I reviewed William Gibson's novel "Agency" for today's LA Times

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/25/predicting-the-present-2.html


I though Peripheral was his best book since the 80s.


Agreed, it was probably my favorite of his. Agency is great (I’m a little over 80% through) but it’s not as ridiculously over-the-top good as The Peripheral.

I really enjoy how with The Peripheral, it takes like 50-100 pages to really start to piece it together. I feel like those kinds of books are great exercise for the mind. :slight_smile:


I’m not liking it.

As an aside, the kindle book showed 10% read when I opened the first page, and now shows 20% read when it is probably 10%. Well okay there is a conf problem in there somewhere.

The book so far has none of Gibson’s trademark pace. It has no tension. So far there is nothing for the reader to work out on their own.

It reads like a different author took some of the characters from The Peripheral and wrote their own sequel, trying but failing to emulate Gibson’s style.

I saw similar things happen with Elleston Trevor, post 1976. But the books kept coming.


Just read Agency and Cory’s review is spot on. Gibson’s prose is incandescent.


Yeah, I’m going to update my “it’s great” to “it’s OK and is keeping me interested, but is not brilliant.” The fact that it’s taking me more than a couple sittings to read says something…

The book uses the name “Eunice” in 99% of the references to “her.” At least my copy does…

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Just finished it, and I will say, I liked the ending. A bit more hopeful, I think, than Gibson’s usual endings. Which I wouldn’t call hopeless, really, but they are more open-ended in terms of how things may work out for the characters. And I don’t mind that, but again, this was a nice shift in tone.

But yeah, the book just seemed like all plot, not a ton of his best style. Almost like, say, a partial upload of Gibson’s personality wrote it… hmmmmmmmmm… :thinking:


I’m not quite as in love with it as Cory, but I still gave it five stars on Amazon because I’m apparently genetically disposed to love everything Gibson writes (except The Difference Engine, for some reason).

For my money, Pattern Recognition is his best book. But it’s all a matter of degree. Even flawed, Gibson is magnificent, and Agency was worth the wait.


Gaaaaah! William Gibson was here in Austin at Bookpeople today and I was fuckin’ alseep intead…

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It was crowded. Plenty of people standing in the aisles. I was in the “C” group for booksigning, and there was a partial “D” group. Each full group was 50 people, so there were at least 150 of us who waited in line after his talk.

Gibson mentioned that the whole event was being recorded, so fear not, eventually there will be, somewhere, the video for this event.

Maybe call BookPeople to find out where it will be posted?


My very amazing best friend scored me a signed copy of Neuromancer at a signing Gibson was at yesterday. :smiley: Teehee!!!


Sounds cool. I have always admired Gibson since I read 2 or 3 of his Neuromancer series books, and later on I read Boroughs as a result. The concept of forked timelines / histories is quite interesting to me, so I will likely check this out. I also really liked your book on alternative economic structures, which lead me to become interested in the basis of capitalism as well as Marxist critiques of capitalism, even though I am a bit too lazy to check that out. But, some day!

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