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Virtual Light Paperback – July 1, 1994
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 In one hand his writing style is still there but the high technology of Neuromancer has been replaced by a less advanced technological culture.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.
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!
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not new to this writer or this book but I never get tired of the Sprawl. It's been over ten years since I revisited these books, it's time.Published 4 months ago by sistina
I love the characters in Gibson's cyberpunk stories but the plots are a little weak.Published 5 months ago by Charles Francis
I have read the Sprawl Trilogy which was good to excellent and I have read some later William Gibson works which were uneven and at times choppy in style. Read morePublished 5 months ago by SilentG
The storyline was clear enough to keep me involved and I enjoyed the switching between character views while the plot evolved. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bams0n
Awesome book . if you like sci-fi you suck if you don't LOVE Gibson. ;) the best thing about his work is that it always seems realistic enough to be too far-fetched . Read morePublished 8 months ago by Catgrrl809
As with his other books that I read, I really enjoyed this one. Gibson paints such a vivid and picture of what, in this case (I'm thinking of AIDS at this point) could have been. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Thomas Glover