Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2015
As usual, Gibson drops you into the middle of his made-up-but-all-too-real world and expects you to figure things out. Though his style jars me every time I pick up one of his books, I am invariably drawn in by his writing.

"Peripheral" is a near-future story. The middle class has crumbled into chronic, under-employed poverty. The characters take advanced (but believable) tech for granted, and they bend that tech in creative ways to help them scrape together enough money to get by. Without belaboring it, he lets us know that not only are "real" jobs scarce but that the economy has taken a hyper-inflationary hit. Without ever going into detail, he lets us know that vertically-integrated, big-box enterprises completely dominate commerce. And most all levels of government are "owned" by moneyed interests. None of this is belabored. It's just there.

Particularly interesting in this novel is Gibson's treatment of family. Two of the core characters are a brother and a sister. A cousin and an ill mother also figure prominently. They care about and do their best to stand by each other. There's a lot of good-natured teasing and well-meant ragging. Related to this is his use of friendship throughout the story. There are a lot of people in this book who care about each other, who stand by each other without considering selfish behavior. That's not to say that the characters are all "nice people." Many of them aren't; and several of them are seriously damaged both physically and psychologically. Many, if not most, are ethically compromised to varying degrees.

Oh, and action. I mustn't forget that. The book included quite a bit of action as well as an interesting take on something very like time travel.

As with Gibson's other novels, I soon had the slang internalized such that I scarcely noticed it. The angular writing style seemed to smooth out and morph into something intuitive and fast. I enjoyed this one a great deal -- but I guess you already knew that, didn't you?
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