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am 23. November 2016
This novel left me puzzled since its opening lines. I admit I re-read the first page a couple of times because it was not clear to me who he was talking about, their whereabouts and especially what they were doing. I had never happened to run into such an incomprehensible starting that in my opinion would have discouraged the most.
But I'm stubborn and I went forward.
In the proceeding, the setting, the characters and the story become clearer, although the understanding is never immediate, but stems from a search of the essential elements in the midst of a flood of digressions, which in most cases have little or nothing relevance to the plot.
This post-disaster San Francisco, with people who have occupied a disused Oakland Bridge and live there, has its own charm, especially for those who love post-apocalyptic fiction (even if it is not my case), and highlights the immense imagination of the author. But the seemingly chaotic way in which the whole is presented makes you almost think that the latter had too many ideas in his head and has not been able to transfer them to the paper in the right way.
Beyond the style that you may like it or not, in my opinion the plot is that in which this novel flaws even more. Removed the numerous digressions and asides, what remains is a weak and short story, with characters that I just cannot get involved with. I had the impression that these were described from the outside, sometimes without the author had the certainty of the facts narrated. Not to mention the cyberspace and virtual light topic, which here is pretty much just mentioned and almost nothing explained. It is also true that it is the first of a series of novels, but it is for sure the last one I read.
I admit that if I had not known before who the author was and what he represented, I would have simply listed it as a bad book by a bad writer. I apologize with Gibson's fans, but I personally believe that reading should be entertainment, while in this case I got often bored and I was also disappointed by the hasty final, subdued if compared to everything else.
In any case, it was still an instructive reading, in some ways, but my judgment must still be linked to the general satisfaction, which was undoubtedly low.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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am 5. Dezember 1997
Chevette, the heroine in Virtual Light, is one of Gibson's finest creations, a bicycle messenger who lives on the Golden Gate bridge with a lot of other homeless people. She's a spunky, streetwise kid, sexy and vulnerable, who hasn't yet lost her innocence. Gibson is obviously a little bit in love with her, as any male would be who reads the novel.
Rydell, the hero, is a security cop assigned to San Francisco to help recover a pair of what appear to be sunglasses stolen by Chevette from an obnoxious masher who had been entrusted with them. Like all Gibson's heros, Rydell is both tough and sensitive, a kind of street samurai of the future.
Despite the charm of the leading characters, the central gimmick-dark glasses that show the wearer where new developments will be built in San Francisco-seems rather mundane in comparison with the cornucopia of technological wonders he created in earlier novels. Plus, the plot is the old one where villains, trying to learn where the city will build next, will kill anyone or do anything to get inside information because it means a lot of money.
The novel is a bit of a disappointment, though not a total loss. Gibson seems to have trouble with conclusions. The one to this novel involves an air strike by characters difficult to tell who they are, what they are doing, or why they are doing it. Yet, it's no worse than other popular thrillers, and it contains a fine cast of fascinating characters.
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am 23. März 1997
Gibson's "sprawl" trilogy founded several new youth subcultures. It captivated it's audience with a dizzying mixture of dark, complex and fantastic elements in a distant future. His newer works are set in a realer, nearer future.

The characters are readily identifiable, so that you feel like you've read about them before. They are tough and vulnerable in all the right places. The story swims through a realistic universe, diving and turning at it's own will. The writing style revives my favourite elements of his past works, including the shifting from one character's point of view to another.

If the movie of "Johnny Mnemonic" hadn't been such a poor representation of the short story, I would recommend that this book enjoy similar Hollywood attention. I've read this book twelve times, twice of which were still in the book store. (I still don't own a copy!) I doubt any newcomer to Gibson's universe could be displeased by what they find lurking in the pages of Virtual Light, and I know that no fan of his previous works could. Read it. Re-read it. Even purchase a copy if need be
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am 6. August 1999
Futuristic drama? Cutting edge suspense? I don't know what these other readers are seeing in this book. All I got was senseless dialogue, idiot characters, technology that isn't fully explained, long rambling passages of senseless thoughts that have no meaning or relation to anything. Notice I didn't mention any plot in that list, because there isn't one. Somebody loses some expensive electronic toy, somebody else finds it, the first person tries to get it back. This would have been better if someone had explained what the thing is, where it comes from, what it does, or why it's so important. We never find out. Instead people get chased for a while, and then.. nothing. The book just stops. No resolution or explanation at all. When I buy a book I expect an actual story, with intelligent (or at least intelligible) dialogue, and characters that seem like more than cardboard cutouts. This book sadly fails on all these counts.
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am 13. Juli 1998
This is an excellent story. Gibson is definitely cutting edge in his writing with regards to incorporating technology and creating new terms. Everything that I've read by him has been based far enough in the future to be new, but close enough that the world is still real and not made up of flying cars and alien races. In other words, cyberpunk but try not to get the negative feelings about that word that a lot of people get. Instead this is an intense thriller incorporating virtual reality, designer drugs, new age weaponry, new religions and many other things which quickly pull you into this world rather than your own. It centers around two people: one an ex-cop and ex-rent-a-cop and the bicycle messenger. They quickly find their lives colliding over the theft of a pair of sunglasses. You definitely should read this and other novels by Gibson; I believe that he will continue to be a driving force in cutting edge suspense.
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am 22. März 1999
Virtual Light left me kind of cold, but it wasn't until after reading it that I realized why: it is *too* Gibsonian. The usual Gibson textures are there, with a few delicious nuggets like bridges becoming squatting grounds and police state satellites, but in other areas his technology vision seems constrained to everyday objects like laptops and airplane video games. The real fault here is the incredibly light plot. Things seem to happen for no reason, and I found myself skipping ahead, looking for the next techno-description. Plot has never been WG's strong suit (quick, anybody remember the plot of Count Zero or Mona Lisa?) but the rewards for enduring it here are comparatively thin. If you're looking for post-Neuromancer-era Gibson, pick up Idoru instead.
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am 6. August 1999
I enjoyed this book immensely, and I have tried to read Gibson's books "in order" (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa, and then this one). Although some people may be quite right in claiming that this book contains not quite the technological visions in the great quantities that were in his previous writings, the plot moved along at a quick pace.
Yes, his writing style would be considered sparse, and in this one even more so than usual, but the characters were interesting, and I guess I found the habitation of the Bridge to be fascinating. I think if you are wanting hard core tech, look elsewhere. However if you enjoy a writing style which to me personally was more a mix of pulp and some sci-fi, than you will enjoy this book.
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am 22. März 1997
Unlike many of his works, Virtual Light is a simple notch ahead on the timeline. Russian cops in Frisco. A simple act by a bike courier triggers the wrath of international business and their hirelings. Next year's quake turns the bay bridge into a squatter's paradise, with dripping rain and power spikes. It could happen soon and the pace never stops in this thriller where technology is not the star, just stuff all around us as we try to survive. I read it and lost sleep one night. Curious thing, though, often I see parts of Virtual Light in clips on the web, and the news. It douses the 19th century Doctrine of Progress and takes Futurists down to a gritty reality. A must read for anyone who cares what's over the top of tomorrow
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am 26. November 1998
Don't get me wrong, this is a William Gibson book, and it's great for that reason. His writing style is beyond reproach, and the future that he writes about is so bullet proof its as he's actually been there. But the problem with this book is that he uses the tired method of the storylines about individual characters that in the climatic scene all fall together and into place... It works, yes, but how many books with that exact same story path can we stand from one man? But like I said, it's a great book because William Gibson writes great books. But if this trend continues he will NEVER get up to the level he was at with Neuromancer.
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am 4. Oktober 1999
"Why can't you give zero stars?" I'm sorry that the person who said this feels that way, because to me everything that Gibson has written provides an enjoyable experiance. "Technology that isn't fully explained...don't know what it does or how it does it..." Gibsons ambiguity is what makes the books interesting. He gives skeletal details, and your imagination fills in the details. Techno-babble and an alternate future make for an interesting story despite, or maybe because of, the lackluster plot and un-inspired characters, but an interesting story it is, which means that it's a good book.
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