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All Tomorrow's Parties Hardcover – October 25, 1999

3.6 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Bridge Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Although Colin Laney (from Gibson's earlier novel Idoru) lives in a cardboard box, he has the power to change the world. Thanks to an experimental drug that he received during his youth, Colin can see "nodal points" in the vast streams of data that make up the worldwide computer network. Nodal points are rare but significant events in history that forever change society, even though they might not be recognizable as such when they occur. Colin isn't quite sure what's going to happen when society reaches this latest nodal point, but he knows it's going to be big. And he knows it's going to occur on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, which has been home to a sort of SoHo-esque shantytown since an earthquake rendered it structurally unsound to carry traffic.

Colin sends Barry Rydell (last seen in Gibson's novel Virtual Light) to the bridge to find a mysterious killer who reveals himself only by his lack of presence on the Net. Barry is also entrusted with a strange package that seems to be the home of Rei Toi, the computer-generated "idol singer" who once tried to "marry" a human rock star (she's also from Idoru). Barry and Rei Toi are eventually joined by Barry's old girlfriend Chevette (from Virtual Light) and a young boy named Silencio who has an unnatural fascination with watches. Together this motley assortment of characters holds the key to stopping billionaire Cody Harwood from doing whatever it is that will make sure he still holds the reigns of power after the nodal point takes place.

Although All Tomorrow's Parties includes characters from two of Gibson's earlier novels, it's not a direct sequel to either. It's a stand-alone book that is possibly Gibson's best solo work since Neuromancer. In the past, Gibson has let his brilliant prose overwhelm what were often lackluster (or nonexistent) story lines, but this book has it all: a good story, electric writing, and a group of likable and believable characters who are out to save the world ... kind of. The ending is not quite as supercharged as the rest of the novel and so comes off a bit flat, but overall this is definitely a winner. --Craig E. Engler

From Publishers Weekly

Gibson is in fine form in his seventh novel, a fast-paced, pyrotechnic sequel to Idoru. In the early 21st century, the world has survived any number of millennial events, including major earthquakes in Tokyo and San Francisco, the expansion of the World Wide Web into virtual reality, a variety of killer new recreational drugs and the creation and later disappearance of the first true artificial intelligence, the rock superstar know as the Idoru. However, Colin Laney, with his uncanny ability to sift through media data and discern the importance of upcoming historical "nodes," has determined that even more world-shattering occurrences are in the offing. Letting his personal life fall apart, suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder related to his talent, Laney retreats to a cardboard box in a Tokyo subway station. There he uses his powers and an Internet connection to do everything he can to head off worldwide disaster. Contacting Berry Rydell, former rent-a-cop and would-be star of the TV show Cops in Trouble (and a character in two of Gibson's previous novels), Laney first maneuvers him into investigating a pair of murders committed by a man who is mysteriously invisible to the psychic's predictive powers, and then into recovering the Idoru, who is seeking independence from her owners. Also involved in the complex plot, centered on the bohemian community that has grown up on and around San Francisco's now derelict Golden Gate Bridge, are several other returning characters, such as the incredibly buff former bicycle messenger Chevette, plus a number of new eccentrics of the sort the author portrays so well. Gibson breaks little new thematic ground with this novel, but the cocreator of cyberpunk takes his readers on a wild and exciting ride filled with enough off-the-wall ideas and extended metaphors to fuel half a dozen SF tales. Author tour. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (October 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399145796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399145797
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gibson ,who created the word "cyberspace" and who was describing the "matrix" before Keanu put on black spandex, has kept his position solid as the king of sci-fi. While he'll probably never top his own book "Neuromancer" which is the only book in history to win the Neubla,Phillip K. Dick and Hugo award at once."All Tommorrow's Parties" is chock full of suprises and unites characters from "Virtual Light" and "Idoru" and brings in new characters. The book hits high notes with it's use of cool tech toys and all too human characters the world he creates is a reflection of our own for it is our own his children are our children.Gibson's writing style packs a punch you'll be feeling for the rest of the month because it presents a reality that'd make a Goth kid's website look like disney.com.This book also has more twists and turns than an Egyptian labyrinth and at the end you'll put the book down blink and want to start over again.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a longstanding fan of Gibson's cyberpunk work since his groundbreaking novel, Neuromancer. This book continues his legacy of well-developed characters from the underbelly of the city. Gibson's virtuosity of prose is best shown in his vivid descriptions of the homeless living in Japan in a city of cardboard boxes.
Gibson's continual obsession with Japanese culture continues in this novel, and any anime otaku (extreme fan) will find many tributes to the pop culture of Japan. His finely tuned attention to detail in the scenes set in Japan made for highly entertaining reading.
In All Tommorow's Parties, we find ourselves once again associated with many of the characters in his previous novels, Idoru and Virtual Light. (Fortunately, the reader is not expected to 'know' these characters, so a previous reading of Idoru or Virtual Light will not preclude your enjoyment of this novel.)
However, by mid-novel, all this talk of nodal points fails to satisfy the reader - Gibson assumes too much of our understanding of the world that he has illustrated for us. Hints and allegations are made as to the significance of nodal points (that these points have the potential to bend the course of human history) but then these hints are never truly realized in any major way at the end of the novel. The novel ends suddenly, with no real feeling of resolution of the action that has come before. (I almost felt as if someone may have ripped the 'real' last chapter out of my copy.) We are dropped suddenly into this ending that does not seem nearly as elegantly constructed as the events leading up to it. Gibson's conclusions at the end of the novel are hardly cut-and-dry -- it takes work on the reader's part to try to understand his ending.
In conclusion, it's a worthy read, however, you may find yourself disappointed with the ending.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gibson always draws criticism when his latest book turns out not to be the new Neuromancer. But then, it's not 1984 any more, either. All Tomorrow's Parties is a mature work, with the previous pyrotechnics toned down and handled as much offstage as on. And the most enigmatic character bears a remarkable resemblance to the jacket photo of the author.
As I read, I could hear Gibson's laconic drawl reading the words deliberately. This is definitely not a book to speed-read. Can't wait for the audio books version.
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By A Customer on November 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ignore the adoloscent losers who are stuck on Neuromancer. The fact is our cyber future is not going to be filled with one dimensional badasses who do badass things to badass people with badass computers. Cyberspace is real, and it's in the here and now, and badasses line up it alongside married housewives from Chicago who talk about Beanie Babies online. This is the real future, and Gibson is not a prophet, as so many want him to be. He's someone who finds the patterns in culture at large and uses sci fi to extend or pardoy those patterns, and this new book is the culmination of an older, wiser Gibson. I mean, what better motivation can there be in the future for a character (like Rydell) than wanting to have a steady job? That pressure is tremendous and a great deal more pertinent today for millions of people than whether or not someone can crack a dbase. As well, Gibson is in person a very funny guy, and this is his first truly hilarious book, one that actually made me laugh out loud. And this is the first William Gibson book which cannot be denied, as some scholars to do his other work, actually is about something. His prose has become sharper and more lucid than before, and with this I truly think he is becoming the Cormac McCarthy of science fiction - a down south good ol boy working in an established genre and tearing it up and down. As for complaints about the ending - well you just have to look hard enough. It does make sense, and it gave me chills. I'll give you a hint: Neal Stephenson cheated nanotech by insisting that with it would come a new social order which would displace the ramifactions of a post production culture and keep us human.Read more ›
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