There is an odd surface tension here some readers may approach Idoru from the wrong bias, through the lens ofNeuromancerand the Sprawl trilogy Those readers will expect the traditional cyberpunk romp of amphetamine fueled Yakuza battles and twisted violent sex in coffin hotels those readers will be disappointed and may not be able to penetrate the skin of this charged, deeply emotional book Idoru is William Gibson sThrough the Looking Glass .
In typical Gibson style, the dueling narratives follow two distinctly melancholy characters there is the starry eyed teenaged angst of Chia Pet McKenzie and the existential, nearly Phildickian dread of Colin Laney The novel opens on Laney, recently terminated under dubious circumstances from his quantitative analyst position for a tv program called Slitscan Laney has a rare gift that enables him to tease patterns out of seemingly random data and he is recruited by a Japanese company to come to Tokyo and perform some research on their most valuable asset a rock star named Rez Meanwhile, Chia is sent to Tokyo by her friends in Rez s Seattle based fan club to discover the truth about The Rumor that Rez intends to marry a software construct, an Idoru called Rei Toei.
Without a close inspection of the text, the novel might appear energetic but thematically trite The plot moves along at a brisk pace trans Pacific flights whisk our protagonists into a Japanese Wonderland, quick cut flashbacks fill in their respective histories, malicious and unseen maneuvering keeps every last character on his or her toes Gibson drops his customary tropes seedy back alley deals gone awry, a detailed but ultimately vague send up of cyberspace , a mischievous and emergent AIBut this book has nothing to do with AI or cyberspace or seedy back alley deals.
At its core, Idoru explores the proposition that intimacy is a function of immersion, of experience, of fully surrendering to the risks of engagement and that knowledge or facts or data by any name and in any quantity cannot bring affinity The narrative contains a relatively early scene wherein Laney is subject to a monologue by Kathy Torrance his boss at Slitscan she goes on at length about celebrity as a natural resource, about how media and tabloids like Slitscan have corralled celebrity into a commodity that can be controlled and brokered Taken out of context, the monologue appears to be a provocative and unambiguous statement about celebrity in and of itself Examining the scene with the novel s thesis in mind, we begin to see what lies at the kernel of Kathy Torrance s soliloquy how celebrity is a focal point for a broad knowledge about a person or other object of affection attention that by definition cannot be fully experienced Celebrity is data presented as intimacy the fine grained details of some person s life presented to you in all their banal urgency, fantasy than reality, ever out of reach, inevitably unable to satisfy your need to share and experience.
Consider Kathy Torrance s rant about celebrity as a mirror to Alison Shires and Laney s own back story As Laney reflects on Alison Shires suicide, we begin to see these themes take shape In her original context, Alison is presented to Laney as all data she is little than some fulcrum of collapsed transactions that swing back onto some celebrity target of Slitscan s But as her imminent suicide becomes obvious to Laney through his nodal apprehension , he becomes concerned about, even attached to her he breaks through his own Fourth Wall and allows himself to become involved, to experience her face to face He is there in her apartment for the shot that kills her We can hear echoes of his investment, how the experience created an instantly intimate moment which he capsulizes asthe whole thing would settle to the sea floor, silting over almost instantly with the world s steady accretion of dataThe experience would be lost, buried under the steady stream of celebrity s telemetry, and he wonders how he can live with that outcome.
The novel is peppered with examples to underscore this proposition about intimacy Consider that every bar, cafe, restaurant, etc featured in the text is somehow themed and each theme is just data, each motif is hollow and empty the impression of something, its image, a copy or facsimile or interpretation but not the thing itself Consider how Chia s story about her Sandbenders computer resonates on this chord, how she descrives the disposable shells of modern electronics as insufficient for people to make a connection with them, and how a tribe in Oregon humanized each computer through their artisanal cases Consider Masahiko s tales of Walled City and how he continually asserts to Chia that it is real and not just a MUD, not just a website Consider Blackwell s final affirmation to Laney, that Kathy Torrance will no longer threaten him, how they will carve out this deep and meaningful and bloody unforgettable episode of mutual face time , how they will have reached very personal terms the data, the facts are discarded, meaningless only the experience matters.
Throughout the narrative, there is a very keen sense that each character is desperately seeking something real , something with which he or she can truly and intimately connect Rez at one point blurts out Nothing like it That physical thing It is on those sentiments that the novel opens and again where it closes We open on Laney in the aftershocks of just such a physical thing and Chia striking out to Tokyo in search of same And we close on Rez and Rei Toei both symbolic of Kathy Torrance s celebrity , different sides of that same coin discovering that their union cannot be completed without it, and daring to forge just such a path.
A Goodreads friend commented that William Gibson s Bridge trilogy was underrated I would agree and add under appreciated and under hyped.
Began in 1993 with Virtual Light, this continues with Idoru published in 1996 Bookended by his wildly popular Sprawl series and his later uber cool Blue Ant trilogy, Bridge seems to be the Grunge 90s of his set, not as hip flashy as the 80s nor as Ka Ching as his Y2K writing But as Grunge exhibited some refreshing and earthy revitalization of popular hard rock, so too does his Bridge writing add some edgy verve to the SF landscape.
As in his other writings, Idoru is a very loose sequel to the first, keeping contact with some characters, but the plot is new and stands alone in his post change world building.
You can t really call his Sprawl books dystopian or post apocalyptic, they are simply a near future glimpse into a world that has taken a hard turn and its residents are living the dream and taking care of business In Idoru, as in Virtual Light, Gibson introduces us to a near future world that is still rebuilding after some earthquakes have substantially repurposed much of the Pacific rim.
Revisiting his themes of Artificial Intelligence grabbing the center stage and becoming or less human, Gibson describes a story where a globally successful rock band and some fans get mixed up in some Russian nanotech skullduggery There s also some hypertensive examination of what is cool and why a recurring element in Gibson s writing As in all of his writing, though the real hero here is Gibson and his extraordinary imagination and vision.
10 25 2012Last night my daughter introduced me to one of her hot new things on YouTube Hatsune Miku, a purely synthetic pop star In return, I introduced her to this book in which Gibson predicts such a thing, twenty years ago Then we checked out her other hot new thing, the PBS Idea Channel and among other things, we watched Mike Rugnetta talk about the connections between Gibson, Hatsune Miku, Lana del Rey, pop culture, technology and art And then I told her about a show that used to be on, Connections by James Burke, which did much the same, albeit with less about art and about technological breakthroughs My evening was so meta I can t stand it.
Anyway, now that the book has become reality, I think it s time for a re read Well, as soon as Natasha is finished with it.
I really thought I will enjoy this but it seems too unrealistic for me barely able to finish this.
Taman kada ovek pomisli da se istro io i da period stagnacije u knjizi najavljuje dosadu, ma inerija se pokre e i ne dozvoljava da ispustite knjigu iz ruku.
Gibson ko Gibson odli an, inspirativan, kreativan, imaginativan.
As with Virtual Light, the selling point of this book is the setting, not so much the story Gibson s futuristic Tokyo is not too different from present day Tokyo, but it s still fun to walk the streets of nanotechnology enhanced Shinjuku and feel the uncanny thrill of a place that is at once familiar and wholly strange.
And, as with Virtual Light, I found myself far engrossed in the coming of age side story than the hardboiled noire backbone on which the novel rests Chia, the plucky teen who ventures to Tokyo to rescue her celebrity crush from the clutches of the virtual Idoru, is far compelling than Laney, who is pretty interchangeable with any other of Gibson s leading men For sheer ambience, I preferred the Bridge from Virtual Light, but Chia s quest through real and virtual worlds was a welcome and delightful addition to the series and made Idoru, on balance, an equally fun read.
Still well written, really good book and incredibly impressive almost 20 years now You know, it seems like I would really like William Gibson, from what I ve heard of him, but there s something about his writing that leaves too much out This book is the first of his I ve been able to finish I still don t feel like I understood everything he was trying to say something about a melding of science and nature, centered around the music star Rez and the Idoru Rei It was interesting, but I kept feeling like it was something I was reading out of the corner of my eye, and every time I looked directly at it, it slipped away Very interesting ideas, though.
Gibson is an ideas man big on what , not on why or how It s been said enough times that his predictions are spookily accurate This book written in 1996 features many foreshadowings of the current time A time where we hide behind an avatar, led around by geo aware goggle boxes Social networks, always on broadband, CGI pop stars nearly.
Gibson s writing has distance The lethargic characters seem behind a transparent wall you can see but not touch Laney one of two protagonists floats from one plot point to the next A researcher, he only wants to do his job, no funny business Then he walks blindly into danger Only crisis provokes life from Laney, otherwise we feel little empathy Laney could be borrowed from a psychological thriller caught up in than he can handle blinking and naive, yet obediently following the script.
The virtual world settings are decorated with robust detail and toyish icons, like a child s dream In contrast, the real world is mostly austere, yet odd objects scream crude colour and novelty.
The dialogue punchy and spare tells most of the story The prose is speedy and light on narrative.
Japanese words are well explained when first introduced, but can be forgotten Intriguing cultural references lead us to ask is that really true Whether or not, the factoids are convincing enough.
There is no great mystery or conflict urging us forward, and the plot is organic nothing quite expected or logical But we are curious how the pieces will come together nested virtual worlds, a hand held nano assembler, one naive 14 year old girl, one hired savant out of his depth, and a criminal underworld on their tail.
There is a satisfying ending with emotive appeal But we are left feeling we intruded into the lives of strangers read this book for the techno riffing or a taste of worlds to come, not for drama or characters.