by William Gibson
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Possible contender for book of the year... Pattern Recognition by William 'king of cyberpunk' Gibson was an absolute joy to read. Cool, stylish and severely paranoid - having worked in Marketing and PR my whole career the concept of someone who could 'divine' marketing trends and had a logo aversion to boot was one that sucked me in big time!!
So the plot is something like this: Cayce Pollard is an expensive, freakily intuitive market-research consultant. In London on a job, she is offered a secret assignment: to investigate some intriguing snippets of video that have been appearing on the Internet. An entire subculture of people is obsessed with these bits of footage, and anybody who can create that kind of brand loyalty would be a gold mine for Cayce's client. But when her borrowed apartment is burgled and her computer hacked, she realizes there's more to this project than she had expected...
"PATTERN RECOGNITION is William Gibson's best book since he rewrote all the rules in NEUROMANCER.
Gibson casts a master extrapolator's eye on our present, and shows it to us as if for the first time."
--Neil Gaiman,author of AMERICIAN GODS
--Neil Gaiman,author of AMERICIAN GODS
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (tasty future vision - too close for comfort)
Here's an excerpt:
In the kitchen she runs tap water through a German filter, into an Italian electric kettle. Fiddles with switches, one on the kettle, one on the plug, one on the socket. Blankly surveys the canary expanse of laminated cabinetry while it boils. Bag of some imported Californian tea substitute in a large white mug. Pouring boiling water. In the flat's main room, she finds that Damien's faithful Cube is on, but sleeping, the night-light glow of its static switches pulsing gently. Damien's ambivalence toward design showing here: He won't allow decorators through the door unless they basically agree to not do that which they do, yet he holds on to this Mac for the way you can turn it upside down and remove its innards with a magic little aluminum handle. Like the sex of one of the robot girls in his video, now that she thinks of it. She seats herself in his high-backed workstation chair and clicks the transparent mouse. Stutter of infrared on the pale wood of the long trestle table. The browser comes up. She types Fetish:Footage:Forum, which Damien, determined to avoid contamination, will never bookmark. The front page opens, familiar as a friend's living room. A frame-grab from #48 serves as backdrop, dim and almost monochrome, no characters in view. This is one of the sequences that generate comparisons with Tarkovsky. She only knows Tarkovsky from stills, really, though she did once fall asleep during a screening of The Stalker, going under on an endless pan, the camera aimed straight down, in close-up, at a puddle on a ruined mosaic floor. But she is not one of those who think that much will be gained by analysis of the maker's imagined influences. The cult of the footage is rife with subcults, claiming every possible influence. Truffaut, Peckinpah . . . The Peckinpah people, among the least likely, are still waiting for the guns to be drawn. She enters the forum itself now, automatically scanning titles of the posts and names of posters in the newer threads, looking for friends, enemies, news. One thing is clear, though; no new footage has surfaced. Nothing since that beach pan, and she does not subscribe to the theory that it is Cannes in winter. French footageheads have been unable to match it, in spite of countless hours recording pans across approximately similar scenery. She also sees that her friend Parkaboy is back in Chicago, home from an Amtrak vacation, California, but when she opens his post she sees that he's only saying hello, literally. She clicks Respond, declares herself CayceP.
"This is how I imagine Cayce Pollard to look... damn, maybe they should make a film?"