oddmonster (oddmonster) wrote in bookish,

Review: Virtual Light, by William Gibson

# 1: Virtual Light by William Gibson:

Rydell picked up Monica's copy of People and found a picture of Gudrun Weaver and the Reverend Wayne Fallon. Gudrun Weaver looked like an actress in her forties. Fallon looked like a possum with hair-implants and a ten-thousand-dollar tuxedo.

Synopsis: In post-apocalyptic California, two people's lives collide. Rydell, a rent-a-cop who attracts trouble like *ahem* honey attracts flies, and Chevette, just a girl in the wrong place at the wrong time, unaware that she's stepped in it, bigtime, on an international espionage scale.

Chevette Washington escaped from a juvie facility in Oregon and made something of herself when she came down to NorCal, the post-earthquake nation that is emphatically not SoCal. Specifically, she found a job as a bike courier and a home on the rogue mob-taken Golden Gate Bridge. All of which she jeopardized by stealing a pair of glasses to get back at some asshole at a crashed party. Good thing for Chevette, Rydell's on the case. Having been fired as a cop and a rent-a-cop, he's got only his roommate to lose. Cue the Cops In Trouble theme music...

Here's the thing about Gibson, for me: you either love him or you hate him, and it varies by book. I loved Idoru and its sequel, All Tomorrow's Parties. I hated Neuromancer with the heat of a thousand fiery suns, ditto Mona Lisa Overdrive. Now, without having looked it all up on Amazon, there was something very familiar about this book from All Tomorrow's Parties, and it turns out it's the prequel, if only very loosely based.

The thing that binds them together is Gibson's incredible, mind-bendingly real concept of how people take over the Golden Gate Bridge and colonize it in a beautifully organic vision of how things would truly work when things are truly, irrevocably broken. The community Gibson describes is so well thought out, so well realized that it lives and breathes and claws its way out of the book, out of both books, and it's a conceit so incredible that it can sustain its life outside Gibson's work.

Chevette and Rydell are both great characters. Thank God for non-boy-crazy girls in smart fiction and ditto for flawed but savvy boys who are--and this is key--willing to adjust their world views, to learn and adapt in order to survive.

I still can't stand Neuromancer. Yes, the one that got made into Matrix.

Anyway, wholehearted rec for this book, both for scifi and post-apocalyptic fic fans.

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