Friday, November 20, 2009
Spook Country by William Gibson
This book is written in one of my favorite genres; the intersection between sci-fi, urban fantasyand cryptic events. As someone whose love for Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle trilogy leads her to read it multiple times, William's Gibson's Spook Country allows me to add another author to my collection in this genre.
Gibson drops the reader into the middle of a big puzzle, and then reveals clues in the stories of three separate groups. There is a prize out there although it is unclear what it might be, and everyone is trying to locate it for their own purposes. The first group is made of The Old Man, a former government operative and his employees. This group also includes Tito, a Chinese-Cuban young man brought in to perform the heavy work, and some of his relatives.
Another group features Hollis Henry, a former rock star turned investigative journalist. She is working for a secretive character called Bigend, who owns the magazine that has just hired Hollis, and who wants her to locate Bobby Chombo for some reason. Chombo is a genius programmer, heavily into computer-generated art, and apparently, part of the plot to locate whatever it is that's out there.
The final group is made of Brown, a government operative who seems to be a functionary in some nameless government agency. He has kidnapped Milgrim, a high-functioning drug addict. Although a drug addict, Milgrim has utility as a translator. Brown keeps him under control by feeding him drugs.
The book concentrates on bringing these three groups together, and their interactions allow the reader to slowly comprehend what all are searching for. Gibson creates a landscape where information is key; no one's life is private, and technology is an integral part of all plans. It is a futuristic thriller/spy novel, and the spare language Gibson employs is perfect for a plot that is slowly revealed. This book is recommended for sci-fi and fantasy fans.