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Pattern Recognition

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Very good

'Pattern Recognition' is very different from Gibson's 'cyberpunk' novels and better. Less reliance on the technical and less time spent educating the reader on the novel's context. The characters are more developed and complex than in his prior novels. I loved the co...
'Pattern Recognition' is very different from Gibson's 'cyberpunk' novels and better. Less reliance on the technical and less time spent educating the reader on the novel's context. The characters are more developed and complex than in his prior novels. I loved the conceit of the heroin's occupation -- coolhunter -- and the characterization of her ability as a 'phobia' or 'allergy' to mass market designs. Her skill or condition, if you will, gives force to her judgment of the authenticity of the internet movie clips which form the central mystery of the book. The story eventually evaporates into a cloud of unknowing for her just as opaque as the mystery of the film and reflecting the ultimate question 'so what?' Cayce Pollard's quest is to learn why the movie seems 'real' to her as only her father's love has ever been to her before. As with most good novels, it is full of insights into the world that evoke the reader's recognition. A good read.

posted by Anonymous on May 8, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A struggle...

This book takes the reader into the world of Cayce Pollard. Pollard is paid to rpedict trends in advertising and has a strange phobia to certain logos. The plot involves the search for the creator of film clips that are being released on the internet. Pollard is paid...
This book takes the reader into the world of Cayce Pollard. Pollard is paid to rpedict trends in advertising and has a strange phobia to certain logos. The plot involves the search for the creator of film clips that are being released on the internet. Pollard is paid to hunt for the creator, and the trip takes to Japan, and Russia. I found the book hard to follow. The text rambled at times. I also didn't connect with Pollard and the obsession with the film. If you are a Gibson fan, this book may appeal to you. However, if you have not read any of Gibson's work I would not recommend this book to be your first.

posted by Anonymous on June 14, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2006

    Very good

    'Pattern Recognition' is very different from Gibson's 'cyberpunk' novels and better. Less reliance on the technical and less time spent educating the reader on the novel's context. The characters are more developed and complex than in his prior novels. I loved the conceit of the heroin's occupation -- coolhunter -- and the characterization of her ability as a 'phobia' or 'allergy' to mass market designs. Her skill or condition, if you will, gives force to her judgment of the authenticity of the internet movie clips which form the central mystery of the book. The story eventually evaporates into a cloud of unknowing for her just as opaque as the mystery of the film and reflecting the ultimate question 'so what?' Cayce Pollard's quest is to learn why the movie seems 'real' to her as only her father's love has ever been to her before. As with most good novels, it is full of insights into the world that evoke the reader's recognition. A good read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2004

    A struggle...

    This book takes the reader into the world of Cayce Pollard. Pollard is paid to rpedict trends in advertising and has a strange phobia to certain logos. The plot involves the search for the creator of film clips that are being released on the internet. Pollard is paid to hunt for the creator, and the trip takes to Japan, and Russia. I found the book hard to follow. The text rambled at times. I also didn't connect with Pollard and the obsession with the film. If you are a Gibson fan, this book may appeal to you. However, if you have not read any of Gibson's work I would not recommend this book to be your first.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    A departure from the norm

    William Gibson's ground-breaking debut novel Neuromancer set new standards for science fiction, launched the sub-genre 'cyberpunk,' and coined the term 'cyberspace.' For his latest, Gibson steps away from the near-future, and into the post-9/11 present. Protagonist Cayce Pollard posesses a sensitivity to advertising that makes her valuable to advertising agencies looking to determine which campaigns and logos and trends will be successful. While working in London for one agency, she determines that her employer has a hidden agenda for hiring her: he wants her to discover the creator of mysterious footage that has created a devoted following on the internet. Cayce is haunted throughout by the disappearance (and possible death) of her father in New York during September 11's terrorist attacks. As usual, Gibson displays his knack for strong, interesting characters. Although Gibson usually ends his books awkwardly, I thought he managed to tie everything up satisfactorily. The weakness of Pattern Recognition lies in it's slow pacing and sometimes tangential interuptions. It's an even work, but worth reading for fans and non-fans alike. It's always interesting to watch an artist stretch himself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Not perfect, but well done from a Web SF master

    I am a Gibson fan from WAY back, Neuromancer being one of my favorite books of all time, and I truly mean that! I had the opportunity to read Pattern Recognition back-to-back with a fine denouement to the Rei Toei Trilogy, All Tomorrow's Parties, and I thought this was very helpful to make comparisons to. Overall, I enjoyed this book greatly, right up till about thirty pages from the end...which is a shame, because the anticlimax and absurdity of part of the ending ruined what truly WOULD have been Gibson's best book since his first. The premise of the footage and the hunt for its maker were all pure Gibson, rendering the novel's setting in the post-9/11 world irrelevant when compared with Gibson's prior settings of 'the not too distant future,' although why he felt use of this sensational date was necessary is beyond me; it felt like little more than a superfluous, thrown-in plot point. Also Cayce Pollard makes for a most compelling heroine, easily Gibson's most fully-formed since his more famous Case, and I found her 'allergy' to trademarks fascinating, as any good intellectual property attorney would! The steps she takes to determining the footage's maker, and the eventual revelation of the same, is full of a pathos and tenderness I'd not ever really gotten from a Gibson novel, and it was really welcome. After such a revelation, then, no wonder everything came as an anticlimax. And yet, the book DOES end on this bad note, not so much emotionally as with too many loose ends neatly, and almost incredulously, sewn up. Gibson's ending here suffers from what I call 'the MASH syndrome,' after an insufferable episode of the TV show where absolutely EVERY SINGLE THING revolves around one patient's recovery there. (Truth to tell, I think one reason why everyone dislikes George Lucas' latest Star Wars efforts is due to this same thing, such as Anakin being the creator of C-3PO. Is the galaxy really that small?) Much like in that episode then, characters are linked together and used in the ending pages of Pattern Recognition in ways that will have you near-laughter, saying, 'Does he really expect me to believe THAT?' And don't even get me STARTED on the 'duck in the face' references, I simply hated them! Still, this is not meant to be a negative criticism at all, and I hope my tone doesn't give that impression. Gibson's ear for fantastic-sounding prose is fully-intact here, and both the premise and major plot points of Pattern Recognition are credible and gripping, especially in these early years of the 21st Century. It's just that when wrapping up a great meal, you would like dessert to be perfect as well...and in this one case, the Master of Cyberpunk sort of let me down. At least I had All Tomorrow's Parties to fall back on though. Hope everyone enjoys ALL this wonderful writer's simply awesome works.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Cayce Pollard, a cool hunter paid to predict the hottest trends,

    Cayce Pollard, a cool hunter paid to predict the hottest trends, is in London where she has been hired to evaluate the redesign of a famous corporate logo. Upon completion of this project she is offered another assignment: to track down the maker of the obscure video clips that have taken the internet by storm and created a worldwide underground subculture.

    While in pursuit of this mysterious maker, traveling from London to Tokyo to Moscow, she finds herself thrust into the seedy underbelly of the marketing world of which she's observed for so long. Along the way she finds herself facing questions surrounding her father, who disappeared in Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001.

    Just as Alice descended into Wonderland, the lines between what was real to Cayce and what could only be perceived begin to blur.

    The author, William Gibson, truly has a gift. His characters are believable, if not directly relatable. He is able to set the scene without overuse of description.

    I found the idea of the footage very intriguing. I found the sensitivity of the main character, Cayce, to be rather amusing while still being believable.

    Overall, I found this story to be well-written and intriguing without going beyond the realm of possibility.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Audio

    I listened to this as an audio book & truely enjoyed the tale. Perhaps, as with "An Archers Tale", the rhythm of the writing is better displayed while read out loud.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    This is one of my very favorite books. The plot is enthralling,

    This is one of my very favorite books. The plot is enthralling, the characters haunting, and the prose is so gorgeous that I reread some paragraphs just for the beauty of the writing.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not one of Gibson's best. That being said that still places it h

    Not one of Gibson's best. That being said that still places it higher than a lot of novels. Although it doesn't have you addicted like a junkie from the pages of his cyberpunk novels it is a really fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    I've only read a few William Gibson books. So far, this is my f

    I've only read a few William Gibson books. So far, this is my favorite. Very fresh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2010

    Not A Lot Here

    A cool character in an otherwise empty story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing, as in, nothing to see here!

    The author's style is a rambling convoluted waste of words. Any redeeming qualities was lost in the stress of attempting to follow the plot. I am left with the question, what was the point of this book?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gibson, realtime

    The William Gibson books I've read previously have been set in the future, in distant places. Pattern Recognition is now, in places you can recognize. Don't worry though. The story is just as engaging. Sci Fi in realtime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    The best sense Neuromancer

    This is a book that at times rings like poetry. I still have moments of stress where the phrase 'He took a duck in the face at 200 knots' pops into my head and makes me laugh

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2005

    Slightly disappointed...

    I've read all of Gibson's previous works so this was much anticipated. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to expectations. Although the language and imagery were great (as always), the plot was directionless. I was left wondering what I had read because it definitely wasn't a well-structured story. The main character wasn't that interesting either. I was kind of...bored. The highlight of the entire book was the discription of the London flat at the beginning. Seriously. I'm a Gibson fan but in this case, buy the paperback.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    Good, but not Great

    Gibson is perhaps regaining his stride with his latest endeveaor into humans and their interaction with technology. However it rambles, readily loses the reader, and unless your a devoted Gibson nut you might wonder why exactly it all matters. Until he pulls it togther in the last thirty pages, gathers up his plot lines and fianlly stitches a cohesive story. Make no mistake, I loved it, yet I also loved Lord of the Rings for its action... All devotees of Science Fiction literature should read this, but to the outsider I say read Neuromancer first, then venture on into the present.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    Very disappointing indeed

    I tried and tried and tried to like this book...I even treid to find a plot of some sort in all the ramblings, but the book ended and I still felt like nothing happened. Maybe I expected too much of Gibson, but the whole thought that some footage on the Interent being so interesting that someone will track it to the ends of the earth is just stupid to me. Who really cares? As far as the 'allergy' to trademarks goes..also, how stupid is that? I kept waiting for something to happen in this book and was disappointed. Nothing ever did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    a bit disappointing

    Uneven writing. Some passages read like Gibson's best work, but unfortunately there are lots of dry spots. Cayce's allergy to trademarks (or 'highly codified behavior') could have done with more vivid description, similar to what Gibson did with his descriptions of cyberspace. The inclusion of 9/11 seems somewhat beside the point. Overall the story was interesting, but not as engaging as some of his earlier books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003

    A new world yet familiar...

    This book is surprising. The whole story happens today, in our world. But Gibson mind works differently when it comes to observe and put together a representation of that world: you end up in a complete different dimension, where things that you see everyday take a whole new meaning, and the world in itself takes another twist. The story is compeling but IMO is just a framework to develop that different vision of the world. Welcome to the Gibsonth Dimension.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2003

    What a waste of time

    I actually had to force myself to finish this one. I kept hoping there was a plot, some rhymne or reason, anything to help explain the bizarre ramblings. I don't think I will read this author again.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    Sorry, but this one misses the mark.

    I've read all of Gibson's other published works. He is the only fiction writer whose works I look forward to. This one misses the mark. The style is close to his others, but the story is tedious. When it takes a narration during a dinner to explain what has been going on, rather than the action, then something is missing. I'm sorry to say it, but I agree with Mike Varela's review.

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