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REVIEW: "Pattern Recognition", William Gibson

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKPATREC.RVW 20060713 Pattern Recognition , William Gibson, 2003, 0-399-14986-4, U$25.95/C$39.00 %A William Gibson %C 10 Alcorn Ave, Suite 300, Toronto,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2006
      BKPATREC.RVW 20060713

      "Pattern Recognition", William Gibson, 2003, 0-399-14986-4,
      %A William Gibson
      %C 10 Alcorn Ave, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 3B2
      %D 2003
      %G 0-399-14986-4
      %I Putnam/Penguin/Signet/Roc
      %O U$25.95/C$39.00 416-925-2249 Fax: 416-925-0068 service@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399149864/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399149864/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience n+ Tech 1 Writing 3 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 356 p.
      %T "Pattern Recognition"

      This novel takes place in the corporate present, rather than the
      dystopian cyberpunk future of Gibson's early works (although he was
      bringing us closer even with "Virtual Light", cf. BKVRTLIT.RVW).
      Gibson's "edge" is possibly smoothing, although his writing skill and
      the humanity that have always marked his work are intact. Central
      elements in this work are the marketing and building of "brand." The
      internationalization of brands, the implications for individualization
      in the face of that pressure, and our discomfort when presented with
      different brands are all examined in interesting ways in the character
      of a woman who researches and measures the potential popularity of
      trademark material, but who is also allergic to certain brands.
      (There are some really interesting points about social engineering, of
      various types.)

      In terms of this series, Gibson has never made real technology central
      to his books, and this one is no exception. However, he does involve
      steganography, digital watermarking, and the tracing of electronic
      messages and files in the plot. While I enjoyed the book (a lot), I
      found it strangely weak in regard to the actual use of technology in
      the plot. Gibson has not made any secret of the fact that he doesn't
      have a technical background, but there are numerous technologies that
      could have been used and explored in regard to the plot as it exists,
      so it seems oddly unfinished. Still, while Gibson hasn't devoted a
      lot of detail to the technologies involved, neither has he made any of
      the technical howlers that are so annoying in other, similar, works.

      So, it only barely makes it into the series, but I recommend it as a
      good read, and some great insight into the human condition.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2006 BKPATREC.RVW 20060713

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