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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


the underlying sum

i spend the first few minutes of a new william gibson book trying to figure out how he will connect these mysterious, disparate new characters together, like trying to see the picture in a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with four of the pieces. it doesn't ever happen, but it's interesting to try, and your mind kind of continues the work in the background as you delve deeper into the story.

i stole my dad's copy of neuromancer in high school and i remember how it perfectly hit every note in my imagination... he vividly constructed the worlds i'd vaguely grown in my head and placed a smart, fast-paced story in them. it's crazy to think that somewhere in the past few years, it seems that real life has caught up with the worlds he created in the 80's, the futuristic path blended into the present. and so now he doesn't need to bother with inventing cyberspace or bioengineered humans or malicious AI or virtual celebrities, because earth as it is, now, is just as compelling a stage.

so reading his recent material - the new spook country no exception - presents a story that is familiar and completely alien at the same time. and the sky is always grey, no matter where you are. which is the least of the reasons why i devour every word he writes.

this one, like pattern recognition (his previous novel) is dialed back on the action, but with a sophistication and a more real-world ambience that, likely, comes with decades of writing. he can still craft a sentence that will make you laugh, pity, and ponder; he can still take familiar technology - now up-to-speed with his imagination - and wield it in shockingly plausible and still stunning ways.

the plot surrounds a magazine writer that was once the singer in a sisters of mercy-ish band, sent to write about locative art, drawn into the hunt for a hacker, along with a CIA-type spy and his junkie hostage/assistant, and a family of cuban counterintelligence agents. the tale is less tense than those of his past... and the conclusion is, surprisingly, wry and humorous. i was grinning when i finally realized what was going on - and this time i didn't even need to reread it three times.


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