AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“ONE OF THE MOST VISIONARY, ORIGINAL, AND QUIETLY INFLUENTIAL WRITERS CURRENTLY WORKING”* returns with a sharply imagined follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The Peripheral.
William Gibson has trained his eye on the future for decades, ever since coining the term “cyberspace” and then popularizing it in his classic speculative novel Neuromancer in the early 1980s. Cory Doctorow raved that The Peripheral is “spectacular, a piece of trenchant, far-future speculation that features all the eyeball kicks of Neuromancer.” Now Gibson is back with Agency—a science fiction thriller heavily influenced by our most current events.
Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. “Eunice,” the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don’t yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it’s best they don’t.
Meanwhile, a century ahead in London, in a different time line entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid plutocrats and plunderers, survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot. His boss, the enigmatic Ainsley Lowbeer, can look into alternate pasts and nudge their ultimate directions. Verity and Eunice are her current project. Wilf can see what Verity and Eunice can’t: their own version of the jackpot, just around the corner, and the roles they both may play in it.
*The Boston Globe
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson’s riveting novel is a double helix of mind-bending what-ifs. The renowned science fiction author twists together two time lines: an all-too-likely postapocalyptic world that’s been ravaged by climate change, and a recent past that now seems unfathomable, where Brexit has been defeated and Hillary Clinton is president. These fictional realities begin to converge when shadowy characters based in 2136 London tinker with events unfolding in 2017 San Francisco—specifically, the rapid development of a freakishly capable AI assistant named Eunice. Peppered with Russian mobsters, Silicon Valley billionaires, and meddlesome nanobots, Agency is a sprawling, thrilling, and fast-paced spin through Gibson’s imagination.
Cyberpunk pioneer Gibson disappoints with this inventive but jumbled prequel to The Periphery. In 2017, gifted "app whisperer" Verity Jane is hired to beta test a pair of eye-glasses that double as an artificial intelligence assistant named Eunice. As Eunice's personality and capabilities grow, Verity decides to hide the AI's rapid development from her mysterious new employers. She can't keep the secret for long, however, as agents from a century into the future descend to make sure that Eunice a misplaced technology from their time doesn't start a nuclear war. Though the writing is packed with intriguing concepts and characters, the scrambled timelines and shifting narrative perspective make an already complicated plot even harder to follow. The characters from the future fall flat, especially in comparison to the dynamic, fully-realized personalities of Verity and Eunice. Cyberpunk fans looking to dive into the "what-if's" of an alternate timeline will be as enraptured as ever by Gibson's imagination, but they'll be left with more questions than answers.