The Null Device

Pattern Recognition

Rudy Rucker on William Gibson's new novel, Pattern Recognition. The concepts sound interesting, at least superficially.

Mind you, one of the things I don't like about William Gibson's novels is that his characters are all from the same small set of cardboard cutouts. Everyone is, it seems, either a grizzled mercenary techie of some sort, a future-dwelling mutant geek with special senses or a sassy, butt-kicking teenage girl. In fact, I can't remember the differences between his last 2 or 3 novels, because they all melted into one amalgam of hard-boiled one-liners, snippets of disjointed, future-shocked pop culture and random Japanese things. The review suggests that Pattern Recognition may go in the same direction; we already have a hard-boiled "cool hunter" who's so sensitive to things that she's physically allergic to brand names and the obligatory Tokyo references.

I'll probably buy it anyway; whether I remember anything of the plot afterward is another question entirely.

There are 8 comments on "Pattern Recognition":

Posted by: Graham Fri Feb 7 12:17:45 2003

Yeah, but Neal Stephenson novels have grizzled mercinary techies and sassy butt kicking teenage girls too. They're both fun reads though.

Posted by: acb Fri Feb 7 16:47:43 2003

At least Neal Stephenson's characters aren't as cookie-cutterish as William Gibson's. Perhaps he has a better sense of psychological realism or something? Gibson's characters have all the inner life of sitcom characters.

Posted by: cat http:// Fri Feb 7 22:56:57 2003

have you actually READ a gibson novel? from the way you describe things in that post it sure sounds like you haven't. you should actually open the book and read it once in a while instead of just basing your opinion on the covers/blurbs.

Posted by: acb Sat Feb 8 06:04:34 2003

Actually, yes; I've read all his work up to All Tomorrow's Parties.

I liked his early stuff, but I don't think his less stylised post-cyberpunk work holds up well.

Posted by: Claire Sat Feb 8 21:06:10 2003

I always thought that Gibson was all about style. You don't read his stuff for characters, or plots, or even ideas, you read it for the ride.

Posted by: acb Sun Feb 9 04:04:50 2003

True, though his "near-future" novels are somewhat more staid than his early cyberpunk writing.

I suppose it's sort of like Chuck Palahniuk; however much you liked Fight Club and enjoyed Survivor, his following novels are just more of the same.

Posted by: richard Sun Feb 9 23:15:57 2003

Claire: spot-on there

Posted by: acb Wed Feb 12 04:34:37 2003

Slashdot's review of Pattern Recognition. It does appear to be more of the same. I'll probably wait until the paperback comes out.