Virtual Light

( 10 )

Overview

Now, with his most fascinating novel to date, Gibson looks into our very near future, bringing it into sharp and darkly comic focus. Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, 2005, the uneasy sister-states of Northern and Southern California, in a nation and society still divided along seismic fault lines of wealth and power...chasms seldom crossed except in fear, exploitation, or violence. The millennium has come and gone, leaving in its wake the ruins of our outworn modern era and the first chaotic suggestions of a new ...
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Virtual Light

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Overview

Now, with his most fascinating novel to date, Gibson looks into our very near future, bringing it into sharp and darkly comic focus. Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, 2005, the uneasy sister-states of Northern and Southern California, in a nation and society still divided along seismic fault lines of wealth and power...chasms seldom crossed except in fear, exploitation, or violence. The millennium has come and gone, leaving in its wake the ruins of our outworn modern era and the first chaotic suggestions of a new paradigm. In Tokyo a new city is growing from the rubble of Godzilla the Superquake. In San Francisco Mr. Yamazaki, a Japanese anthropology student, investigates the deeper meaning of an anarchic squatter community constructed around the disused Bay Bridge. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Berry Rydell just wants to make a living. Not the easiest thing for an ex-cop from Tennessee to do - now that the network has decided not to base that episode of Cops in Trouble on his brief but all too eventful career with the Knoxville P.D. Rydell signs on with IntenSecure Armed Response, driving a six-wheeled Hotspur Hussar... It's only a matter of time before he runs into Chevette Washington, a bicycle messenger who has just crashed the wrong party...and who is about to pick the pocket of another kind of courier - an employee of Costa Rica's Medellin-financed havens of illicit data. When IntenSecure sends Rydell to San Francisco to drive for Lucius Warbaby, a skip-tracer in the Virtual Reality maze of DatAmerica, Rydell and Chevette find themselves on a journey into the ecstasy and dread that mirror each other at the heart of the postmodern experience. A tour de force of relentless suspense, daring insight, and graphic intensity Virtual Light is a provocative and unforgettable portrait of life on the edge of the twenty-first century.

The New York Times bestselling "cyber-mystery thriller" by the visionary creator of Mona Lisa Overdrive. In 2005 in the states of Northern and Southern California, an ex-cop agrees to track down a young thief who has stolen a valuable technological prototype--for which a mysterious corporation will pay any price or break any law to get back.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
  "A stunner... A terrifically stylish burst of  kick-butt imagination." -- Entertainment  Weekly

"Convincing...  Frightening...Virtual Light is  written with a sense of craft, a sense of humor and a  sense of the ultimate seriousness of the problems  it explores." -- Chicago  Tribune

"In the emerging pop culture  of the information age, Gibson is the brightest  star." -- The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Although considered the  master of 'cyberpunk' science fiction, William Gibson  is also one fine suspense writer." --  People

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gibson's cyberpunk thriller set in a near-future L.A.--a two-week PW bestseller--depicts the hunt for virtual reality glasses containing classified data. (Aug.)
Carl Hays
Since the ground-breaking "Neuromancer" (1984), Gibson has been the acknowledged dean of cyberpunk, the sf subgenre that merges cutting-edge technology with the street-smart grittiness of crime fiction. In a departure from his first three novels, which plumbed the intricacies of the cyberspace universe called the Matrix, Gibson here follows the sometimes violent misadventures of Rydell, an ex-security guard, and Chevette, a San Francisco bike messenger, as they unwittingly become ensnared in a plot involving a pair of high-tech-virtual-reality sunglasses. When Chevette impulsively steals the glasses from a wealthy customer at a party, she immediately attracts the heat of a private security team that hires Rydell as a driver. After running afoul of his noticeably corrupt employers, Rydell joins forces with Chevette in a perilous contest with their adversaries when the pair discovers the real nature and dire purpose of the sunglasses. Once again, Gibson proves masterly at fusing razor-edged characterizations with a richly textured, crisply described background via electrifying prose. (One particularly ingenious idea here is the transformation of the San Francisco Bay Bridge into a sprawling enclave for the city's homeless.) Much of the novel's conceptual turf is already well-traveled territory for Gibson, but routine Gibson is still superb science fiction. Discriminating fans, whether of cyberpunk in particular or not, won't be disappointed by his latest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553566062
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 365,527
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

William Gibson
William Gibson's feat of imagination, embodied by the seminal "cyberpunk" novel Neuromancer and subsequent sci-fi techno titles, was in presaging the Information Age and coining some of its language even as he remained a technological laggard who eschewed computers.

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 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A true Sci-fi Master

    Loved it. Can't say a bad word. Gets deeper and more prophetic with each novel. Please keep writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2003

    Somewhat disappointing for a master like Gibson

    Although William Gibson is an accomplished science fiction writer (you may or may not know that his seminal debut Neuromancer coined the term 'cyberspace'), this book doesn't do his talents justice. The plot revolves around a bicycle messenger who steals what she assumes to be an ordinary pair of glasses at a party, only to find that she got a lot more than she bargained for. The story is populated by edgy characters, and Gibsons' poetic prose breathes real life into the world he has created (a near-future version of California), but the plot moved slowly and failed to draw me in. This book is the first of a trilogy that includes Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties, so hopefully the story picks up in the next volume.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2001

    abriged, but great

    This is the best book on tape i ever heard. I had allready read the print book and was wary of the casset, but Peter Weller (Robo Cop) read it fabulously. The voices he chose for the characters were distinct and fit well with what i had imagened. Its a classic Gibson story and conbined the cyber punk with a slightly different perspective very well (it's told mainly from the pov of non-hackers).

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    Posted May 26, 2010

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