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Idoru [NOOK Book]

Overview

2lst century Tokyo, after the millennial quake. Neon rain. Light everywhere blowing under any door you might try to close. Where the New Buildings, the largest in the world, erect themselves unaided, their slow rippling movements like the contractions of a sea-creature.Colin Laney is here looking for work. He is not, he is careful to point out, a voyeur. He is an intuitive fisher of patterns of information, the "signature" a particular individual creates simply by going about the business of living. But Laney ...
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Idoru

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Overview

2lst century Tokyo, after the millennial quake. Neon rain. Light everywhere blowing under any door you might try to close. Where the New Buildings, the largest in the world, erect themselves unaided, their slow rippling movements like the contractions of a sea-creature.Colin Laney is here looking for work. He is not, he is careful to point out, a voyeur. He is an intuitive fisher of patterns of information, the "signature" a particular individual creates simply by going about the business of living. But Laney knows how to sift for the interesting (read: dangerous) bits. Which makes him very useful--to certain people.Chia McKenzie is here on a rescue mission. She's fourteen. Her idol is the singer Rez, of the band Lo/Rez. When the Seattle chapter of the Lo/Rez fan club decided that he might be in trouble, in Tokyo, they sent Chia to check it out.Rei Toei is the beautiful, entirely virtual media star adored by all Japan. The idoru. And Rez has declared that he will marry her. This is the rumor that brought Chia to Tokyo. But the things that bother Rez are not the things that bother most people. Is something different here, in the very nature of reality? Or is it that something violently New is about to happen? It's possible the idoru is as real as she wants or needs to be--or as real as Rez desires. When Colin Laney looks into her dark eyes, trying hard to think of her as no more than a hologram, he sees things he's never seen before. He sees how she might break a man's heart.And, whatever else may be true, the idoru and the powerful interests surrounding her are enough to put all their lives in danger.
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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
Neuromancer made Gibson famous; Idoru cements that fame.
New York Times Book Review
An intoxicating stylist.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The founding father of cyberpunk again returns to the techno-decadent 21st century mapped in his other major works (Virtual Light, Neuromancer, etc.). As usual, Gibson offers a richly imagined tale that finds semi-innocents wading hip-deep into trouble. Colin Laney has taken a job in Japan to escape the revenge of his former employer, Slitscan, a kind of corporate gossip-mongerer on the Net that he has crossed out of scruples. Meanwhile, Chia Pet McKenzie is active in the fan clubs for Lo/Rez, a Japanese superstar rock duo; while visiting Japan to investigate some new rumors about the group, she is used to smuggle illegal nanoware to the Russian criminal underground. Both Laney and Chia get caught up in the intrigues swirling about the plans of Rez, one half of the band, to marry Rei Toei, an "idoru" (idol) who exists only in virtual reality. Gibson excels here in creating a warped but comprehensible future saturated with logical yet unexpected technologies. His settings are brilliantly realized, from high-tech hotel rooms and airplanes to the infamous Walled City of Kowloon. The pacing is slower than Virtual Light, but Gibson exhibits his greatest strength: intense speculation, expressed in dramatic form, about the near-term evolution and merging of cultural, social and technological trends, and how they affect character. Dark and disturbing, this novel represents no new departure for Gibson, but a further accretion of the insights that have made him the most precise, and perhaps the most prescient, visionary working in SF today. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Colin Laney has a gift very much in demand. He can see well-hidden secrets through "nodal points" in the digital wake of commerce. In the not-so-distant future, fame and fortune and their analogs, scandal and ruin, are the true binding agents in a fractured, ungovernable world. Fired from his television tabloid job for an indiscretion, Laney is hired by the manager of the superpopular band Lo/Rez to go to post-earthquake Tokyo and divine the meaning behind singer Lo's intention to marry an idorua sort of a semi-sentient hologram. In alternating chapters, Chia, deeply involved in the Seattle chapter of the Lo/Rez fan club, picks up word of Lo's intentions over a computer network and is sent to investigate. On the way, she acts as the unwitting mule for a smuggler and winds up holding some very dangerous information. Though the plotting is weak and obvious, Gibson's writing is thick with atmosphere, dislocating the reader with a future that is both familiar and unsettling. Gibson's legion of fans will enjoy this fine sf thriller. For all fiction collections.Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal"
Poppy Z. Brite
Gibson's style is vivid, graceful, and dense at the same time. Idoru moves faster than the Road Runner on crack. A wonderful story. Don't pass it up -- even if you don't own a computer. -- The Village Voice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101158050
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/7/2003
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 202,144
  • File size: 297 KB

Meet the Author

Gene Wolfe once said that being an only child whose parents are dead is like being the sole survivor of drowned Atlantis. There was a whole civilization there, an entire continent, but it’s gone. And you alone remember. That’s my story too, my father having died when I was six, my mother when I was eighteen. Brian Aldiss believes that if you look at the life of any novelist, you’ll find an early traumatic break, and mine seems no exception.



I was born on the coast of South Carolina, where my parents liked to vacation when there was almost nothing there at all. My father was in some sort of middle management position in a large and growing construction company. They’d built some of the Oak Ridge atomic facilities, and paranoiac legends of “security” at Oak Ridge were part of our family culture. There was a cigar-box full of strange-looking ID badges he’d worn there. But he’d done well at Oak Ridge, evidently, and so had the company he worked for, and in the postwar South they were busy building entire red brick Levitown-style suburbs. We moved a lot, following these projects, and he was frequently away, scouting for new ones.



It was a world of early television, a new Oldsmobile with crazy rocket-ship styling, toys with science fiction themes. Then my father went off on one more business trip. He never came back. He choked on something in a restaurant, the Heimlich maneuver hadn’t been discovered yet, and everything changed.




My mother took me back to the small town in southwestern Virginia where both she and my father were from, a place where modernity had arrived to some extent but was deeply distrusted. The trauma of my father’s death aside, I’m convinced that it was this experience of feeling abruptly exiled, to what seemed like the past, that began my relationship with science fiction.


I eventually became exactly the sort of introverted, hyper-bookish boy you’ll find in the biographies of most American science fiction writers, obsessively filling shelves with paperbacks and digest-sized magazines, dreaming of one day becoming a writer myself.


At age fifteen, my chronically anxious and depressive mother having demonstrated an uncharacteristic burst of common sense in what today we call parenting, I was shipped off to a private boys’ school in Arizona. There, extracted grub-like and blinking from my bedroom and those bulging plywood shelves, I began the forced invention of a less Lovecraftian persona – based in large part on a chance literary discovery a year or so before.



I had stumbled, in my ceaseless quest for more and/or better science fiction, on a writer name Burroughs -- not Edgar Rice but William S., and with him had come his colleagues Kerouac and Ginsberg. I had read this stuff, or tried to, with no idea at all of what it might mean, and felt compelled – compelled to what, I didn’t know. The effect, over the next few years, was to make me, at least in terms of my Virginia home, Patient Zero of what would later be called the counterculture. At the time, I had no way of knowing that millions of other Boomer babes, changelings all, were undergoing the same metamorphosis.



In Arizona, science fiction was put aside with other childish things, as I set about negotiating puberty and trying on alternate personae with all the urgency and clumsiness that come with that, and was actually getting somewhere, I think, when my mother died with stunning suddenness. Dropped literally dead: the descent of an Other Shoe I’d been anticipating since age six.



Thereafter, probably needless to say, things didn’t seem to go very well for quite a while. I left my school without graduating, joined up with rest of the Children’s Crusade of the day, and shortly found my self in Canada, a country I knew almost nothing about. I concentrated on evading the draft and staying alive, while trying to make sure I looked like I was at least enjoying the Summer of Love. I did literally evade the draft, as they never bothered drafting me, and have lived here in Canada, more or less, ever since.



Having ridden out the crest of the Sixties in Toronto, aside from a brief, riot-torn spell in the District of Columbia, I met a girl from Vancouver, went off to Europe with her (concentrating on countries with fascist regimes and highly favorable rates of exchange) got married, and moved to British Columbia, where I watched the hot fat of the Sixties congeal as I earned a desultory bachelor’s degree in English at UBC.



In 1977, facing first-time parenthood and an absolute lack of enthusiasm for anything like “career”, I found myself dusting off my twelve-year-old’s interest in science fiction. Simultaneously, weird noises were being heard from New York and London. I took Punk to be the detonation of some slow-fused projectile buried deep in society’s flank a decade earlier, and I took it to be, somehow, a sign. And I began, then, to write.




And have been, ever since.




Google me and you can learn that I do it all on a manual typewriter, something that hasn’t been true since 1985, but which makes such an easy hook for a lazy journalist that I expect to be reading it for the rest of my life. I only used a typewriter because that was what everyone used in 1977, and it was manual because that was what I happened to have been able to get, for free. I did avoid the Internet, but only until the advent of the Web turned it into such a magnificent opportunity to waste time that I could no longer resist. Today I probably spend as much time there as I do anywhere, although the really peculiar thing about me, demographically, is that I probably watch less than twelve hours of television in a given year, and have watched that little since age fifteen. (An individual who watches no television is still a scarcer beast than one who doesn’t have an email address.) I have no idea how that happened. It wasn’t a decision.




I do have an email address, yes, but, no, I won’t give it to you. I am one and you are many, and even if you are, say, twenty-seven in grand global total, that’s still too many. Because I need to have a life and waste time and write.




I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here.



























Biography

Science fiction owes an enormous debt to William Gibson, the cyberpunk pioneer who revolutionized the genre with his startling stories of tough, alienated loners adrift in a world of sinister high technology.

Gibson was born in Conway, South Carolina, and spent much of his youth in Virginia with his widowed mother. He grew up shy and bookish, discovering science fiction and the literature of the beats at a precociously early age. When he was 15, he was sent away to private school in Arizona, but he left without graduating when his mother died suddenly. He fled to Canada to avoid the draft and immersed himself in '60s counterculture. He married, moved to British Columbia, and enrolled in college, graduating in 1977 with a degree in English. Around this time he began to write in earnest, combining his lifelong love of science fiction and his newfound passion for the punk music evolving in New York and London.

In the early 1980s, Gibson met writer and punk musician John Shirley and sci-fi authors Lewis Shiner and Bruce Sterling. All three were blown away by the power and originality of Gibson's stories, and together the four men went on to forge a radical new literary movement called cyberpunk. In 1984, Gibson's groundbreaking first novel, Neuromancer, was published. Daring and revolutionary, it envisioned such techno-marvels as AI, virtual reality, genetic engineering, and multinational capitalism years before they became realities. Although it was not an immediate sensation, Neuromancer struck a chord with hardcore sci-fi fans who turned it into a word-of-mouth hit. Then it won the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards (the Triple Crown of Science Fiction), catapulting Gibson into superstardom overnight.

Even if he had never written another word, Gibson's impact would be clearly seen in the works of such cutting-edge contemporary authors as Neal Stephenson, Pat Cadigan, and Paul DiFilippo. But, as it is, Neuromancer was just the beginning -- the first book in an inspired trilogy that has come to be considered a benchmark in the history of the genre; and since then, Gibson has gone on to create even more visionary science fiction, including The Difference Engine, a steampunk classic co-authored with Bruce Sterling, and such imaginative post-9/11 cyber thrillers as Pattern Recognition and Spook Country .

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Ford Gibson (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 17, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Conway, South Carolina
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of British Columbia, 1977

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Even better than Gibson's early work (which is already pretty damn good)

    It is heartening to see what nearly 20 years of seasoning can do for an author. Idoru is a sophisticated, delightful twist on Gibson's previous formula. The characters are more real and engaging, the plot more intuitive and less formulaic than his previous endeavors. Idoru is like great jazz music: when you try to pin down what makes it work, the full answers slip through your fingers.

    I had respect for Gibson when I read Neuromancer, but despite being more famous, it reads like a first novel. This book is seasoned talent let out to play, and it's a joy to behold.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005

    Nothing Happens

    The two positive things i can say about this book is that is has great (really great) characters and a few nifty ideas, most notably the 'New Buildings'. Other than that there is absolutely nothing here. The entire book i was waiting for all this stuff that was happening to boil down to something, but it just never did, nothing grand or very exciting ever happened. This is no where near as good as Neuromancer

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2003

    A rich, character-driven story about the near-future

    I have been a big fan of William Gibson's work since I read Neuromancer so many years ago. Although I was somewhat disappointed by Virtual Light, the follow-up, Idoru, renewed my faith. As the middle book in the Bridge Trilogy, Idoru sets up a diverse cast of characters, including a virtual pop star, a rock star, an avid fan, and a computer technician (for lack of a better term) who sees patterns in fields of data, and draws them all together in post-earthquake Japan. Although Gibson's plot takes some unusual, typically-Gibsonesque leaps, it is the interaction of the characters that will draw you in. A lesser writer would have bungled this, but Gibson's poetic prose is up to the challenge. Like most good science-fiction, Gibson uses his created world to make points about our own, lingering especially long over the topics of the nature of celebrity and the fine line between advanced artificial intelligence and human life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2003

    Gibson's Best

    After I stumbled upon 'Neuromancer' a couple of years ago I read nearly all of Gibson's books (I have tried to pace myself as I would otherwise run out of his titles). Of both triologies I think that 'Idoru' is the best story he has written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd recommend Gibson to anyone, but I would especially recommend this title if you're ready to pursue a really fantastic cyber punk story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    Very Poorly Written

    Awful. Not believable, complicated and disjointed. Not worth paying any price.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2009

    One of Gibson's best.

    I read all of William Gibson's earlier novels after first reading Spook Country. I was never disappointed. Idoru is fine as a standalone novel, but it is great as a lead in to All Tomorrow's Parties.

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