Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spook Country

The best way to summarize Spook Country is this: it was definitely written by William Gibson. It featured all the things I liked about his other books: a setting where digital things blend into real-world things (activities, objects, money, communications on the internet become real in a way that is believable and surprising). References to Japanese culture. A plot that is revealed in small, disconnected pieces, and must be assembled by the reader like a puzzle.

Several reviews appear to denigrate the book as having weak characters and a weak plot. I disagree, but even if you agree, I don't think it matters. The book is best when describing things in Gibson's voice, with objects and situations, not with dialog. His entire authorial fascination seems to be systems, not people.
She was fascinated by how things worked in the world, and why people did them. When she wrote about things, her sense of them changed, and with it, her sense of herself. (p. 227)
Even his sense of humor is best expressed in wry third-person. The characters' jokes are never as funny.
The Frankfurt School, as they'd called themselves, had wasted no time in plunging their intellectual ovipositors repeatedly into the unsuspecting body of old-school American academia. (p. 167)
What vivid images! How clever! Plus, using an academic-ish writing style to mock academia.

This post's theme word is camber, "a slightly convex or arched shape of a horizontal surface." The table is developing quite a camber; do not set your glass down.

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