The New York Times bestselling author of Neuromancer and Agency presents a fast-paced sci-fi thriller that takes a terrifying look into the future.
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Flynne Fisher lives down a country road, in a rural America where jobs are scarce, unless you count illegal drug manufacture, which she’s trying to avoid. Her brother Burton lives on money from the Veterans Administration, for neurological damage suffered in the Marines’ elite Haptic Recon unit. Flynne earns what she can by assembling product at the local 3D printshop. She made more as a combat scout in an online game, playing for a rich man, but she’s had to let the shooter games go.
Wilf Netherton lives in London, seventy-some years later, on the far side of decades of slow-motion apocalypse. Things are pretty good now, for the haves, and there aren’t many have-nots left. Wilf, a high-powered publicist and celebrity-minder, fancies himself a romantic misfit, in a society where reaching into the past is just another hobby.
Burton’s been moonlighting online, secretly working security in some game prototype, a virtual world that looks vaguely like London, but a lot weirder. He’s got Flynne taking over shifts, promised her the game’s not a shooter. Still, the crime she witnesses there is plenty bad.
Flynne and Wilf are about to meet one another. Her world will be altered utterly, irrevocably, and Wilf’s, for all its decadence and power, will learn that some of these third-world types from the past can be badass.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson creates a complex science fiction world in The Peripheral. Set in a near-future America, the novel follows Flynne, a struggling blue-collar worker who’s filling in for her brother at his cybersecurity job in a virtual-world game. When Flynne witnesses a murder in what appears to be a desolate, half-abandoned version of London, she must parse out: Is this part of the game or something much more sinister? (No spoilers here, but let’s just say there may be more than one time line involved.) Gibson is a storyteller first and foremost—like his classic debut, Neuromancer, The Peripheral is as much a hardboiled murder mystery as it is sci-fi. We enjoyed unraveling all the intrigue and secrets. This is the kind of read that leaves you feeling supersmart.
Seminal cyberpunk author Gibson, who has spent the last several years writing the more-or-less present-day Zero History series of novels, returns to the future with this slow-burning thriller, ambitiously structured on either side of an economic and ecological collapse known afterward as "the jackpot." In the hardscrabble "pre-jackpot America" of our near future, gamer Flynne Fisher is covering a beta-testing shift for her ex-Marine brother when she witnesses what she thinks is a gruesome murder "some kind of nanotech chainsaw fantasy." In a depopulated London decades post-jackpot, Wilf Netherton, a disgraced publicist, is caught unawares when his latest client s sister disappears. The resulting investigation kicks Gibson's discursive narrative into high gear as Flynne, allowed across time lines by use of a "peripheral" ("an anthropomorphic drone... a telepresence avatar"), proves to be exactly the savvy, principled ally that enigmatic Det. Insp. Ainsley Lowbeer has been looking for. If the mechanics of time-travel are sometimes murky, the stakes are crystal clear when Flynne reaches out from Wilf's past to alter her own future. All of Gibson's characters are intensely real, and Flynne is a clever, compelling, stereotype-defying, unhesitating protagonist who makes this novel a standout.
Great book give it a few hundred pages
It goes to some fun places. Starting out it is disorienting. Once he has built the world and context the message is clear. Give it a few hundred pages until all the players and the two timelines are explained.
Still the best cyber punk
Although he must be much older, Mr Gibson still has a super fresh tone and his dialogue, although pinky to grasp, sparkles with acronyms and 'made on the spot' mashups that are techie but hackable so you can deduce what these future people are running on about.
Very good stuff. High order writing.
Well written and comes together nicely!
Like many of his books, the first few chapters are a bit of a tough read. It takes me that long to adjust to his brilliant writing style. Then I'm hooked! Well written with a good story line and a nice implementation of not so distant future technology to start. Highly recommend.