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William Gibson’s Latest Novel

Spook Country, I read in a recent Wired interview that William Gibson’s latest is more of a spy novel than sci-fi, so I decided to pick it up one day at the Stanford Bookstore and start reading… it had been a few years since my last foray of Gibson’s work – Idoru, I think it was – and I thought it was about time to pick up another. I’ve always been a fan, since Neuromancer first came out, but this book seemed to come from a different genre all together. Until I began reading.

The character who Gibson first introduces the reader to is a woman journalist who is technically astute and a risk-taker. I like her already. She finds herself in unpredictable circumstances, as do many of Gibson’s characters, and although it’s a book set now rather than in the near future cyberpunk timeframe, the world he creates around these characters still has a similarly gritty feel because of the way he crafts the language as well as the story. It fascinates me.

Gibson has an essence in his writing that I always loved. Somehow through the depth of his character creation and his ability to craft stories through a mellifluous cornucopia of language, he develops novels of a deeper quality than most modern authors. I’ve noticed two types of successful authors – type a) churning out 1-2 books a year, following a formula, providing wonderful stories that entertain a broad audience and type b) developing through great detail in research and/or language more complex chronicles. Gibson falls into the b category. Neither, in my opinion, is better than the other; they are different styles that work for different writers. Isaac Asimov was type a. He wasn’t trying to be James Joyce. Nor, I’m guessing, is Gibson, but he seems to fit more into type b. I like both.

Anyway, I digress. I haven’t finished Spook Country yet, but I shall report back when I do. So far, it doesn’t disappoint.