among a cult-like group of Internet obsessives that strives to find meaning and patterns within a mysterious collection of video moments, merely called "the footage," let loose onto the Internet by an unknown source. Her hobby and work collide when a megalomaniac client hires her to track down whoever is behind the footage. Cayce's quest will take her in and out of harm's way in a high-stakes game that ultimately coincides with her desire to reconcile her fathers disappearance during the September 11 attacks in New York.
Although he forgoes his usual future-think tactics, this is very much a William Gibson novel, more so for fans who realize that Gibson's brilliance lies not in constructing new futures but in using astute observations of present-day cultural flotsam to create those futures. With Pattern Recognition, Gibson skips the extrapolation and focuses his acumen on our confusing contemporary world, using the precocious Pollard to personify and humanize the uncertain anxiety, optimistic hope, and downright fear many feel when looking to the future. The novel is filled with Gibson's lyric descriptions and astute observations of modern life, making it worth the read for both cool hunters and their prey.
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