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The bridge between,
This review is from: All Tomorrow's Parties (Bridge) (Paperback)
This is the final part of Gibson's Bridge trilogy; I enjoyed reading Virtual Light, the first one in the series many years ago - and have only a hazy recollection of its contents - but have yet to read Idoru, the second instalment. I didn't think that those omissions affected my appreciation of this book, although a more joined-up reader would doubtless be pleased to learn more about Chevette and Berry (from Virtual Light) and Laney and Rei Toei (from Idoru).
Gibson writes this history of the near future using very short chapters, presenting snapshots of characters and events in a scattered fashion which, coupled with his allusive style, can make this book feel like a collection of interweaving short stories rather than a coherent novel. In addition, as is common in science fiction, neologisms and technical labels are tossed around without any elucidation, and the reader is supposed to work out what they mean - for example, Laney is obsessed with "nodal points in history, of some emerging pattern in the texture of things" (p56), which sounds like something you could understand if the time was taken to explain it to you. Of course, these lacunae may be part of the impression of uncertainty and alienation that the author wants to convey about this world, but perhaps a firmer guiding hand would have been useful in places - for example, in what I suppose was the climax on p266, where the baddie gets his come-uppance (or seems to, anyway).
Elsewhere, there's a uncommonly accurate prediction of technology (the book was written in 1999) when Rydell uses the communications, entertainment and information-gathering facilities which have been built into a pair of spectacles. And there are the musical nods which are standard in Gibson's work: the title is, of course, taken from a song on The Velvet Underground & Nico (although it's perhaps hard to see what it has to do with this story), but he also mines a (slightly obscure) Steely Dan song for Klaus and The Rooster, which are the names of two minor characters.
To conclude: I found this an enjoyable and interesting read, but would find it hard to say what it was about. Perhaps I should go back over the Bridge trilogy.