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Spook Country (Blue Ant Book 2) Kindle Edition
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“Arguably the first example of the post-post-9/11 novel, whose characters are tired of being pushed around by forces larger than they are—bureaucracy, history and, always, technology—and are at long last ready to start pushing back.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Like Pynchon and DeLillo, Gibson excels at pinpointing the hidden forces that shape our world.”—Details
“[A] dazed, mournful quality…[An] evocation of post-9/11 displacement, the sense of a world in which nothing seems fixed or reassuring…one of our vital novelists.”—Newsday
“Although wearing the trappings of a thriller, Spook Country is essentially a comedy, albeit a dry, dark, and disturbing one.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A fitful, fast-forward spy tale...It’s to Gibson’s credit that he weaves his strands of disparate narrators, protagonists and foils, and his panoply of far-forward technology, into a vivid, suspenseful and ultimately coherent tale.”—USA Today
“Part thriller, part spy novel, part speculative fiction, Gibson’s provocative work is like nothing you have ever read before.”—Library Journal
“Set in the same high-tech present day as Pattern Recognition, Gibson’s fine ninth novel offers startling insights into our paranoid and often fragmented postmodern world....Compelling characters and crisp action sequences, plus the author’s trademark metaphoric language, help make this one of Gibson’s best.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Gibson excels as usual in creating an off-kilter atmosphere of vague menace.”—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
- ASIN : B000UVBSYQ
- Publisher : Berkley (August 7, 2007)
- Publication date : August 7, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 673 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 498 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #126,022 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Spook Country, while good, was not his best work by a long shot.
In other books, I feel that cyberpunk "edge," be it in the characters, in the technology or topics discussed, etc. In this one, the technology aspect revolves around GPS and "locative art." Locative art was a new concept to me, just as some of the other concepts were new to me when I read the other books, but with the others, I came out caring and interested - with this one, I didn't care about locative art. It just didn't add anything or bring that edge with it that I expected.
The characters in the book were decent, though I felt like maybe there were too many, or the ones that were there didn't have enough depth. The main character I cared about, but the others I just didn't. Some were intriguing and I wanted to know more, but it just wasn't delivered.
The plot was reminiscent of something from a Robert Ludlum novel, but without the page-turning action. There were spies, people with no names doing dead-drops of information for other folks to pick up, and tailing people, but you didn't get the action that it felt like the plot warranted.
The three key things that bugged me:
1) Gibson's writing style has changed such that, you'll see, he writes in very long, winding, complex sentences with lots of adjectives and commas, and maybe an odd metaphor thrown in, so that, by the time you reach the end of the sentence, which is really a paragraph in-and-of-itself, you'll have forgotten what he was talking about at the beginning. (Just like that.)
2) By the time the climax comes, you're expecting something really cool to happen, but it doesn't. You work all the way through the book to get to this one particular event, it happens, and... poof. It's done, nothing comes of it, and you don't care. It's like the event never happened at all. (Which, admittedly, is sort of a theme here - it's spies doing things under the radar, so you don't notice. But the climax? Come on, throw me a bone!)
3) In many of his other books, Gibson throws in references to vodou-based religions and gods. Sometimes it's just an aspect of a character, sometimes it has to do directly with the plot, but in all cases it weaves in reasonably well with the story. This time, too, there are vodou references, but they don't make any sense. They stick out there as a distraction, like an afterthought - "Oh, crap, I finished the book but didn't throw any vodou in there!" I kept wondering where it was going, just to find out that it didn't have anything to do with anything.
In the end, I did like the book, but if you haven't read any Gibson before, start with Neuromancer instead.
Spook Country follows three characters -- Hollis, the former lead singer of a semi-successful indie rock band, Tito, the young member of a Cuban "boutique" crime family, and Milgrim, an addict who has somehow fallen in with a mysterious intelligence agent called Brown. All are swept up into the search for a cargo container that keeps shuffling around the GPS grid, a search that will eventually lead them to converge in a single place.
McGuffins are nothing new to Gibson's novels, used primarily as a vehicle for exploring societal shifts, and the shipping container in Spook Country is no exception. In this case, however, he uses a McGuffin to examine the impact of computer-generated worlds on our own perception of reality, the atemporal nature of celebrity (including an interesting mediation on the trust that people are willing to invest in celebrities, who would otherwise be strangers to them), Iraq war profiteering, Bush-era paranoia and the infusion of pagan religion into contemporary Catholicism.
There is a startling array of threads and ideas spun out of Gibson's mystery shipping container, and although the ending is not as satisfying as his past works, the ideas he brings up are definite worth exploring.
This may not be Gibson's best book (I'm still partial to Virtual Light), but it's certainly an entertaining and thought-provoking of life in the mid-oughties. Definitely recommended to both old fans and novices alike.
Top reviews from other countries
Then I had some time to read it much more slowly and carefully and it turned out to be all I have just said but it was also very, very funny. His descriptions of events were, if you read them carefully, really quite hilarious. All of the characters are so beautifully developed and yet are just unbelievably funny.
I really cannot recommend this book strong enough. It makes me want to go back read some of his other ones again and I think I’m going to have to this.
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).
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.
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.
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?