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Pattern Recognition [Paperback]

William Gibson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Pattern Recognition Pattern Recognition 3.9 out of 5 stars (42)
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Book Description

24 Jun 2004

One of the most influential and imaginative writers of the past twenty years turns his attention to London - with dazzling results.

Cayce Pollard owes her living to her pathological sensitivity to logos. In London to consult for the world's coolest ad agency, she finds herself catapulted, via her addiction to a mysterious body of fragmentary film footage, uploaded to the Web by a shadowy auteur, into a global quest for this unknown 'garage Kubrick'. Cayce becomes involved with an eccentric hacker, a vengeful ad executive, a defrocked mathematician, a Tokyo Otaku-coven known as Eye of the Dragon and, eventually, the elusive 'Kubrick' himself.

William Gibson's new novel is about the eternal mystery of London, the coolest sneakers in the world, and life in (the former) USSR.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (24 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140266143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140266146
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, with Bruce Sterling, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties and Pattern Recognition. William Gibson lives in Vancouver, Canada. His latest novel, published by Penguin, is Spook Country (2007).

Product Description

Amazon Review

In Pattern Recognition, William Gibson changes focus from the not-too-distant future of his slick, influential SF novels to a netwise vision of strangeness just hours or minutes from the present.

Talented, vulnerable heroine Cayce Pollard is an adept "coolhunter" with an intuitive gift for telling whether any image or logo will be a commercial flop. The downside is her tortured sensitivity--like an allergic reaction--to logo overexposure. She can just about bear to fly BA, but not cross-promoted Virgin...

When she's consulted by top ad agency Blue Ant and gives the thumbs-down to their designer's latest concept, the edgy urban paranoia begins. A porn-site URL that she never accessed appears in her browser history, and the phone's redial button goes somewhere it shouldn't. The same faces appear around her as she flits between continents. Small world. Worryingly small.

As new vistas open in viral marketing and stealth publicity, the big admen are all too interested in Cayce's private hobby: mystery fragments of haunting movie footage, released anonymously on the Web. This unknown "garage Kubrick" auteur has spawned a fascinated, obsessive online cult. Is this a brilliant marketing operation for a still-unknown product, or something with different, dark and painful roots?

Cayce's personal quest, or flight, converges on the source of the Footage, helped and threatened by memorably offbeat characters. In Britain, these include a pettily sadistic woman who seems to know Cayce's most carefully concealed phobias, and an embittered collector of obsolete mechanical calculators made in Liechtenstein. Tokyo: a lovesick Japanese geek whose "otaku" friends find a hidden digital signature in the Footage. Moscow: a strange girl whose uncle is a fabulously wealthy--and dangerously protected--Russian mafioso...

Here's Cayce in a Japanese hotel, showing that wittily lyrical Gibson view of the world and his deft use of brand names:

She uses the remote as demonstrated, drapes drawing quietly aside to reveal a remarkably virtual-looking skyline, a floating jumble of electric Lego, studded with odd shapes you wouldn't see elsewhere, as if you'd need special Tokyo add-ons to build this at home.

This world of glittering surfaces and pulsating data connections is mined with surprises, betrayals, flurries of violence and unexpected allies. This is a very 21st century novel: compulsive reading, and vintage Gibson. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"'More insight, wit and sheer style than any of his contemporaries' Charles Shaar Murray, Independent"

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Five hours' New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Gibson's best (in recent years) 1 April 2006
This book has received some mediocre reviews on Amazon, and in my opinion those reviews are undeserved but perhaps understandable. This is certainly one of Gibson's best books, certainly of his recent books. It's not a science-fiction book at all, really, as it's set in the present day (2002) and features nothing sciency beyond the commonplace apart from steganography and advanced cryptography.
Is it "cyber-punk"? I'd say so, and in fact this is where I think this book's most amazing skill lies. It's a tale of modern day Britain, Russia and Japan, painting those countries with the eye of a modern American in such a subtle and beautiful way. The protaganist thinks of the UK as the "mirror world", since things are so similar to the US, but also so different, and this feels like the starting point for a clever technique that never becomes too clever for its own good: the mirror-world is a cyber-punk world, and yet it's our present-day reality, just being shown through an unusual and thoughtful lens.
I hope this is not too waffly a way of saying that this is a great book, but that people who loved Neuromancer for its unreality might find it a little hard to enjoy.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Is Here 11 Mar 2003
'Pattern Recognition' is the latest fiction from William Gibson. the writer who became infamous after the publication of his epoch-making novel 'Neuromancer'. But while 'Pattern Recognition' is clearly the work of the same, earlier, revolutionary voice (twenty years have passed), it is a more mature, calmer novel, and is perhaps a better work of literature as a result.
The plot, put briefly, surrounds the search by Cayce (whose name is a pleasing nod towards the protagonist of 'Neuromancer') and others to discover the meaning behind, and makers of, a series of enigmatic, often abstract video clips. The clips are posted on the internet, left to be found by those who follow the unfolding series, but they are never traceable. While on unrelated business in London, Cayce finds herself involved in a venture to discover the source, turning her private past-time of discussing the video clips online into a project funded financially by a British marketing executive who walks around in a big, Texan cowboy hat (which he always wears incorrectly). To reveal more would be to spoil the novel, but it is enough to say that around this premise Gibson creates a highly intelligent, highly successful novel, part thriller, part exploration of contemporary technology culture, and much more besides.
'Pattern Recognition' is a masterpiece, and can be called such for a whole host of reasons. Cayce, the dominant character, is brought vividly to life, Gibson's super-sharp prose showing us Cayce's world as she sees it, and in doing so creating a reality that seems more real than real. We see things more crisply. The very best writers have the ability to grab the reader with their unique angle and focus on the world, and pull them completely between the lines. We become consumed by the words.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What would Philip K Dick have made of this? 3 Mar 2012
This is not a radical departure from Gibson's earlier books as there are many common themes: the importance of looking cool on the streets and having an unlimited expense account, the awesomeness of Japan, and the use of bleeding-edge technology. And as in his earlier science-fiction stories, this book has been rapidly overtaken by events. However, as the book is placed in about 2002, not too long after the fall of the Twin Towers, which is some 70 years ago in Internet-time, it can be read as a historical novel, in a world before Facebook or Twitter (or whatever is the newest, hottest thing when you read this review) and before TSA went entirely mad.
The story is pretty straight-forward--the "footage", bits and pieces of what is suspected to a single film turn up on the web and cause a cult following. One of the footageheads gets the opportunity to try to find out who or what creates the film and why. The hunt goes from one exotic luxury hotel to the next...

I can't help wonder how weird a story Philip K Dick could have made from the premise.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps my favourite book ever 26 Jun 2006
This is at the end of a long road for William Gibson. Fans of the neuromancer et al. should be shocked: he can write now. The prose in this book is lovely. The flavour of what he does with that language is very close to some of the early cyberpunk concerns, but set in the present day (more or less). It's altogether a much subtler, more mature work, in a world where cyberspace exists, not as an idealized 3D medium but as a murky but fascinating medium none the less. Similarly he doesn't imagine edge cities of the future, but instead references those which already exist. It's about art and fashion and cyberspace and advertising, and it's not to be missed if the future of our culture fascinates you as it does me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "mature and intelligent" 25 May 2006
By hadrian
I feel that this represents a real step forward for Gibson, he now has the skill to set books in the current era rather than some fanciful future.

While his previous works are perfectly enjoyable this brings his edgy punk ideas to a world which we all inhabit.

Several interesting ideas are explored, in particular the concepts of mirror world, advertising techniques and the fascinating Curtas calculators.

The only dissapointment is the addition of the 9/11 storyline, it was a totally pointless inclusion in this otherwise excellent book
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars quality review
good quality condition with no damage to it. i had no issues of any kind when i used this product
Published 2 months ago by adam miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this
I first read William Gibson when I was still in Uni - Neromancer.
Did it have an influence on me? Well my first job was a Virtual reality developer so yes I'd say it did! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dylan
5.0 out of 5 stars Quest of the AntiKitsch
Gibson moves away from the cyberpunk sub-genre he created and into an underworld of contemporary, cut-throat commercial espionage. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steven Wyatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome.
William Gibson is excellent - I agreed with the blurb on the cover about the maturity and quality of the prose. Well plotted and decently paced. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 7 months ago by Keith
4.0 out of 5 stars familiar terrain
I was first introduced to Mr Gibson's work whilst at uni. We studied Neuromancer as part of contemporary american literature. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr. N. J. Milton
4.0 out of 5 stars A (by now) near historical cyber punk thriller - well done but...
If you were looking for science fiction or at least a future ased novel, 'Pattern Recognition' is not the William Gibson you should go for. Read more
Published 21 months ago by AK
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Different
This is the first William Gibson book I've read on My Kindle, so I was intrigued by the comments made in other reviews, having read a few of his more famous sci-fi novels in... Read more
Published 21 months ago by GelS
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle endearing thriller
This book is from Gibson's recent work and so much more approachable than his earlier "hard" cyberpunk. It is set in modern times and has a very savvy young female protagonist. Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2012 by NiteSprite
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is he so good?
Given what Gibson is known for, this book ought not to work and yet it makes you realise that his real skill is in observing the minutiae of life as well for an imaginary world as... Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2011 by Dr. E. CHATTOE-BROWN
1.0 out of 5 stars A puck of wheetabix
Among the excruciatingly bad first pages you come across the description of a "puck of wheetabix" in a Camden Town shop window. Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2011 by M. J. Powell
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