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Virtual Light [Paperback]

William Gibson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Oct 2000
Berry Rydell, an ex-cop, signs on with IntenSecure Armed Response in Los Angeles. He finds himself on a collision course that results in a desperate romance, and a journey into the ecstasy and dread that mirror each other at the heart of the postmodern experience.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Oct 2000)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0140157727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140157727
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 529,281 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

About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Pattern Recognition, Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The courier presses his forehead against layers of glass, argon, high-impact plastic. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Having read the other reviews of Virtual Light I felt it best to throw in my pennies worth. First, lets all just agree that William Gibson is a great SF writer. NO, just agree, it'll be easier.
Lets also say that Virtual Light is not the best place to start. Most of his books are set in the same near-future setting, and interweave delicately with each other: part of the fun of reading a new Gibson novel is spotting the characters from previous works who occaisionally pop their heads into the plot, either for a guest appearance or for a more starring role (anyone who's read them will remember Molly, in all her incarnations, as being one of the most memorable...). But that's just the point. Unless you've read all of them, starting at Virtual Light might be too much effort. Start at the beginning, with 'Neuromancer', which is, on it's own, both one of the finest cyberpunk novels ever written and the ideal starting point to get to grips with Gibson's writing style.
The first Gibson book I read was Virtual Light, and I have to agree with one of the other reviews here: at the time, it seemed rushed, too flaky, too insubstantial to take in. Then I read Neuromancer, realized they were something of a series, and got the lot. I have now read them all, and while they do vary in content and quality, they all have a particular fast-paced atmosphere that reveals him as an accomplished author. Virtual Light suffers in the same way as Count Zero: if read as part of the whole, they are each a wonderful, engaging dip into Gibson's intricate near future; strange, twisted tales of losers and winners wound round the plots and concepts that will draw fans in further and further...if read on their own, they may seem too distant, so take my advice and START AT THE BEGINNING!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Took me into its world for days. 18 Oct 2000
As I read the first couple of chapters I nearly gave up on the book. I even thought it was a series of short stories because it jumped about so much. But I read on and was rewarded by a story that absorbed me so much I was truly sorry when it ended. Looking at some of the other reviews, all I can say is persevere - and the glasses are explained at the end.
The characterisation is excellent and believable - take the journey!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Light 26 April 2007
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Set in the very near future San Francisco (in fact, by now a few years in the past!) this novel follows the trail of a pair of information-filled 'virtual light' sunglasses, the bike courier Chevette who steals them on a whim, and the burnt-out rentacop Rydell who is tasked with recovering them. Plot-wise this is fairly standard thriller territory, with criminals, bent cops, and unwitting heroes caught up in the chase to secure the sunglasses, but it's Gibson's wonderfully colourful SF setting that makes this such a delight to read - the Golden Gate Bridge transformed into a shanty-town; a television worshipping Christian sect; a modern-day martyr responsible for a vaccination against AIDS; a world where the ubiquity of computer data transfer makes physical couriers important and reality TV producers have as much power as the police. An evocative look at a world close to our own but still startlingly different, 'Virtual Light's characters and setting are strong enough to triumph over a workmanlike plot.

NB: This novel stands well enough alone, but it is followed by two sequels: 'Idoru' and 'All Tomorrow's Parties'.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average 25 Feb 2004
Virtual Light is set in a near future San Francisco and has an ordinary plot whereby someone gets hold of an item they shouldn't have, and people in power want it back.
In this case it is a pair of sunglasses that have the ability to display virtual light - an overlay on normal vision. Not that the sunglasses matter much, they just give an excuse for big people to chase the little people.
The story, you will gather, is nothing to get excited about, and you will find pacier and more gripping thrillers elsewhere.
What rescues it as a novel is Gibson's vision of the future - not the science, but the society. Power is held by the Corporates, society is fragmented and many people have fallen through the cracks into a sub-culture.
It is close enough to the present to be believable, and Gibson provides vivid descriptions to help you visualise this fractured future.
I shame then, that the story itself isn't very good.
Three stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's pretty darn good. 30 April 2000
By A Customer
I found Virtual Light to be a better read than the other Gibson books I have read. The story flows better and I can identifiy more with the characters than I could in his previous novels. The only-a-bit in the future setting is interesting, and there were a lot of clever ideas in the book. Some points could have done with more developement however, for example it wasn't really explained very well why the damn glasses were so important in the first place. All in all though, a very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good follow on 12 Jun 2010
By Paul M
While the Neuromancer series seemed to be 100 or so years in the future, the bridge trilogy seems to be based around the nearer future and it does it very well. In the time which the novel has been written some of the things really have become true and there is a sharp divide between the rich and poor and gibson seems to lead us into the future but not the far future. Everything seems plausible bar some characters who just seem to be highly generic and unbelievable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The father of cyberpunk has not convinced me
This novel left me puzzled since its opening lines. I admit I re-read the first page a couple of times because it was not clear to me who he was talking about, their whereabouts... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anakina
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Light
Good read - gradely as ever. Mr Gibson's coruscating prose leaves one breathless. Enjoy this book as I did !
Published 3 months ago by Keith A. Mellard
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Gibson's best
I found this an interesting and enjoyable read, and I'm definitely glad I bought it, but for me it was not in the same league as much of William Gibson's other work; it will not... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Phaedrus
3.0 out of 5 stars "Virtual Light"
More great sci-fi from Gibson.

Very interesting characters, a brilliantly portrayed future landscape, and a fast and compelling story. Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2009 by David Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Rydell's Run
Reading a Gibson novel is an act of faith. He weaves seemingly tenuous threads into a vivid plot. Don't expect to fully comprehend where you're going until you're... Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2006 by Stephen A. Haines
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Light - Virtually Perfect
Set in a future that is as close as this afternoon, this is a book that shows why Gibson is one of the masters of speculative fiction. Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2003 by "the_marquis_de_carabas"
1.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Light..
After reading Neuromancer for the first recently I rushed out and got hold of virtual Light... to say I was disappointed would be an understatement.. Read more
Published on 16 April 2003 by Mr. Gareth J. Millar
4.0 out of 5 stars Too complex for some?
This is obviously completely different from "Golden Age" SF, a fan of which contributed a rather negative review. Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2002
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