The Peripheral - William Gibson

My William Gibson book reviews are largely superfluous, as I love everything he does. This book is no exception. I was mildly nervous, as various reviews describe a post-apocalyptic setting, and I'm not a great one for post-apocalyptic stuff. However, the apocalypse here is a very Gibsonian one, and it remains wonderfully readable.

All the Gibson trademarks are here - the mix of the ultra-rich and the poor, the street tech and improvisation, the feeling of an alien place, the action, the inventiveness. I've been following him on Twitter (I know, I know), and (just like reading Distrust That Particular Flavor) seeing some of the process behind the writing makes the writing itself even more interesting!

After so many novels that have telescoped towards the present as time has gone on (the future's arrived, remember? :) this book goes way out to a distant future again, probably a longer time horizon than Neuromancer! This gives Gibson room to go for much more experimental tech and a bigger change to society, and I think he takes advantage of this very well.

Technology-wise, I think he treats nanotech assemblers rather too much like magic, when I think a real-world implementation would have rather large energy issues. Still, he's not exactly known for his hard sci-fi, and if people like Charlie Stross can hand-wave in this area I can't really complain at William Gibson.

To summarise, I loved it. It's a William Gibson book. It (like much good sci-fi) captures and distils now wonderfully, and projects this into an alien, yet familiar, future. It made me very happy.

Posted 2015-11-21.