William Gibson – Virtual Light

I just finished reading William Gibsons 1993 novel Virtual Light. Apparently, it’s the first in a series of three novels, based around a grim vision of a future post-earthquake California in a broken-up world. Apparent character-ages, and some years mentioned in the book, puts it around 2007. This makes it a lot of fun to look at how William Gibson envisioned a possible future.

The narrative follows the viewpoints of three separate characters, somewhat merging them as the book progresses, but still with the different characters’ slightly differing view of the events. In narrative style, I find it quite similar to that of Mona Lisa Overdrive, although it is a lot closer to home in terms of technology than his earlier novels. The use of fax instead of email is retained, though, as is the use of Virtual Reality for computers.

I picked up the book at an impulse in my local book shop, while I was actually shopping for Neal Stephensons The System of the World. I enjoyed it, and I will surely get the next two volumes as well soon.

4 thoughts on “William Gibson – Virtual Light

  1. patternboys

    Hi, enjoyed your blog post re: William Gibson. I am a big fan too and have followed his work very closely for years. I really enjoyed Virtual Light and liked Idoru even more. All Tomorrow’s Parties ties up the trilogy in what I believe is a mind-blowing ending [although many other readers don’t share the same enthusiasm].

    If you are interested, I am posting chapter summaries of Spook Country at http://node.tumblr.com There are definitely tons of spoilers, maps and pictures of key locations in the real Spook Country, and links to related topics. You might also want to check out Memetic Engineer’s Spook Country website [http://www.spookcountry.co.uk/] with a UK angle on the book.

    – patternboy [nodemagazine.com]

  2. mihtjel Post author

    I’ll admit that such websites seem both quite too immersed in the whole thing for my taste, and almost like advertising sites for Spook Country … But I may look at them once I’ve actually read it, which will probably be a little while since I have to finish The System of the World, and the book has to get to Denmark.

    Thanks for the links, though. I do enjoy Gibsons work as well, and I am slowly working my way through it all.

  3. Morten

    It’s a long time ago since I read Virtual Light (and the other two of the series) but I can recommend Patten Recognition, it is nothing like Gibson’s cyberpunk books but absorbing nevertheless. And if you plan on reading Spook Country please read PR first, Gibson is notorious for making trilogies out of everything he writes… 😉

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