Agency

Agency

eBook - 2020
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"ONE OF THE MOST VISIONARY, ORIGINAL, AND QUIETLY INFLUENTIAL WRITERS CURRENTLY WORKING"* returns with a sharply imagined follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The Peripheral .

William Gibson has trained his eye on the future for decades, ever since coining the term "cyberspace" and then popularizing it in his classic speculative novel Neuromancer in the early 1980s. Cory Doctorow raved that The Peripheral is "spectacular, a piece of trenchant, far-future speculation that features all the eyeball kicks of Neuromancer ." Now Gibson is back with Agency --a science fiction thriller heavily influenced by our most current events.

Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. "Eunice," the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don't yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it's best they don't.

Meanwhile, a century ahead in London, in a different time line entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid plutocrats and plunderers, survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot. His boss, the enigmatic Ainsley Lowbeer, can look into alternate pasts and nudge their ultimate directions. Verity and Eunice are her current project. Wilf can see what Verity and Eunice can't: their own version of the jackpot, just around the corner, and the roles they both may play in it.

* The Boston Globe
Publisher: 2020.
ISBN: 9781101986950
Branch Call Number: eBook overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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brangwinn
Mar 29, 2020

Maybe, for me, not reading the first book, Peripheral, was a mistake. If I hadn’t picked up a review copy from NetGalley, it is probably a book I would have not read. Time travel isn’t my thing and I was not able to relate to the characters. I’m happy being in the minority because there are books for everyone’s interests. It was an okay read. I need to be pulled out of my reading comfort zone occasionally.

r
richmole
Mar 16, 2020

This is my third William Gibson novel. Read his first, years ago (Neuromancer) and recently, the decade-old Pattern Recognition. Loved Neuromancer, quite liked Pattern Recognition.

This new one is for somebody. But not for me. I tried everything: re-reading passages that I thought I understood--but did not--tried not to overlook detail that could be important--and failed. Avoided reading when I was tired (even though I didn't know I was THAT tired.) This book is VERY HARD WORK.

I certainly appreciate Gibson's take on a possible future, and, as usual, how people act, their various electronic "assists" and their everyday speech patterns. All nifty stuff. Genius writing. But, so much "stuff" that whatever plot's in there gets smothered by it.

Did I say it was a very hard work? I did. It was. And in the end--or rather, half-way through--decided that whatever possible pay-off there was at the end just...wasn't worth the effort.
YOU, however, might think differently...

j
jontalk
Mar 15, 2020

Similar to the previous comment, the lack of congruent structure, choppiness and cyber-technology terms makes this a confusing story whose plot is hard to follow. Characters lack
depth, and the plot is unwieldy to say the least. This came as a Goodreads recommendation corresponding to Blake Crouch's "Dark Matter" and "Recursion" both of which are FAR better in my opinion.

a
andrewrimas
Mar 15, 2020

A tedious techno-triumphalist mess. The social satire and cultural insight displayed in some of Gibson's work (Blue Ant series) has given way to a steady stream of gadgetry and jargon. The cardboard characters -- faultlessly virtuous goodies and hopelessly incompetent baddies -- only serve as props to demonstrate the gear. A magically all-powerful AI entity saves the world. One long deus ex machina.

j
johnulee
Feb 09, 2020

Have read all of Gibson's previous work, greatly anticipating this one... and it pays off in many ways. Various subtle hints of current tech, potential future tech, the future, etc... work well when sprinkled here and there. The stories mesh well, a lot going on, but 'from above' so to speak... not spending 100 pages describing things, you get it because he has written it very well. The ending will be familiar to some, not necessarily a disappointment, but a bit underwhelming, but also within character.
Read it.

c
chazbufe
Feb 06, 2020

A very disappointing sequel to Gibson's terrific "The Peripheral" (2014). The primary problem (there are others) is that the dramatic structure falls apart midway through, and the remainder of the novel unfolds in almost deus ex machina (in this case deus ex AI) fashion. The anti-climactic conclusion, which wraps up far too neatly and antiseptically, is so boring that I found myself skimming whole pages near the end. I probably wouldn't be quite so negative if I hadn't keenly anticipated this sequel. Still, I wish I hadn't wasted my time reading this.

k
kdbt
Jan 31, 2020

Another great (exciting, imaginative, ahead of its time) book from William Gibson. "Agency" is the sequel to "The Peripheral" from 2014, and I wish I had re-read that before tackling Gibson's latest. Highly recommended, but read (or re-read) "The Peripheral" first.

Update: Just re-read "The Peripheral" and "Agency" again just after, and it is much more cohesive, knowing who is where and why (can't say more without spoilers).

Really good reads....

f
Farabute
Nov 29, 2019

What it's disappointing is that Publishers Weekly calls the book "The Periphery" instead of The Peripheral. Maybe they should read it first.
(all that assuming that in The Agency Gibson doesn't call The Peripheral's whole realm "the periphery")

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jlstrait
Mar 07, 2020

jlstrait thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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