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  • Idoru
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am 1. März 1999
Take a look in the ISBN section of this book and you''l understand what makes it so clever, not only is it listed as science fiction but also under Rock-star psycholgy. At first when I read both Idoru and Virtual Light I was worried Gibson was loosing his touch, but as time goes on and I get a chance to reflect more on both books I begin to them as the phenomenl triumphs they are. The story is eesentially about reality and identity in the future. Colin Laney can take any random bits of data about an individual and recreate their entire life (proably in real science this is just silly, but it sounds really plausible doesn't it?), but colin himself has no idea who he really is. He just wanders from job to job trying to survive. Then of course you of the charecter of Lo-Rez, who has become so disenchanted with modern day life the he has fallen in love with an artificial creation. That really just the surface but I sugest that all the reader who have described this book as "light" and "silly go back re-look at at the story and see how much of your own life looks back at you.
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am 13. Juli 2000
Now, when I have finally finished the future I will certainly live in, it seems to me as one of the best book I've ever read. (The last of the best books being 'Burning Chrome', which, in it's short-story-esque way, seems to tell the truth better and with stonger emotions than any novel could.) 'Idoru' is deep, virtual/real, and it's firmly intertwined with my own ideas of our near-future.
I remember taking it up about six hours ago and reading the first page, and realizing that I'm back in the Realm of Gibson, in the realm of highly crafted sentences, in the realm of subtle references, in the realm of true feelings hidden between the black&white lines on the paper... I recognized almost instantly the branches that the sprouts of our modern technology had become. Recognized the things I will be able to do in the Net in the future that are currently merely suggested by the last reformations. Recognized the origins of idoru as a healthy motley of holograms, AI, and Ananova.com.
Gibson seems to dissect all aspects of our present-day pop culture in this book. He probes the artificial minds of tomorrow's computers to find evidences of humanity. He burrows deeply into various layers of stardom in search for the hustling power behind it, never underestimating the force of contemporary fan-base. He understands completely the multicultural society we're becoming. And he seems to place all the right details to where they belong, no matter how remote.
After reading 'Idoru' it hit me that I had actually seen and felt it all in the Sony ad-mag I flipped through the other day, in the first big-credit anime 'Ghost in the Shell', in the last Wired issue in my inbox... And I knew that reading the lines on the paper was more visual than 'Matrix' ever would.
P.S. It still amazes me, though, how Gibson managed to overlook the doubel n in Tallinn in his constant drive towards accuracy.
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am 10. September 1997
After reading IDORU, I found that WG had, once again, written a completely incomprehensible story. He evidently likes scribbling lots of descriptive easy-peasy-japanesee crap, as it's flash painted in the book; and the characters are listless twits to boot. Which is not too pallatable a menu to feed off on, if you wanna know my take on it. For Instance: WG instilled in me a real interest in how the security guard (the only character with real character) was going to handle Laney's ex-boss; but instead of getting a nice hard conclusion, WG delivers a flaccid closure as evidenced from a vague questioning session between Laney and the other news station character. Also, WG went limp again in another vignette that required closure, namely the conclusion as to what happened to the IDORU (as if anyone gives a damn what happens to that artificial character either); specifically, in connecting the DNA generator with the IDORU software. I wish he did! Then at least his drivel would make sense! Though perhaps that's the tradition that's being created in cyberpunk lit. -- vague and flaccid endings/closures. If that's what WG intends to promulgate within the SF Lit-world, then he should seek professional help. He should also get off the pot so that others can have a chance with the literary stream! However, should he ever, ever, ever get off the pot, he shouldn't epoxy the lid to the seat with these vague endings (like in VIRTUAL LIGHT as well) or something equally incomprehensible, so that the chiclet-minded SF editors won't get the impression that he's trying to cement vagueness in cyberpunk fiction, then demanding that this become a trendy literary criteria that must be followed for everyone else who wishes to get their own stories published.

Hell, call me Mary Pickford for all I care, I'm pretty damn sick of reading vague crap that tries to pass itself off as cyberpunk. Makes one think that the author has flash-fried his brains on some truly esoteric and amazingly expensive (yet still wonderfully worthless) designer drugs....
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am 23. April 2000
gibson's been blessed with a gift. it allows him to ramble on and on about a wall for three pages at a time. he describes his environments beautifully, eloquently, in excruciatingly wonderful detail. he visualizes his worlds (real or virtual) with such wild and lovely abandon that he tends to forget something rather important. now what was it that was missing?... oh yeah, HIS STORY! how is it that i read this entire book, but not know any of the events that are apparently taking place right in front of me? because gibson spends too much time staring at the ceiling, thinking of how to describe each and every crack in it.
another problem is your seeing these places and "experiencing" these events through the eyes of two people who are only vaguely connected to the actual events in the book. they can't help you to understand the contents of the story, but they're good at looking at stuff!
events unfolded before me and characters were introduced to me that were supposed to be important to the story, but just weren't worthy of the same attention as a staircase...
this was my first complete reading of a gibson book. and while i completely appreciate him, it's just not to my personal taste. if you like gibson, i'm sure you'll love this, if you don't like him, this won't suade you to start, and if you've never read him, this is as good a place as any to start. enjoy?
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am 1. Mai 2000
William Gibson's Idoru is a great book for insomniacs. Gibson's obsessive attention to details begins as loose flowing intrigue but ends in a thick mud of mental constipation. Chia McKenzie is the most believable of Gibson's creations in Idoru. And though the world through which she ventures is rendered with such retro and random, post millenial decor, it is at times like her wonderland does not take her anywhere all that exciting. She is merely admiring the moss at the bottom of the rabbit hole. What can we learn about ourselves from the IDORU? That we are gullible to the falsity of the world we have created for ourselves. That our idols don't need to be more than a collection of pixels contained behind a computer screen, or stored in a computer chip. The IDORU seems to foresee a world of empty numbers and codes that only the trruly gifted "sifters" like Colin Laney can see through. But what Laney can see is about as exciting as the plot of the IDORU. Not only are the cities of this future constructed with these hollow bricks of information, but so are the celebrities. The one thing the IDORU has going for it is the occassional bits of unexpected details, like the bubble gummed cafe walls, or the DNA hair tester at the airport. But these eye opening details are so imbedded in rambling chaos that I would suggest you stick with Lewis Carroll and put your Gibson under the fantasy section of your bookshelf. Counting sheep fantasy that is.
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am 21. April 2000
My first foray into the mind of William Gibson began with 'Neuromancer'. A novel, and an experience I'll never be able to quite put into context. How else can you describe what it's like reading a novel that's a miasma of futurism, design, and language that's slowly entreaching intself into our very own society? Gibson is a stylist , a genius, and perhaps even a madman. Not in the sense of insanity, but simple that it's difficult to see one man responsible for coining the terms: virtual reality and cyberspace.
Which leads me to 'Idoru', a story that's a lot more contemporary. At least, by Gibson's standards. 'Idoru' takes place in the not-so-distant future in which Tokyo, brought to near ruin by an earthquake, is rebuilt through the use of nanotechnology. The idea of nanotechnology is nothing new to me. Yet, Gibson seems to to use it here very liberally. Nanotech is responsible for the rebirth of an entire metropolis.
Enter 'Lo-Rez': a member of one of the hottest rock groups in the world. Rez makes a decision to head to Tokyo (I feel the need to refer it to 'Neo-Tokyo' for some bizarre reason) and marry Rei Toei, the most recognized idol singer in Japan. There's just one catch: Rei isn't real. Rei Toei is the 'idoru', and she doesn't exist. Along with data-miner, laney, Rez travels through the seedy underbelly of the Tokyo underworld in order to find the idoru, and make his fantasies come true.
It's certainly not one of the deepest of plots, but it doesn't downplay the novel to much. I enjoy Gibson for his stylistic flourishes, and the way he develops the world in which his characters exist. The counter-culture bar, and the 'west' world are some of the places that Gibson lays down for the reader. I enjoyed reading some, and dread sloshing through others. There were often times when I felt like Gibson has fallen in love with the development of his world, and has lost sight of his plot (such was the case with Laney's enemies shuffled in for cameo's sake).
Nevertheless, 'Idoru' was a decent enough read. If you're a Gibson fan, chances are you've already given this book a once over. If you're not however, I still urge you to give this novel a try. You'll either love it or hate it. There's very little gray area when it comes to Gibson. A fun read for me.
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am 20. Mai 2000
As I scanned the other reviews of this book, I found that I couldn't agree less with many of them... but did agree with parts. Don't know what that says about different peoples' perceptions of this book.
I'll start by saying I liked all of Gibson's previous work and I liked Idoru, too. I was a little stunned to read some people who seemed to find it went on too long, as the hardback edition I read is under 300 pages (large print, breaks between chapters.) The plot is admittedly simple: rock star plans to marry a virtual reality character. When do computers become alive? --- recurring theme for Gibson.
Rather than tell it from the POV of these two lovebirds, he alternates chapters between the book's two main characters. One, Chia, is a teen fan. One, Laney, has the the strange talent of... to put it in contemporary terms, he can separate the signal from the noise when websurfing. (That >would< be a useful skill!)
Things I liked? While the plot is straightforward, I preferred it to more overarching books that start out well and have things crumble by the end. There have been plenty of those. Second, I found the charactrers all well defined and appealing, especially Laney, a sort of everyman who ends up in the middle of a lot of weird stuff.
And of course, there's Gibson's writing, powerful and at times even hypnotic. Each chapter reads like a story unto itself, but they do all move towards a clear resolution. Even the title seemed like a subtle commentary on the story. ("Idoru" = "I adore you", perhaps?)
I give it a big thumbs-up.
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am 26. September 1997
Pity poor William Gibson. "Neuromancer," his first novel out of the gate, won him the Hugo, the Nebula and the Phillip K. Dick awards. So what's to pity? Well, no matter how brilliant a novel he writes from now on, it won't compare favorably with that first one. It can't -- because there is no higher praise the SF world can give him than he has already received. "Idoru" is not the brilliant book that will knock "Neuromancer" out of the top slot (heck, not even his best book ever, "Count Zero," could do that). But "Idoru" is a strong work, and a credit to any author's oeuvre. Gibson fans and neophytes alike will enjoy all the tricks that made him famous: The gee-whiz sense of wonder, the despairing techo-angst, the Raymond Chandler delivery and the multiple converging plot lines. All in a sub-genre that has been so thoroughly mined by Gibson and his countless imitators, you'd think there was no more gold to find. "Idoru" is a good step ahead of "Virtual Light", its predecessor in this non-sequential series. If the next novel is as much again an improvement, well, Gibson had better publish it under a pseudonym to get it the recognition it deserves.
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am 3. Januar 2000
After the dissapointing conclusion to the "Sprawl" sequence, the unrealised potential of "The Difference Engine" and the muddle of "Virtual Light", Gibson flexes his literary muscles and polishes off the greatest comeback since Canberra won the 1989 ARL Grand Final.
And really, it is all so effortless. The plot is relatively uncomplicated and could probably have been dealt with in short story or novella form. But through this plot, Gibson provides us with beautifully realised interpretation of today's media landscape while at the same time providing an eloquent discourse on the near future.
Gibson's use of language is elegant, refined and (dare I say it) mature. His sense of time and place (often Tokyo theme bars and train stations) is unmistakeable and original and his sense of humour infectious. Pop references abound, with allusions to David Bowie, U2, early Ultravox (and Big Black?) amongst others seeded through out the book.
This is not Neuromancer. Gibson has moved on and readers looking to return to the past may be disapointed. But for the considered reader, Idoru supplies a raft of clever and calculated writing.
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am 1. Juni 2000
I think that of the reviews I scanned I'm fairly odd in that this is my first Gibson. I've read all about Gibson's books, criticism, reviews, fanatic praise-- and I find it interesting that Idoru really stands up against the pressure of the expectations.
A rock star (Rez) who has been just slightly out of step with the modern culture falls in love with an avatar of the modern culture-- the virtual reality idoru star Rei Toei. In the persons of Chia and Colin Laney we see Rez's fans, handlers, and enemies descend on Tokyo-- determined to find out what's going on.
The book is all about virtual realities-- cities in the cracks of the computer systems, virtual stars who are becoming real, Kafka theme bars, and fans who meet in virtual clubhouses with constructed images. I said it was about the realities themselves, but really it seems to be about how the characters struggle and cope with the layers around them.
Very well-written. In places, I found some plot points to be a little distracting. I wished other areas were more fully developed. But Gibson works with a clear, straight-forward elegance and ultimately a kind of wonderful sweetness. Good read.
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