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on 6 August 2012
I've just finished this (my latest) William Gibson tale and loved it. His departure from the 'cyberpunk' genre in 'Pattern Recognition' is continued in this intriguing story; some of which follows 'Pattern Recognition,' but not as a sequel. 'Spook Country' is a refreshing tour of the USA with the usual, imaginative Gibson take on technology involved in, but not central to, the plot. It's probably too challenging to state a full synopsis of an ex- punk rocker trying to establish a new career as a journalist, simply because of the parallel sub-plots that fill out the story in a fascinating way. It has humour and a somewhat cynical view of life in the States, wrapped in a plot that grabbed my attention from the start and held it to the satisfying end. Gibson's mastery of the English language, as always, is a delight.

I loved it, especially having enjoyed 'Pattern Recognition' shortly before. I'd recommend 'Pattern Recognition' first to give added depth, but it's by no means essential: 'Spook Country' can stand on its own merits perfectly well. I'm looking forward to moving on to 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' next as a return to the original sci-fi series (it's in my Kindle already).
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on 11 April 2016
Very well written + engaging.
Compared to earlier works though, possibly a bit lower-key : less fantastical and more in the real world, near-present-day.
Actually it's more like three different worlds, which only gradually connect.
I actually rather missed his stronger SF content though : Although revolutionary social implications of technology are referenced, they aren't delivered, and that isn't at all what the book is really about : Its a more standard novel with character-based purpose : A beautifully described, cunningly interwoven story about different cultures and people.
If nominally it's a thriller, then the actual plot is a bit of an anticlimax IMHO. Again, maybe not what it is really for.
The somewhat weary and jaded atmosphere, and uncertainty of values and purpose are probably the real point, which it where it connects with "Pattern Recognition" for me.
The "style over substance" label others have applied probably sticks, but I still found it enjoyable and it will stick in my memory.
I will surely read it again, but that will be a quite different experience.
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on 19 April 2008
I have read all of William Gibson's books, since back when he was writing about a dystopian future heavily influenced by Japanese culture.

Some of the old Gibson is still there in this book, like separate characters converging at the end. However, the plot is thin & weak, and characters are just wandering in and out of rooms and cities without much to do or even say.

All we learn in the first 300 pages is that there is a container on a ship somewhere that interests a lot of people. It is only in the last 30 pages or so that things develop from there, when one of the shady characters decides to confide in our heroine (whom he has never seen before - huh?) and finally tells her (and us) what is going on. So now we know what is in the container and why these guys are after it, and the book ends soon afterwards. OK then.

The only character that is remotely interesting is the junkie, whose contribution to the plot is translating several sentences from a form of written Russian in latin alphabet. He is the only one with a credible inner world, thoughts and ideas. Gibson actually uses him on several occasions to voice his own thoughts on US stance on torture (blurted out when he was high), war on Iraq, etc.

In all, a disappointing book for those of us who know about Gibson's masterpieces. Perhaps he is getting old. Or maybe he should go back to writing about the future.
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on 30 October 2014
As ever, brilliant writing, and great characters, and the central theme all spiral together into the perfect mid-tempo ending. Leaving you, sort of, well.... I could read that all over again. Right now. Starting at 5am.

Is there nothing William Gibson can't bring life to? It seems not. I've been reading his books since I read Count Zero out of sequence in 1990, and I've been hooked ever since. Amazing stuff, as always.
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on 22 February 2015
I agree with quite a few reviewers that W.G. sees to have written his best stuff early in his career; I feel part of the problem is that he is writing similar novels to a lot of other authors now, Mona Lisa Overdrive etc. were ground breaking. Having said that, a new William Gibson is always worth a try; this novel is fairly complex and I did lose some of the detail I think, but a good read. A near, future earth spy type book, it you like this type of novel, go for it.
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on 4 December 2017
It's a book. Why would I try to (a) summarise it or (b) critique it? I am neither a professional literary reviewer nor someone who thinks his opinion of any piece of art is in any way relevant to the next person.
I love William Gibson's writing, so anything I put here would be biased. I could recommend it but it may not be to your taste at all - how would I know?
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on 7 January 2015
I tried reading this four years ago and gave up after a lack of sex and cyberspace presented itself. Returning to it I found everything I need. Military. Drug addicts. Bigend. A mélange of cultural references and the mellifluous efficiency of Gibson in rendering both the sublime and mundane into his Spook filled world.
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on 28 May 2016
would make a great movie..
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on 18 July 2017
Interesting take on a possible future that's already the present. As with most of Gibson's work, I might have to read it a second time to fully grasp it.
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on 13 March 2014
This is a phenomenal book and I highly recommend it. I love that you don’t need to have read the previous books to understand what’s happening but it’s recommended. Wonderful part to the blue ant series. Really worth the read.
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