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Virtual Light Paperback – July 1, 1994

3.9 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Bridge Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The author of Neuromancer takes you to the vividly realized near future of 2005. Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, the uneasy sister-states of what used to be California. Here the millennium has come and gone, leaving in its wake only stunned survivors. In Los Angeles, Berry Rydell is a former armed-response rentacop now working for a bounty hunter. Chevette Washington is a bicycle messenger turned pick-pocket who impulsively snatches a pair of innocent-looking sunglasses. But these are no ordinary shades. What you can see through these high-tech specs can make you rich--or get you killed. Now Berry and Chevette are on the run, zeroing in on the digitalized heart of DatAmerica, where pure information is the greatest high. And a mind can be a terrible thing to crash.

From Publishers Weekly

Gibson's cyberpunk thriller set in a near-future L.A.--a two-week PW bestseller--depicts the hunt for virtual reality glasses containing classified data.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (July 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553566067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553566062
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,530 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
William Gibson is an author that creates characters and situations that capture your imagination. When you put one of his books down your thoughts stay with the story. Gibson is a major player in the Sci-Fi genre. His visions of technology and the world to come have influenced many other visions from the TV shows like Dark Angel to films like the Matrix.
Fans of Gibson's work love and hate Virtual Light. In one hand his writing style is still there but the high technology of Neuromancer has been replaced by a less advanced technological culture. Those readers expecting another high adrenaline rush through the matrix almost gave up on virtual light. One of the appeals of Gibson's work is the vision of technology. The world of Virtual light predates the world of Neuromancer by leaps. The Eye phones and goggles take the place of the nerve-splicing and micro bionics seen in his earlier work. The lesser technology almost seems childish in comparison but it does provide an intermediate step for those of us who hope and wish for a glimpse of the matrix as a reality. "Virtual Light" leans more to the characters and plot than earlier work and gives a rich smooth story some times humorous some times sad. The characters take on more than just three dimensions. You can feel them grow and develop as the story continues. Now, if your new to Gibson start with `Virtual Light' then read the sequels `Idoru' and `All Tomorrow's Parties' to get a feel of Gibson's style and technology. Then brace yourself and take the leap to `Neuromancer', `Count Zero', `Mona Lisa Overdrive' and finish up with the collection of short stories that is `Burning Chrome'. On the other hand if you've already read `Neuromancer' or its sequels then try to put aside the lack of technology and just enjoy the story.
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By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the first book in the trilogy (Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrows parties), and a good place to start if you are new to Gibson.
In my and most peoples opinion, it is only second to Neuromancer, not because of style or content, but because it's not as revolutionary and original.
William Gibson is excellent in describing characters, technology and environment. This book represents a 'new' style for him (as opposed to Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive). He focuses more on the characters and their travel to the new semi-dystopian world of technology.
At the end you'll want to get your hands on a copy of the sequels (Idoru, All Tomorrows Parties). What the heck! Just buy them too right now!
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Format: Paperback
Virtual Light is a good read. Although very different than Neuromancer, William Gibson's cyberpunk classic, it is still very well written. The book is not only suspenseful, fast-paced, and imaginative, but it has just a hint of humor throughout. All of these things make you want to keep turning the pages, just to see what Chevette and Rydell will do next.
Chevette is a bicycle messenger with an attitude. After some tough luck, she finally has her life pretty much on track and doesn't want to screw it up. Rydell went through some rough times too, but finally has a job that looks promising. He gets hired to help with the hunt for Chevette after she steals a pair of glasses, and something goes wrong.
The plot of the book jumps around at first. It's a bit confusing, but after a few chapters you get the hang of it, and kind of figure out what is going on. The use of technology in the book was surprisingly sparse, compared to many other cyberpunk novels. What I especially liked was Gibson's use of humor. It was thrown in, in all the right places, which really made the book more interesting.
Gibson describes all the characters in the book very vividly. It is very easy to sense what they are thinking and feeling. He also creates a vivid setting. Rydell moves from Tennessee to what used to be California, but is now NoCal and SoCal, two different states. All aspects of the setting are believable and conceivable. This is only the second Gibson novel I've read, but I liked it better than Neuromancer. Everything was much easier to believe and understand, and the entire novel was action packed. The suspense of the book wouldn't let me put it down.
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Format: Paperback
Chevette, the heroine in Virtual Light, is one of Gibson's finest creations, a bicycle messenger who lives on the Golden Gate bridge with a lot of other homeless people. She's a spunky, streetwise kid, sexy and vulnerable, who hasn't yet lost her innocence. Gibson is obviously a little bit in love with her, as any male would be who reads the novel.
Rydell, the hero, is a security cop assigned to San Francisco to help recover a pair of what appear to be sunglasses stolen by Chevette from an obnoxious masher who had been entrusted with them. Like all Gibson's heros, Rydell is both tough and sensitive, a kind of street samurai of the future.
Despite the charm of the leading characters, the central gimmick-dark glasses that show the wearer where new developments will be built in San Francisco-seems rather mundane in comparison with the cornucopia of technological wonders he created in earlier novels. Plus, the plot is the old one where villains, trying to learn where the city will build next, will kill anyone or do anything to get inside information because it means a lot of money.
The novel is a bit of a disappointment, though not a total loss. Gibson seems to have trouble with conclusions. The one to this novel involves an air strike by characters difficult to tell who they are, what they are doing, or why they are doing it. Yet, it's no worse than other popular thrillers, and it contains a fine cast of fascinating characters.
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