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review 2016-11-04 10:40
"Neuromancer" William Gibson
Neuromancer (Ciąg, #1) - William Gibson

Mieliście kiedyś tak, że po lekturze nie wiecie co o niej powiedzieć? No bo w sumie to przeczytałem, i było fajnie ale jak przychodzi czas, aby przedstawić swoje zdanie, to nagle pustka w głowie. Mam tak niezwykle rzadko, ale właśnie to mi się przytrafiło.

 

"Neuromancer" to książka z gatunku sci-fi w której wiele się dzieje. Wiele, bo mamy gościa uzależnionego zarówno od cyberprzestrzeni jak i narkotyków, który dostaje drugą szansę. Po całościowym detoksie dostaje możliwość znów podłączyć się do sieci ale w zamian musi wykonać niezwykle trudny włam dla swojego nowego mocodawcy, Armitaga. Z czasem okazuje się jednak, że wspomniany Armitage jest tylko marionetką w rękach innych potężniejszych graczy, jakimi są Sztuczne Inteligencje. 

 

Mam problem z tą powieścią. Po pierwsze ma juz ona swoje lata, a co za tym idzie nie jestem czytelnikiem, do którego pierwotnie kierował swoje słowa autor. Po drugie z licznych powodów lektura moja była często i namiętnie przerywana innymi obowiązkami. Z tego powodu czytałem z dużymi przerwami i nie mogłem dobrze się wczuć w klimat opowieści. Jest to główna przyczyna, dlaczego nie złapałem bakcyla. A złapać powinienem, ponieważ znaleźć tu można wszystkie znamiona dobrego sci-fi a moze bardziej cyberpunku. Ludzkość masowo podłączająca się do cyberprzestrzeni, wielkie korporacje rządzące światem, wszczepy, ulepszenia i inne augumentacje na porządku dziennym. Sztuczne Inteligencje chcące przejąć władzę nad światem no i grupka bohaterów chcąca ich powstrzymać przy okazji ujawniając ogólnoświatowy spisek. Brzmi nieźle? To dobrze bo i jest nieźle. Ale trzeba się wczuć,czego ja nie osiagnąłem. Z mojej strony książka trafia na półkę do powtórnego przeczytania, tym razem jak będę miał więcej czasu.

 

Wam polecam "Neuromancera" jeżeli chcecie sięgnąć po klasykę cyberpunku. Po powieść w której po raz pierwszy użyto definicji cyberprzestrzeni albo matrixa. Myślę, że to dobry punkt wyjścia dla wszystkich którzy chcieli by rozpocząć przygodę z tym gatunkiem literackim

 

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text 2016-10-31 21:03
Reading progress update: I've read 21 out of 208 pages.
Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook - William Gibson,Connie Willis,Fran Wilde,Cat Rambo,Elizabeth Bear,Octavia E. Butler,Charlaine Harris,Carrie Vaughn,John Scalzi

I'm an omnivore.  I love meat.   This is too much detail about how to cook pigs, though.   Blaaargh. 

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review 2016-05-29 23:30
"The Peripheral" by William Gibson
The Peripheral - William Gibson

 

In most science fiction, the future is a glamour (even when it's a gritty cyber-punk glamour) filled with almost-magical technologies that promise to make the world a different, usually better, place.

 

William Gibson is a master at casting these glamours, tempting us with not-quite-fantastic extensions of current cutting-edge technologies and dazzling us with intricate social forms that support technology-enabled life-styles that seem to be without constraint. 

 

I am fascinated by his work because, although the glamours are vivid and novel, he invites his readers to see beyond them and understand that the fundamentals of what people do and why they do them remain constant. Gibson's technologies and ecologies are plausible enough to be tempting speculations but his people, especially his women, are real enough to make you care what happens to them.

 

"The Peripheral", published in 2014, was Gibson's first science fiction novel this century. In it he offers us not one but two future times, connected by a mysterious technology that allows people in the two time streams to connect via a telepresence called Peripherals.

 

The first future is set in a poor town in West Virginia, in the not too distant future, where people are doing what they can to turn a buck, knowing that they're being screwed but powerless to change it. In this world, Flynne, one of the strongest and coolest female characters I've seen in a long time, covers for her brother on a job that's supposed to be testing a game but ends up witnessing a very real-seaming and vicious crime in somewhere far away.

 

The somewhere far away is a future London, seventy years ahead of Flynne's time. The people there are either rich and ruthless or rich and bored. In both cases they are rich and extremely dangerous. Flynne becomes a bridge between the two worlds and ends up in danger in both.

 

I won't go into the plot here. If you'd like a summary, here's a better one than I can provide. I want to talk about the impact the book has on me.

 

I found myself pondering the title. What, in this novel, is The Peripheral? Of course it refers to the tele-presence technology that allows people to be present when their bodies are somewhere else. I think it also refers to how the people in London, see the people in West Virginia, as peripheral to their own existence, on the boundary of the real. Extending that, it made me think that all futures and perhaps pasts, are peripheral. They pull the eye away from the now, which is where reality is happening. 

 

Then I asked myself what Flynne sees as being peripheral and the answer is almost everything that doesn't directly affect the welfare of her and her people. She understand how screwed they all are and how little power they have and she doesn't expect that to change. When wealth appears to arrive, she treats it with suspicion. When she meets the powerful, she is not seduced. She recognises them as predators and tries not to become prey.

 

In my day-to-day life, I'm paid to imaging the impact of technology on commerce: digitalisation, the Internet of Things, Social Media and so on, so I enjoyed watching William Gibson imagining the world where 3D printing is so commoditised that even a strip mall in Nowhere West Virgina has a local fabrication to order outlet, and the idea of weaponing haptic technology to direct soldiers in combat )making them another form of peripheral and so on. Yet what I enjoyed most was that none of this technology made anything better. The poor are still poor and the powerful will always screw them over.

 

What makes "The Peripheral"  grown-up science fiction isn't the pretty technology but the depth of the society using the technology. The folks in West Virginia have parents and siblings and social affiliations that mean things to them. They are people first and protagonists in an SF novel second.

 

I think the ending of "The Peripheral" may cause some people problems. It seems to me that Gibson's books have a tendency to stop rather than end. I think this reflects real life, where all endings are artificial to some extent but I understand that some readers may feel short-changed.

 

In this case, I rather like the inconclusiveness  of the ending. Did they all live happily ever after? Does anybody? Ever?

 

I think Flynne ended the book financially better off but knowing that her world was hurtling towards hurt that she can't avoid. This was no surprise to her. You take the money when it comes your way and you hope for the best but you know the worst is much more likely. No amount of technology is going to change that.

 

If you're interested in William Gibson's views on "The Peripheral", take a look a this interview with Flavorwire and this one with The Guardian.

 

If you'd like to hear an extract from "The Peripheral" click on the SoundCloud link below.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193077522" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

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review 2016-05-15 15:14
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Hamlet (Cambridge School Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,Rex Gibson,Richard Andrews

The end scene is a WTF moment. I started reading Hamlet around Shakespeare's birthday in April. I was super into it at first then I just completely lost interest in the middle. It is a very long play. Having to force myself to finish, I am very thankful I did. Every time I read Shakespeare I am amazed at how many quotes from his plays have permeated into sayings in modern English. Hamlet is no different.

 

Hamlet is exactly how I envision princes to be, whiny and melodramatic with a little bit of sociopath mixed in. That being said, he is also everything I wanted him to be. I do not blame him for his actions. I would have done the same. Obviously that is what makes him such a great character. Not a fan of Ophelia. She is too much of an archetype. I did, however, find myself liking Queen Gertrude more and more as the play progressed.

 

Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers of all time. But the English is very old. I was able to grasp the concepts of what was happening but I also had to use a version of cliff notes and google to actually understand all the particulars of the play. It made me almost missed my High School teacher's and University professor's explanations. Like most plays, it is better to watch than read.

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review 2016-04-21 06:01
The Peripheral: Or, Gibson's meditation on potential futures and string theory
The Peripheral - William Gibson

It's difficult for me to know how to go about reviewing a book like this. I've read Gibson before, and this has sort of cemented my feelings on his writing. Gibson, at least in my opinion, is an amazing idea guy. I have to admire his ability to visualize possible futures, the way he can think tech and social systems forward, and how he is able to deftly theorize about paradigm shifts, patterns, and structures. He's an extremely clever man. What he isn't, again - at least in my opinion, is a good storyteller.

 

To say this book dumps you in the deep end right from the start isn't necessarily a problem, but it's compounded by Gibson's writing style - the fact that he jumps back and forth between timelines, and POV characters, without indicators (or often even pronouns) means the book gets off to a choppy start. When you read dozens and dozens of pages and all you can say for certain is, "These are all good words, arranged together in some sort of fashion..." that's asking a lot of your readers. Some people will be a fan of this. I unfortunately was not.

 

Once the story started to take shape and a rhythm emerged, such as it is, the book still had problems for me. His characters can usually be summed up as people who do certain things or have certain skill sets, while their personalities and motivations languish on the sideline (if they are addressed at all). The plot in this book in particular is hung together so loosely that upon deeper scrutiny it fell apart entirely. Which is a problem as Gibson's work invites scrutiny. Having so many interesting ideas hanging on a conceit of having someone visually ID a murderer, in a world where people can change their appearances radically and routinely borrow bodies, is thinner than thin.

 

But the ideas, right? Such brilliant and interesting ideas. Such visions of the future, speculation about global trends, and leaps in technology. This is why Gibson made a name for himself, and why he remains relevant. I will likely never be a fan of his work, but I do respect it. Mostly I just wish his ability to think forward was accompanied by a stronger sense of storytelling and not just world building.

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