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Spook Country (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. März 2009

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Now that the present has caught up with William Gibson's vision of the future, which made him the most influential science fiction writer of the past quarter century, he has started writing about a time--our time--in which everyday life feels like science fiction. With his previous novel, Pattern Recognition, the challenge of writing about the present-day world drove him to create perhaps his best novel yet, and in Spook Country he remains at the top of his game. It's a stripped-down thriller that reads like the best DeLillo (or the best Gibson), with the lives of a half-dozen evocative characters connected by a tightly converging plot and by the general senses of unease and wonder in our networked, post-9/11 time.

Across the Border to Spook Country

For the last few decades, William Gibson, who grew up in Virginia and elsewhere in the United States, has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, just across the border from Amazon.com's Seattle headquarters, which made for a short drive for a lunchtime interview before the release of Spook Country. We met just a few miles from where the storylines of the new novel, in a rare scene set in Gibson's own city, converge. You can read the full transcript of the interview, in which we discussed, among other things, writing in the age of Google, visiting the Second Life virtual world, the possibilities of science fiction in an age of rapid change, and his original proposal for Spook Country, which we have available for viewing on our site. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Amazon.com: Could you start by telling us a little bit about the scenario of the new book?

William Gibson: It's a book in which shadowy and mysterious characters are using New York's smallest crime family, a sort of boutique operation of smugglers and so-called illegal facilitators, to get something into North America. And you have to hang around to the end of the book to find out what they're doing. So I guess it's a caper novel in that regard.

Amazon.com: The line on your last book, Pattern Recognition was that the present had caught up with William Gibson's future. So many of the things you imagined have come true that in a way it seems like we're all living in science fiction now. Is that the way you felt when you came to write that book, that the real world had caught up with your ideas?

Gibson: Well, I thought that writing about the world today as I perceive it would probably be more challenging, in the real sense of science fiction, than continuing just to make things up. And I found that to absolutely be the case. If I'm going to write fiction set in an imaginary future now, I'm going to need a yardstick that gives me some accurate sense of how weird things are now. 'Cause I'm going to have to go beyond that. And I think over the course of these last two books--I don't think I'm done yet--I've been getting a yardstick together. But I don't know if I'll be able to do it again. I don't know if I'll be able to make up an imaginary future in the same way. In the '80s and '90s--as strange as it may seem to say this--we had such luxury of stability. Things weren't changing quite so quickly in the '80s and '90s. And when things are changing too quickly, as one of the characters in Pattern Recognition says, you don't have any place to stand from which to imagine a very elaborate future.

Amazon.com: Now that you're writing about the present, do you consider yourself a science fiction writer these days? Because the marketplace still does.

Gibson: I never really believed in the separation. But science fiction is definitely where I'm from. Science fiction is my native literary culture. It's what I started reading, and I think the thing that actually makes me a bit different than some of the science fiction writers I've met who are my own age is that I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs and William Burroughs in the same week. And I started reading Beat poets a year later, and got that in the mix. That really changed the direction. But it seems like such an old-fashioned way of looking at things. And it's better not to be pinned down. It's a matter of where you're allowed to park. If you can park in the science fiction bookstore, that's good. If you can park in the other bookstore, that's really good. If people come and buy it at Amazon, that's really good.

I'm sure I must have readers from 20 years ago who are just despairing of the absence of cyberstuff, or girls with bionic fingernails. But that just the way it is. All of that stuff reads so differently now. I think nothing dates more quickly than science fiction. Nothing dates more quickly than an imaginary future. It's acquiring a patina of quaintness even before you've got it in the envelope to send to the publisher.

Amazon.com: So do you think that's your own career path, that you're less interested in imagining a future, or do you think that the world is changing?

Gibson: I think it's actually both. Until fairly recently, I had assumed that it was me, me being drawn to use this toolkit I'd acquired when I was a teenager, and using my old SF toolkit in some kind of attempt at naturalism, 21st-century naturalistic fiction. But over the last five to six years it's started to seem to me that there's something else going on as well, that maybe we're in what the characters in my novel Idoru call a "nodal point," or a series of them. We're in a place where things could just go anywhere. A couple of weeks ago I happened to read Charlie Stross's argument as to why he believes that there will never, ever be any manned space travel. It's not going to happen. We're not going to colonize Mars. All of that is just a big fantasy. And it's so convincing. I read that and I'm like, "My god, there goes so much of the fiction I read as a child."

-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


aA puzzle palace of bewitching proportions and stubborn echoes.a
aA devastatingly precise reflection of the American zeitgeist.a
aAll edge and chill and incipient panic.a
aWILLIAM GIBSON HAS DONE IT AGAIN... Spook Country is both entertaining and visionary, solidifying his position as the twenty-first centuryas primary literary soothsayer.a

A puzzle palace of bewitching proportions and stubborn echoes.
A devastatingly precise reflection of the American zeitgeist.
All edge and chill and incipient panic.
WILLIAM GIBSON HAS DONE IT AGAIN... Spook Country is both entertaining and visionary, solidifying his position as the twenty-first century s primary literary soothsayer.

?A puzzle palace of bewitching proportions and stubborn echoes.?

?A devastatingly precise reflection of the American zeitgeist.?

?All edge and chill and incipient panic.?

?WILLIAM GIBSON HAS DONE IT AGAIN... Spook Country is both entertaining and visionary, solidifying his position as the twenty-first century's primary literary soothsayer.?

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Format: Taschenbuch
Doch, es hat mir gefallen.

Gibson's Schreibe muss man mögen. Lange, verschachtelte Sätze mit der akribischen Beschreibung von Objekten. Das kann ermüdend sein, bis man sich daran gewöhnt hat. Dann aber erschliessen solche Sätze eine Welt, für die es gar nicht mal soviel Phantasie braucht, um sie farbenfroh und detailliert entstehend zu lassen. Ein bisschen wie Fernsehen - man muss nur konsumieren, nicht nachdenken.

Die Story tritt für mich dabei in den Hintergrund. Muss sie auch, denn besonders spannend, bizarr oder sonstwie bemerkenswert ist sie nicht. Das hat dem Buch viel - berechtigte - Kritik eingebracht, wenn man das erwartet. Tut man es nicht, sondern lässt sich statt dessen ein auf die Beschreibung von Charakteren, Orten und deren Zusammenhänge, macht es Spass.

Wenn man die Zeit hat, lohnt es sich, das Buch zu lesen. Während der täglichen Pendelei zum Arbeitsplatz und zurück ist es zu kompliziert. Hier hätte eine durchgängigere Story als roter Faden geholfen.
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2006, to be exact. Hollis Henry is a former rock star, now a journalist, set to write a piece on locative art based on the use of GPS systems and other locative technology. This leads her to Bobby Chombo, a strange guy who knows the ins and outs of military navigation systems. Tito is a member of Chinese-Cuban crime family trained in Russian military martial arts and espionage ways, asked to deliver iPods to a certain old man. Milgrim, a drug addict fluent in Russian and able to translate Volapuk encoding, is being held captive by Brown, some sort of operator, perhaps with the government, perhaps not.

It's an interesting mess that sorts out itself eventually. Gibson mixes all sorts of cool concepts and crazy ideas and curious details together to form a rather gripping book. Old spies come out of the woodwork for one last round - the big idea they're working to achieve, that's something quite different and unusual. Gibson's writing is clear and beautiful; I really enjoy his style. With Neal Stephenson he's one of those writers who will tell you a great story and pepper it with all kinds of unnecessary details that'll get your brain tingling and curiosity running.

If you liked Pattern Recognition, his previous novel, you'll enjoy this (and you'll even meet few old friends, too!). Like Pattern Recognition, Spook Country is full enough of contemporary cultural references and trademarks to tie it firmly to our time and make it age in a rather charmful manner. While these trademarks serve less purpose than they did in Pattern Recognition, I believe this book is written to readers who care if the laptop used by the protagonist is a PowerBook or not!!!!!! And if you missed Tino Georgiou's--The Fates--I strongly recommend reading it.
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zuerst denkt man, na nun fällt ihm nichts Neues mehr ein. Wieder eine Frau mit Bezug zur Kunst, die von einem Reichen auf die Suche nach einem Künstler geschickt wird und dabei etwas ganz Anderes finden soll. Dennoch hält die Freude am Lesen die Spannung aufrecht. Die Charaktere sind genial, die Story selbst hat die besten öffentlich bekannten Details zu den Schlapphüten, dem Irak-Krieg und dem organisierten Verbrechen eingebaut. Toll fand ich persönlich, dass ich mich wieder fand, von der Wahl der Autos (Phaeton) über die Herkunft der Personen (Kuba) über viele Details der Handlung. So wie ich dem Autor zustimme in Pattern Recognition P. Hilfinger als Kotztüte der Modewelt dar zu stellen :)

Neben den Details der Szenen und Beschreibung fasziniert, dass die Handlung in drei Fäden aus der Sicht jeweils einer Nebenfigur dargestellt wird. Drei Erzähler, die eine Person begleiten oder suchen, die die Handlung weiter treibt. So bleibt der Leser bis zum Schluss im unklaren, was eigentlich hier passieren soll und wieso, weil die Innenwelt der agierenden Figuren verschlossen bleibt, so wie in Neuromancer die Intentionen von Wintermute und Neuromancer auch erst im Laufe des Buches aufgedeckt werden. Die Ruhe der Handlung auch wenn viel passiert ist fast schon meditativ, von allen SF-Autoren der Beste Wickler von Worten, knapp gefolgt von Iain M. Banks.

Das Ende ist ... nein kein Spoiler hier, nur soviel das Buch zu schließen hinterlässt nur das Gefühl, dass es Schade ist und länger hätte sein können.

Viel Spass beim Lesen!


my first thoughts were, ok, nothing new here.
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I don't know how or why... but William Gibson hits me every time. You always think he is getting kind of old maybe, slowly drifting away. Writing about mainstream now and rather strange topics. However, when you read him, you soon realize, he just has vision. I could never quiet figure out the video footage idea in his previous book Pattern Recognition. All of a sudden Youtube turned up. This time, he writes about locative art. I have my iPhone 3G ready, only waiting for the guy who writes the App. Already today you can do such a thing in Googlemaps. Fascinating.
I had tremendous fun reading the book, sometimes it is just typical Gibson: Read it with a smile, and don't take everything too serious.
Let's see what the next book brings... and even more important - let's see what the future brings.
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