Turn On Your Dead Televisions, It’s the New William Gibson Novel

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Years of being sent free books by publishers have made me something of a jaded bastard. But I uttered an involuntary ‘sweet’ today when I opened a package containing an early copy of Spook Country, William Gibson’s new novel, which is due out August 7.

Dedicated Gibson-watchers know that he tends to stick with a mood and a setting and run with it for several books, and it seems like here he’s continuing to groove on the same contemporary future-is-now! vibe that his last book Pattern Recognition had. He’s also a diligent plot-recycler (doing his part to husband literature’s precious sustainable resources, no doubt), and Spook Country smacks — though not unpleasantly — of both Pattern Recognition and its precursor, Count Zero, in its preoccupation with the search for a mysterious, reclusive artist.

Your heroine is Hollis Henry, a freelance journalist assigned by a Wired-like startup magazine called Node to write about (mysterious, reclusive) artist who creates hologram-installations of historic events on the sites where they actually happened. Gibson’s books are usually about his pet topics of the moment, as much as they’re about his characters, so here’s a brief list of Spook Country’s idees fixes: art, forgery, drugs, Manhattan, Los Angeles, large quantities of data, pirates (here I’m quoting the press release), the CIA, tramp freighters, weapons of mass destruction, war profiteers, and “vast amounts of cash leaving the country.” And here’s your first line:

“Rausch,” said the voice in Hollis Henry’s cell. “Node,” it said.

Meh. But the chapter is entitled “White Lego.” Nice.