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Cool and sad

Another recent "fast read" was William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. Despite the fact that I'm a fan of science fiction (enough of a fan to know that the proper abbreviation is SF, not Sci Fi), I've never read any of Gibson's work. I'd been thinking of reading Neuromancer, as I keep stumbling over criticism of it in my own dissertation work (lots of stuff on the sublime in cyberspace that intersects with Jeanette Winterson, especially The Powerbook). Now that I've read Pattern Recognition, I'm definitely going to seek out more.
There are lots of extremely interesting concepts here - advertising, the media, the way "buzz" can be manufactured, the power of the web for communication. It's not strictly SF, though is firmly in the realm of the cutting edge. It's unrelentingly "cool," but fascinating with it, and ultimately a very moving exploration of our need for human contact and communication. September 11 comes into it; the image of a petal falling off a dead rose in a shop window at the moment of impact is one that will haunt me for a long time. Although Gibson is "cool" his prose sings, and I love the way he brings in recognizable bytes of pop culture. One character is described as looking like Tom Cruise if he had been living on a diet of virgin's blood and belgian chocolate. Perfect! I've been recommending it to all and sundry - it's definitely a worthwhile read.

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