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Spook Country (Blue Ant #2)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  12,353 ratings  ·  1,199 reviews
Gibsons first new book in four years is, like the bestselling and critically acclaimed Pattern Recognition, a contemporary novel with international implications.
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Putnam Adult (first published 2007)
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Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
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Lee
Sep 12, 2007 Lee added it
I finished reading William Gibson's newest novel, Spook Country, a few days ago and have been trying to figure out how I feel about it. It is one of the few books I have eagerly scooped up in hardcover, I loved his Pattern Recognition so much. The promise of another book set in what can only be called the "extreme contemporary" moment was too much for me to pass up or wait for paperback to experience.

Unfortunately, Spook Country does not rise to the level of its predecessor. The main problem, in...more
(0v0)
It's a little thin. Compulsively readable, nicely plotted, and delightful in its references to places and technologies of the 2006 moment. (In this, I read it under the right conditions: the day it was released, on an LA-NY flight. It opens on the block in which I used to live. I drove past Gray's Papaya in midtown just as his characters had breakfast there.)

But the thing is, the characters just get thinner and thinner. It's intentional, I guess. He's trying to create new archetypes. But it make...more
Enrique Ramirez
I was disappointed by this book. William Gibson, touted as a writer with ideas, handles the conceptual with a surprising lack of deftness. In one sense, this book is about name-checking pop culture ephemera and devices. More attention is given to the description of the insoles of Adidas GSG-9 boots and cesium bullets than actual story development. The "chapters" are anything but, and give the novel the feel of a technologically-mediated novela on Univision.

But, more on the object-oriented aspec...more
Brad
This has to be the least thrilling thriller I've ever read. I never felt like there were any serious stakes for any of our three protagonists -- unless it was during the incessant tooth brushing scenes. Indeed, all the major characters in Spook Country have impeccable oral hygiene, but I digress.

Hollis Henry, former lead singer of The Curfew turned journalist for Node, finds herself embroiled in a mystery --care of Hubertus Bigend and Blue Ant -- that jumps from L.A. to Vancouver. She's on the...more
Jen
Although this was generally an interesting read, for me it had some fundamental problems. 1) For the first 50 pages I found myself daydreaming and constantly having to reread bits 2) The contemporary technology in this book is going to soon date itself. I don't know if Gibson considers this scifi, but the issues at hand (and the technology) already feel a little dated. Though as a result, I suppose it may appeal to a wider audience than other scifi or technical mysteries. 3) It was truly anticli...more
Adam
Sep 03, 2007 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans and conspiracy theorists
No matter when or where it is set, all the best science fiction is really about the present day. William Gibson takes this idea to its logical conclusion and writes about the present day as if it were science fiction.

Gibson seems mostly concerned with how our (real) technologies are transforming us. His main character, Hollis Henry (love the strong female characters that are always present in Gibson's work), the lead singer of a defunct band from the '90s, who is now trying to make it as a journ...more
Matt
I've been reading William Gibson for a few years now, well after "The Movement" came and went and the world adopted and forgot the term "cyberspace." I wish I had been around to feel the freshness of that way of visualizing data, but it's a sad fact that I'm young enough to simply take that for granted. Possibly, kids who grew up around Cape Canaveral have the same take on Heinlein.

At any rate, "Spook Country" isn't a novel of the near-future, but the here-and-now, and, honestly, it's everything...more
Mark Bukovec
Oct 20, 2007 Mark Bukovec rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gibson fans
I don't know that I have much to say about this. I enjoyed it on a sentence level almost exclusively. I didn't think it was an interesting story, and it came off as a watered-down version of Pattern Recognition.

There's no way to know this, but I have this weird suspicion Gibson struggled writing this book. There's no strong idea behind it. The chapters (all very short) have a self-enclosed feel. Oddly, they all have chapter titles, which you don't see much these days. I'd get to the end of one a...more
David
Jul 20, 2012 David rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian-speaking Cubans, journalists who were in the band
I struggled to find a reason to give this 3 stars and... I couldn't. Because the first book in the series, Pattern Recognition, was okay, and I gave it 3 stars, and this book just... did nothing for me. Usually 2 stars means I actively disliked or was annoyed by a book (as opposed to 1 star, which means I hate it with the passion of a thousand burning suns), but Spook Country just bored me.

Part of the problem was that it's a multi-POV book with short chapters switching between a very different c...more
Matt
William Gibson is one of the few writers that I make it a point to be in the store on release day of a new novel. I first inhaled 'Spook Country' over a two day period. I was initially disappointed, for reasons I cannot quite put my finger on. The best I could come up with was that it wasn't quite 'Gibsony' enough for me.

However, having just reread it in a more methodical manner, I have to reverse my initial opinion and declare my love for this book.

The usual, interesting cast of characters is...more
Ron
Mar 21, 2009 Ron rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
Gibson weaves another dark mystery from the narrow viewpoints of exotic, solitary characters, as they move through a complex "day after tomorrow" alternate present. We follow an ex-Cuban "spy family", shuttling secrets from buyer to seller on iPods, and an ex-rocker now journalist covering a software engineer working with "locative artists". These artists build 3D visual simulations that appear overlaid in a particular place when viewed through Gibson's beloved VR helmet. All of this leads to a...more
Brooke
After the spectacular Pattern Recognition, Gibson returns to his normal fuzzy ways and once again seems to write the same book he'd already written a half-dozen times prior to this. Three narratives once again unspool alongside each other until they converge in the end, where they finally arrive at a McGuffin (this time, a mysterious shipping crate). The purpose of the McGuffin is vague, of course, although it did seem a little more relevant to the themes of the book than the glasses in Virtual...more
Ben Babcock
Can a thriller also anaesthetize? Spook Country tries to find out. It has all the trappings of a modern espionage story, with quasi—government agents and a mysterious shipping container being tracked by a paranoid GPS geohacker. Yet William Gibson seems strangely reticent to let the story or the characters off their leash and venture boundlessly into this world. Instead, he escorts the reader on a meandering tour of a possible present (or near-future) which ponders how recent technological innov...more
Jeff
I fell for Pattern Recognition like a shmo dating out of his league. It was so much cooler than I was, and my doorway into that cooler world. I had to run to keep up with the first 50 pages, but I loved being out of breath.

Did I mature? Or was Spook Country just less hot? I suppose I should develop some cogency about that question, but I'm too stunned for that yet. The book is good. Whatever kind of semi-science-fiction this is (I can't imagine the publishing world hasn't already devised some Ca...more
Wealhtheow
Aug 21, 2011 Wealhtheow rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Dana
Set in the same world as Pattern Recognition. Hollis Henry, former singer for a 90s band with a cult following, is now a freelance journalist. While investigating an underground art scene, she stumbles across a conspiracy that stretches across the globe. Young man Tito and junkie/linguist Milgrim are involved as well. The chapters are about three pages long each, and pretty much nothing happens. Everyone talks in short, choppy non-sequitars that they then explain at unrealistic length. At the en...more
Pwntalive
Aug 31, 2007 Pwntalive rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pattern Recognition fans, no one else
Every author should only write one great book. all others should be burned. and i will be the arbiter of what single work is that authors most outstanding work. Otherwise, authors who introduce a new genera should be made to never write in that style again, as their contributions to society via the introduction of a genera far outweigh their ability to pile prose together in anything other then episodic poppycock.

at some point in the recent past, gibson decided that the life of the slightly ecce...more
Fred Ramsey
Aug 13, 2007 Fred Ramsey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who hadn't read William Gibson before.
Well, I finished it. It was good, but overall I have to say that Mr. Gibson has fallen into a rut. I have but one suggestion for him: go out on a limb. Try going forward again. Take all your strengths and apply it to something a little more bold, perhaps attempt to truly look forward 20 to 50 years, or go way out and write a good space opera.

But enough with the John Grisham. Please.


* * *

Still in progress. William Gibson is my Rowling. I will drop whatever I am doing to read a new book by him.

How...more
Dan
Aug 13, 2007 Dan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cyberpunk fans, hipsters, spy fiction fans
The story consists of the interwoven plot arcs of 3 different Characters: Hollis Henry a retired indie rocker turned journalist, Tito a mysterious boy in a family of Cuban organized criminals specializing in smuggling and forgery, and Milgrim a Russian translator addicted to designer anti anxiety drugs who is being held captive by a government agent. This book is set in the same contemporary world as Pattern Recognition and shares some of the characters.


I really liked this book a lot. Neuromanc...more
JBedient
I don't want to knock Gibson. I really don't. Back in the day I really enjoyed Neuromancer and The Difference Engine, as well as other works and some of his short stories, but here with Spook Country, I found myself just not caring about the characters or the plot or even Gibson's sleek descriptions of various designer voodoo. I felt like I gave this book a fair shake by plodding through a hundred and some odd pages before giving up... I don't know, it just didn't feel "authentic" to me...

Aband...more
Pamela
Let me first state that I have always been a fan of William Gibson. I found Neuromancer wholly original, and Pattern Recognition an absolute joy to read. With this in mind Spook Country left me entirely underwhelmed.

Perhaps this feeling I have comes a lot from the way I approach this book. By this I mean my cultural milieu. I approached it from the point of view of a ‘young Australian’. It felt like there were so many things in this book I could simply not relate to. My youth made the language s...more
Maria Grazia
Classico esempio di libro ben scritto ma scarsino dal punto di vista ispirazione. Una storia del dopobomba, e per dopobomba qui si intende il post 11 settembre, com personaggi sopra le righe e Guerreros, vale a dire gli Orixà Cubani.
La trama è debole e i colpi di scena non sono altro che espedienti narrativi per tenere in piadi la storia.
Gibson ci ha abituato meglio.
Mishehu
Aaaaand...action!...Action, Action, ACTION!!!...Action?...Hello!?...(Anyone?). The first half of Spook Country is great: great ideas, great writing, striking storylines. It all boded so well. And then it didn't. The entire 500 page span of this novel gropes, steadily and unpredictably, towards an answer to that timeless question: what's in the box? (CYNI-SPOILERCISM:) turns out, there's nothing remotely interesting in the box. Not just me saying that. Even some of the characters (see, e.g., Hube...more
Brent
People need to give William Gibson a break. He "invented" cyberspace, computer implants, the Sprawl, the Bridge, and almost single-handedly created the cyberpunk genre. He spent the 80's and 90's (in my opinion)doing great service to literature.

Now he's doing something different. Something less-high concept and yet more alarming, because it seems to be really happened now rather than proposed in the comforting mid-future.

Let someone else invent the next street-samari. We don't need him to rein...more
Emory
Gibson once again does not disappoint. "Spook Country" continues the alternate history of the present begun with "Pattern Recognition." As with "PR" we are slowly introduced to a tight, multi-threaded narrative that is initially slow to start but quickly gains momentum.

From the first word, we meet Hollis Henry. Former alt-rock frontwoman, freelance journalist, and as she soon discovers newly-minted investigator for viral marketing firm Blue Ant and its eccentric micro-manager owner Hubertus Bige...more
Oleg Kagan
It's difficult to read William Gibson without the shadow of the innovative Neuromancer hanging over the experience. In that light, shaded by the aforementioned book, Spook Country is a disappointment. Despite being set in a speculative Los Angeles (though Tower Records is now gone) with locative art (combining GPS and virtual reality) as a neat aside, Spook Country rarely rises beyond level of a formulaic genre novel.

Yet, even as a techno-spy-thriller it is average. The shifting narratives whic...more
Keith Stevenson
There is much to compare between Gibson’s impressive return to form, Pattern Recognition, and Spook Country. The latter concerns Hollis Henry ex-band member of ‘Curfew’ now a freelance journalist who has been hired by technology magazine Node to work up an article on ‘locative art’; basically, this is art that exists in cyberspace (and only seen through networked goggles), which is tagged by GPS to a specific terrestrial location – an example being the dead body of River Phoenix ‘lying’ outside...more
JBradford
Science fiction has never been the same since Gibson wrote Neuromancer, and this one is just as scary in its extension of current trends into a more or less present that is maybe just a few years in the future. Gibson gives me a headache in a way (this book does, too; J.P. Putnum’s Sons selected a terribly thin font that tests my $17 drugstore reading glasses to their limit and beyond), because I keep twisting my mind trying to figure out what is reality and what is projection. This story featur...more
Kristin
It's been several years since I've read Pattern Recognition, so I can't really speak on if this is the 'perfect follow-up' to said book. However, the writing style between PR and Spook Country was close enough that my thoughts did contemplate how similar the two books felt.

I enjoyed this selection, the three plots just pulled me along and I looked forward to all of the main characters, which often is not the case in a multi-plot book. Each one had their own nuance that I didn't mind bouncing be...more
Stan Heller
William Gibson's latest work looks at our current world as a science fiction environment. His attention to detail, to marketing and to the latest hight tech toys manages to give his work the veneer of somewhere else while placing it firmly in the present. A neat trick.

Spook Country starts out with an introduction to locative art. Using GPS and viewing glasses, the artist creates phantom art that can only be seen with the glasses. ( Ironically, I worked on a similar project a few years ago and wa...more
Ezra
i found this book to be one of mr. gibson's more frustrating productions. that's ok. i've been a fan, of some sort, for a while; i read neuromancer at just the stage of early adolescence when it was probaby most effective; with each of his subsequent books i've been able to generally ignore the parts where he overindulges in flowery sociophilosophising, or when the plot feels like it's treading water; i'm also consistently sent home with some unfamiliar image or area of inquiry that stays with m...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies wor...more
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Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1) Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant, #1) Count Zero (Sprawl, #2) Burning Chrome Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3)

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