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"All Tomorrow's Parties" is the third book to be set in Gibson's futuristic vision of San Fransico's Golden Gate Bridge - a lawless high-rise shanty town, populated by cyber-hippies, streetwise bohemians, and a cast of future-urban street traders lifted straight out of the set of Bladerunner. The plot will be *totally* mystifying if you haven't already read the earlier books, so I'm not even going to try to explain things here, but interweaves the stories of ex-cop Rydell (hero of the previous book - bored with his current job as a security officer at a convenience store and ready for adventure), Chevette (his 'ex'), Rei-Toy (the "Idoru" - a virtual superstarlet, who exists purely as an AI computer program), and a guy who lives in a cardboard box on the Tokyo subway, permanently jacked into cyberspace (probably a dooyoo addict!). As with most of Gibson's novels, the story comes almost secondary to the scenary... forget the main human characters; the real star of this series is "The Bridge" itself - Gibsons knack for blending convincing futurology with vivid descriptive writing, convincing science, and incredible attention to detail shines throughout. You can't skim-read this stuff - it's extremely rich material; this is the guy who invented the term "Cyberspace" and the entire concept of Virtual Reality as a plot device for his first novel(!) - a true visionary. My only complaint, slight though it is, is that this book is a little light-weight compared to his earlier novels.... big print, short chapters (with big empty gaps between them), and sadly it's all over *way* too soon :-( Nevertheless, this is absolutely top-notch stuff. Gibson is still one of the leading lights of the genre, and this is pretty much mandatory reading for anybody with an interest in Sci Fi ....but make sure you pick up the two earlier installments of the series ("Virtual Light
" and "Idoru") first!
To anyone who has read any of William Gibsons books they will know him for a spinner of dark cyber punk fiction that is set in a future not far removed from our own. All Tomorrows Parties finishes up the tale began in Virtual light following Rydell a good natured old fashioned Southerner whose character is set against the stark futuristic characters that inhabit Gibsons world. He leaves his job as security at the Lucky Dragon convenience store to help a friend and this time for money. Laney has fallen pray to the obsession that is the feared side effect of the drug that gives him his ability with data. Rydell accompanied by an Idouro (a computer generated celebrity) his old girl friend and an assassin with morals must find the focal point for “the change” that Laney can sense coming. An amusing book and a good finish to what could be called Gibson’s “bridge” trilogy this is his darker and more urban side of writing and is recommended to any lover of spy and detective fiction.