Top critical review
A Diorama of His Better Works, the Glue isn’t Dry
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2020
I’m profoundly disappointed. I feel as though this is a hodge podge of other successful Gibson plot elements: All Tomorrow’s Parties sunglasses, Neuromancer’s AI, Blue Ant’s protagonist now named Verity whose uncanny sense is now for tech, the vaguely ominous but startlingly empathic and efficient characters from Peripheral all glued into a weak, superficial, fast narrative. This isn’t even a meaningful imagining of an alt-Trump America: the unnamed female president appears in a couple of sentences like a paper cutout waving in the breeze, half seen and then gone. Eunice, arguably the most intriguing character, well.... there ain’t enough of her in this book. At one point, the characters idly discuss the nature of “stubs,” these captioned pasts that weren’t until they abruptly ARE, while racing to their next banal assignation; as if alternative realities are no more exciting than Japanese denim sales, OS upgrades, or mummy bags. Certainly the protagonist handles the complete reinvention of all she has ever understood the universe to mean with aplomb, even ennui.
Ugh. Go back and read the Bridge or the Blue Ant trilogy, still vibrating with prophetic beauty and inspiring technology. Give this a pass.