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Idoru Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1997

162 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

The author of the ground-breaking science-fiction novels Neuromancer and Virtual Light returns with a fast-paced, high-density, cyber-punk thriller. As prophetic as it is exciting, Idoru takes us to 21st century Tokyo where both the promises of technology and the disasters of cyber-industrialism stand in stark contrast, where the haves and the have-nots find themselves walled apart, and where information and fame are the most valuable and dangerous currencies.

When Rez, the lead singer for the rock band Lo/Rez is rumored to be engaged to an "idoru" or "idol singer"--an artificial celebrity creation of information software agents--14-year-old Chia Pet McKenzie is sent by the band's fan club to Tokyo to uncover the facts. At the same time, Colin Laney, a data specialist for Slitscan television, uncovers and publicizes a network scandal. He flees to Tokyo to escape the network's wrath. As Chia struggles to find the truth, Colin struggles to preserve it, in a futuristic society so media-saturated that only computers hold the hope for imagination, hope and spirituality. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The founding father of cyberpunk again returns to the techno-decadent 21st century mapped in his other major works (Virtual Light, Neuromancer, etc.). As usual, Gibson offers a richly imagined tale that finds semi-innocents wading hip-deep into trouble. Colin Laney has taken a job in Japan to escape the revenge of his former employer, Slitscan, a kind of corporate gossip-mongerer on the Net that he has crossed out of scruples. Meanwhile, Chia Pet McKenzie is active in the fan clubs for Lo/Rez, a Japanese superstar rock duo; while visiting Japan to investigate some new rumors about the group, she is used to smuggle illegal nanoware to the Russian criminal underground. Both Laney and Chia get caught up in the intrigues swirling about the plans of Rez, one half of the band, to marry Rei Toei, an "idoru" (idol) who exists only in virtual reality. Gibson excels here in creating a warped but comprehensible future saturated with logical yet unexpected technologies. His settings are brilliantly realized, from high-tech hotel rooms and airplanes to the infamous Walled City of Kowloon. The pacing is slower than Virtual Light, but Gibson exhibits his greatest strength: intense speculation, expressed in dramatic form, about the near-term evolution and merging of cultural, social and technological trends, and how they affect character. Dark and disturbing, this novel represents no new departure for Gibson, but a further accretion of the insights that have made him the most precise, and perhaps the most prescient, visionary working in SF today. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425158640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425158647
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson was born in the United States in 1948. In 1972 he moved to Vancouver, Canada, after four years spent in Toronto. He is married with two children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Jonah Cohen on May 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As I scanned the other reviews of this book, I found that I couldn't agree less with many of them... but did agree with parts. Don't know what that says about different peoples' perceptions of this book.
I'll start by saying I liked all of Gibson's previous work and I liked Idoru, too. I was a little stunned to read some people who seemed to find it went on too long, as the hardback edition I read is under 300 pages (large print, breaks between chapters.) The plot is admittedly simple: rock star plans to marry a virtual reality character. When do computers become alive? --- recurring theme for Gibson.
Rather than tell it from the POV of these two lovebirds, he alternates chapters between the book's two main characters. One, Chia, is a teen fan. One, Laney, has the the strange talent of... to put it in contemporary terms, he can separate the signal from the noise when websurfing. (That >would< be a useful skill!)
Things I liked? While the plot is straightforward, I preferred it to more overarching books that start out well and have things crumble by the end. There have been plenty of those. Second, I found the charactrers all well defined and appealing, especially Laney, a sort of everyman who ends up in the middle of a lot of weird stuff.
And of course, there's Gibson's writing, powerful and at times even hypnotic. Each chapter reads like a story unto itself, but they do all move towards a clear resolution. Even the title seemed like a subtle commentary on the story. ("Idoru" = "I adore you", perhaps?)
I give it a big thumbs-up.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Jensen on July 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There's no doubt that Gibson can flat-out write. His line-by-line writing is powerful, clear, and compelling. He knows when to start a scene, and when to drop it to move to another. His characters are interesting. And he draws powerful pictures of a dystopian future of corporate control of the world, people more interested in virtual reality than the increasingly-devastated world that surrounds them, and a deep alienation and sorrow. BUT, and this is a huge but, his plots always seem flat to me. This has been true of the other books of his I've read, and it's certainly true of this one. There never seems enough at stake for the main characters, emotionally, philosophically, or physically. His words suck me in, and his plots spit me back out. This one was okay, but nothing to write home about.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a big fan of Gibson's Sprawl stuff, and have shyed away from Virtual Light and Idoru for a while. I finally have read Idoru, and after finishing it, I am amazed.
It would be easy to dimiss it as a book about a hologram and an aging rock star, but what Gibson is really talking about is what exactly it means to live in the information age. And think about it -- do you know what it means? Think about the parts of us that already exist, independent of us, from our physical selves -- your Equifax credit report, tax records ... and what is the next logical creature to take hold? A creature of pure information. Who is Rez? An aging rock star with good spin control. Who is the Idoru? A creature of pure information. Who is Laney? A medium between the physical and the digital. Who is Chia? A collector of information about Lo Rez. What binds them together? Information, and the convergence between the hard and real (the physical) and the symbolic and abstract (information). Gibson is addressing where the information age is taking us, the metamorphasis we are all going through. That is his genius.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When an author writes a first novel as inventive and as startling as Neuromancer, everything that follows cannot possibly compete, no matter how good it is. So it is with Idoru. Gibson's speculative thriller follows two main characters: Colin Laney, a man whose brain has been altered by experimental drugs and who searches the internet for "nodal points" that explain reality at a level most people can't understand; and Chia Pet McKenzie, a Seattle teenager who belongs to a fan club chapter devoted to the rock group Lo/Rez. Laney is hired by Rez's security detail in Japan when the rock star announces that he will marry Rei Toei, a virtual reality pop idol. Rez's people are worried because they believe Rez must be under the influence of someone they haven't yet identified, and they need Laney to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, Chia also races to Japan, to see if the rumors of Rez's marriage to the non-woman are true. Subplots involving a vindictive former boss, nanotechnology, and Russian gangsters increase the stakes as both Laney and Chia find themselves skirting danger in both the real and the virtual worlds. The plot, while thin, is well-paced, and it has the trademark Gibson edginess.

Gibson writes well and convincingly, even with lyricism. He incorporates the specifics of his futuristic world with such confidence that the reader can suspend disbelief for the duration of the novel. The problem is, he has done it better before, and with greater detail, so fans are not likely to forgive him for a simpler world and story. Still, reading any Gibson book is a treat, especially compared with much of what's out there.
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