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The Peripheral.

sf

FICTION

***1/2

The Peripheral

By William Gibson

Science fiction author William Gibson, who famously coined the term "cyberspace" in a 1982 short story, won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award for his debut novel, Neuromancer (1984). His bleak but prescient near future fiction--including 10 novels and 21 stories--has garnered widespread critical and popular acclaim.

THE STORY: Flynne Fisher, a mid-21st-century, semipro gamer taking care of her disabled mother in a small Appalachian town, is testing a new online game seemingly set in a futuristic London when she witnesses a hauntingly lifelike murder. She soon discovers that the game environment is, in fact, 22nd-century London and that one of its denizens, alcoholic, out-of-work publicist Wilf Netherton, is desperate for Flynne's help in tracking down the killer. But their separate worlds begin to converge in bizarre and devastating ways, and Flynne and Wilf find themselves caught in the middle of an increasingly ferocious conflict that threatens to destroy the present--and the future.

Putnam Adult. 496 pages. $28.95. ISBN: 9780399158445

io9.com ****

"It feels like Gibson has layered a hardboiled thriller with breakneck pacing over top of a muted, personal tale of sorrow.... Sometimes, The Peripheral reads like ethical philosophy, and sometimes like a caper." ANNALEE NEWITZ

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ****

"Gibson doesn't obsess with explanations of how the tech works, or how the universe operates. Instead, he focuses on his characters' interactions with the worlds around them, teasing out answers in real narrative time and allowing the characters, and readers, to make their own adjustments as needed in realities that feel organic and adaptable" CHRIS FORAN

Seattle Times ****

"Now, with a return to sensory-detail-drenched depictions of possible futures, Gibson's latest book, The Peripheral... again envelops readers in the particular flavor of strangeness that first hooked so many on his work.... It's geeklevel educational material. It's also an enormously pleasurable read." NISI SHAWL

Washington Post ****

"Here, Gibson vaults us forward again, not into a single future but into two of them, one near and recognizable, the other more distant, separated from the first by years of cataclysm. It's a bigger book than his previous three--measured by page count and the scope of its story." ROBIN SLOAN

NY Times Book Review ***1/2

"Flynne isn't an engaging enough protagonist to keep readers' attention, but the world she discovers and the events swirling around her are more than enough to make up for this. Gibson fans will be absolutely thrilled. Other readers might wish to visit some of his earlier works instead of onboarding with this one." N.K. JEMISIN

Wall Street Journal ***1/2

"Sometimes Mr. Gibson is clearly having fun.... Is it fun for the reader, too? One keeps trying to catch the falling knife, never quite successfully, but is always challenged to try again." TOM SHIPPEY

Chicago Tribune ***

"The Peripheral is overweighted toward prognostication, toward its incredibly intricate vision of the next centuries.... Fortunately, though, Gibson is like Paul Thomas Anderson or Rosemarie Trockel, artists whose failures are more interesting than other people's successes." CHARLES FINCH

CRITICAL SUMMARY

Gibson returns to his hard science fiction roots in this novel, his first in four years, and the critics were generally thrilled. His powerful ideas, cool prose, nuanced characters, richly imagined settings, and "astonishingly beautiful descriptions" (Seattle Times) are on full display here. "Gibson drops you into Flynne and Netherton's worlds, complete with their own slang and cultural touchstones, without any preparation at all," noted io9.com. "As a result, part of the pleasure of reading is figuring out where the hell you are." Longtime admirers would likely agree, but newcomers to his fiction may be frustrated by his style. The Peripheral, however, delivers "all the conceptual razzle-dazzle that Gibson fans have come to expect" (New York Times Book Review), and that is cause enough for celebration.

RATINGS

***** CLASSIC

A timeless book to be read by all

**** excellent

One of the best of its genre

*** GOOD

Enjoyable, particularly for fans of the genre

** FAIR

Some problems, approach with caution

* POOR

Not worth your time
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Publication:Bookmarks
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Words:678
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