am 2. Juli 2008
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.
am 15. Dezember 2007
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.
am 26. August 2007
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. Again a lady from a gallery hired by a wealthy freak to search for some artist but the real quest is something different. I've read on, just because his use of words is most impressive and hilariously funny. The characters are deep, colorful and you realy get to know them. The story is complicated, incorporates loads of details from the hidden world of espionage, crime and war. Me and the book became good friends when he featured a great car (Phaeton) and cuba as a country with a history. Like when in pattern recognition he dissed Mr. Hilfinger and the protagonist puked whenever she saw a piece of clothing from him.
Apart from this, the book fascinated me, as the story develops by telling the views of three people which are not the focus of the action, but bystanders, watching the characters move and push the storyline. Themselves just being pushed and shoved. As you never know the thoughts of the characters in play, the reader is left in the unknown about the motives and goals, the story and the end of the book stays a secret, like in Neuromancer, where the intentions of wintermute and neuromancer are only revealed near the end of the book.
His calm storytelling felt like meditation, even when the story is full of action. The tao is flowing in his words like nowhere else, ok, Iain M. Banks is very good as well.
The end of the book is ... no spoiler here. It just leaves you with the feeling of a story told and ended in all aspects, but the longing for more time inside is still strong.
Have a good time reading it!
am 8. August 2008
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.
I had a hard time figuring out what this book was about in the beginning. If the author didn't have a good reputation, I would have stopped after 30 pages. I wish I had. The fully developed story wasn't worth the time and effort.
Why do we read spy stories? In part, it's because we want to see good versus evil. That element is present here. In part, it's because we want to see a different and more vivid way of living. That, too, is present. In part, it's because we want to root for the good guys. That's where the book starts to leak a bit. It's hard to tell who the good guys are until near the end. In part, it's also because we like gadgets (such as Q provides for 007). There are a few here, but it's not terribly gee whiz.
A good spy story is also lean and moves rapidly. Spook Country wanders all over the map into places where it doesn't need to go. Edit the book down by 150 pages, and it could have been a fun read. Some wandering is good when it causes you to think about new things. This wandering didn't stimulate me that way.
So what's the book about? It opens with former pop musician Hollis Henry pursuing her new career as a journalist. She is to write about a new form of virtual reality art for a magazine that's in prelaunch mode, Node. She's a little skeptical about the assignment because the editor hasn't been following through on paying her hotel bill. Matters become more complicated when a reclusive billionaire with a different agenda enters the story.
In a parallel story line, Tito comes from a line of Cuban communists and does intelligence gathering jobs. He's in the middle of finding out more about his dead father from his Tia Juana (yes, I spelled that correctly).
In the third story line, Milgram lives from one drug dose to the next. Fortunately for Milgram, he has an unusual language skill that a mysterious man with a pocket full of drugs needs.
Before the story ends, the three story lines will mesh into spy versus spy versus spy as the location of a mysterious container is fought over. But it takes a long time for that meshing to happen. While you wait, you will have a chance to read about lots of brand names in an apparent satire of the 007 movies.
When you are done, if you are like me, you'll say, "Who cares?"