William Gibsons new book looked to be really great from press coverage and the topic of the book was completely in tune with the times it seemed, So I hurried up and read it. It was less fantastic than I had hoped, although I did enjoy myself while reading it. There are plenty of nice touches in the cultural observations and language, but in the end the story is too trivial to be interesting and comes apart at the end, like in other Gibson novels.
And in fact even some of the languages seesm stale. The mentions of Google are so frequent you'd think he was getting paid by the word.
The notion of brand allergy is great fun though, and of course the invention of 'Naomi Klein Clothing' - that particular brand of clothing that is brand-less, completely captures the trap that Naomi Klen and cohorts simply can't get out of: It's not the brands that are making us idea-conscious. It's our idea consciousness that makes brands a possibility. Or, to paraphrase Frank Zappa playing a room full of a previous generation of left-wing anti-establishemt types: "Don't kid yourself - evryone in this room is wearing a uniform".
If you want a second opinion - read the wired review.
Seeing as steganography (the hiding of information invisibly within another information source) is a theme in the book, one can't help but notice the many similarities to neuromancer, Gibsons first book
Our protagonist is called Case (albeit spelled differently this time). The plot takes the form of a global search for information involving strange and shady characters. Behind the scenes mighty conspiracies of wast power juggle for supremacy. Our hero is physically insignificant but is provided by the powers running the action with a physically superiour watchdog. And in buth novels the powers running the show emerge succesful in the end and continues to run the show, even stronger than before.
So much for narrative pattern recognition, as for actual steganography, i.e. formal differences between the novels revealing new meaning, I doubt there is any.Posted by Claus at February 11, 2003 02:41 AM