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Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant #1)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  35,879 Ratings  ·  1,746 Reviews
With Pattern Recognition, William Gibson, the man who introduced cyberpunk to the world, gives us his first novel set in the present. But as Gibson's imagination makes clear, our corporation-dominated, technologically advanced reality doesn't need much tweaking to take on the aura of science fiction.

If there's a fantastical element to this, the author's eighth book, it's

Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 3rd 2003 by Penguin Viking (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 29, 2007 Alexis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Contemporary Artists (or fans of)
Shelves: all-time-faves
The novel is set in a number of present day cities, in a way that seems futuristic/sci-fi. I read this book in a class called "The Novel and Globalization"--and I believe having that context was helpful-at first. As the book progressed the suspence was built on the mystery of where the many relavent themes and styles converge in the plot.

My favorite part of reading the book was digesting the refernces to art, architecture, and literature, throughout that acutally added meaning to the text rathe
Feb 14, 2008 Monk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modernlit
This is a little different for Gibson. It's not really a future setting, but it drips with the usual Gibson sentence fragments and whimsy. Overall, the story is there and it has a beginning a middle and an end, but to be honest, the book lacks in a particular quality - there's nothing really at stake.

The story is fairly linear, and focuses on the main character, Casey Pollard. She's what is called a 'cool hunter'. She divines trends and evaluates logo work. She has a literal allergy to fashion a
Mar 26, 2008 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mark, Robbie
I just re-read this book and liked it even more during the second reading (and have changed my rating from four to five stars). Gibson has pared an already spare writing style down without sacrificing the elegance or evocative nature of his prose. He makes you see things in the plot as though they occur at the very edge of peripheral vision. Were they even there at all? Although it would seem that this would create an emotional distance too profound to be crossed, the opposite is true. As I writ ...more
Apr 27, 2012 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Pattern Recognition nearly as much as Neuromancer and felt the two novels had a lot of similarities. Even though it is classified as general fiction, the novel has a strong SF feel to it. The highly technological societies (New York and the "mirror world" of London) where things are similar but a little different and the efficient, individualistic, widely traveled and rootless characters make Pattern Recognition feel dark and surreal and more like SF.

Boone Chu was an interesting characte
John Huizar
Jan 30, 2008 John Huizar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I love the way that William Gibson writes women. Gibson usually has both male and female protagonists in his books, who may or may not even see one another during the course of the story (the almost-but-never-quite is something he comes back to again and again). Regardless, his female characters are always as strong and capable as the men (and often more so). Cayce Pollard is a wonderful character, and I think that Gibson deftly avoided all the usual pitfalls of men writing female characters.

February Four
Jun 27, 2011 February Four rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bryce Wilson
Jun 22, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It'll happen one day, you'll see. William Gibson WILL right an ending that resembles something other then a last ditch attempt from a man desperate not to default on his contract.

It will not stink of a man who has just watched the sunrise with a headful of Jack Daniels. No it will be thematically fufilling, and tie up and enrich the man threads that have wound through the novel like a tapestry. Giving these rich themes, imagery, and characters the proper glory rather then merely tarnishing ever
Mike Rossmassler
Aug 24, 2008 Mike Rossmassler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly written, but like the rest of Gibson's novels, the ending leaves something to be desired. Not exactly unfulfilling, more like seeing all of the pieces come together into a picture that is just a little underwhelming. Just like the rest of Gibson's other works (Neuromancer and Spook Country being the only two i have read, in all honesty), the story is initially compelling and the mysteries and conspiracies are thought provoking. But the resolution just doesn't have that same "snap" or ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd been meaning to read something by Gibson for a long time. I thought it would be Neuromancer. But this book fell into my hands first. Despite its 2003 copyright, which makes it very old by computer-world standards, the high-tech world that Gibson whips up here feels fresh. It takes place today--not in the distant future. Email, the web, viral marketing, high fashion, international espionage, contemporary underground art all collide here. I could not put it down. Takes place mostly in London, ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, cyberpunk
riveting. plus I felt hip reading it.
Mar 12, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A really big letdown after the masterful depiction of cyberpunk in Neuromancer. Perhaps the problem is that the entire story takes place in a modern-day setting instead of in an interesting future. Or perhaps the problem is lack of relatable characters or a plot that maintains the reader's interest for the duration of the story. In any case, steer clear of this one.
Ben Babcock
After reading Neuromancer I took a short detour into some of Gibson’s other works of fiction, and then I read Virtual Light. With Pattern Recognition I seem to have established a trend of reading his three trilogies in a breadth-first rather than depth-first mode: having completed all of the first books, I will now read all three second books, etc. This might be an unusual way to go about it, but I hope it offers some insights and connections that might not make themselves apparent were I to rea ...more
Sep 21, 2009 Mei-Lu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
I've read this book a couple of times and I absolutely love it. Maybe it's because I worked in advertising (and have my own horror of logos) but I really identified with the main character (even though obviously I am no where near as cool as she is). Usually with William Gibson novels, I feel like my brain is being overloaded with information at all times and I'm only absorbing a fraction of the data contained in the novels. But Pattern Recognition manages to have all of the thematic complexity ...more
Apr 26, 2010 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2010
Definitely the most accessible Gibson novel written up to this point in his bibliography - it lacks the complex density of Neuromancer and is pretty rooted in the here-and-now. Also unlike his previous novels, Pattern Recognition only follows one protagonist, Cayce Pollard, instead of jumping between several entwining storylines.

Gibson's portrayal of internet groups and internet friendships feels very authentic, especially when compared with fellow sci-fi author Cory Doctorow's. The mysterious f
May 11, 2010 CëRïSë rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how this book got to be a best-seller. Yet as I was traveling last month, I noticed that, for the first time, I was toting, along with my rolling suitcase, a paperback that was all over the airport booksellers' racks.

I thought it was abysmal. A good friend had mentioned it to me, and I thought that he had recommended it, so when I saw a used copy at one of my favorite local bookstores, I grabbed it. I realized later, when I checked my notes, that he had actually recommended Count Ze
Althea Ann
Sep 28, 2013 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much has been made of Gibson's latest not being science-fiction – and it's not – but it's still Gibson, much like Cryptonomicon was still Neal Stephenson. Incidentally, I'd highly recommend this book to fans of Cryptonomicon, as well as to anyone who has enjoyed any of Gibson's other books.

The ‘cyberpunk' attitude is still there, as the plot interweaves the world of high tech with subculture, organized crime, and the lives of individuals... just instead of in the near future, it's happening now.
Apr 03, 2011 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: myself to reread
I am an excellent reader, as I know many of my friends on goodreads are, but I don’t think there’s enough appreciation of reading as a skill in our world. We take it for granted, those of us who are “literate,” and because it is the base of the things that we learn, we tend to ignore those who excel. Of course, many of those who read well are told they “analyze things too much” or that they “dig too deep” by those who might be solid readers, but probably don’t have serious reading chops.

I think
Jamie Collins
This was my first William Gibson book, and I thought it was beautifully written, quite a literary novel. I liked the characters, and I liked the idea of Cayce being sensitive to trends and brands, and having a logo "allergy". I'm now contemplating scratching the logos off of everything I own.

Plot-wise, this isn't the most exciting book I've ever read. I was never bored, but the pacing was sedate, to say the least. The tone of the book was cool and deliberate - even the single fight scene followe
Jun 28, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marketing consultants, viral video makers
I was hoping to be blown away by the legendary William Gibson (none of whose legendary books I have read), but I found that Pattern Recognition reminded me a lot of Reamde by Neal Stephenson: it's a pacey, interesting techno-thriller that just never quite reached the peak of Awesome. I found Gibson's writing to be stronger than Stephenson's, but his characterization weaker.

The main character is Cayce (pronounced "Case") Pollard, who has one of those odd freelance consultant jobs that can only ex
Chris Salzman
Jul 15, 2015 Chris Salzman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partly-read
Pattern Recognition is a great book. Tightly woven plot, interesting characters, superbly written. It's Gibson at his best and handily better than Neuromancer. It's less far future speculation and more a look into the future we have right now.

Part of the way into this I google image searched for the Apple Studio Display and Cube to jog my memory on what Gibson was clearly so enamored with--for computing objects they have a high profile role in the beginning part of the book. That lead to me ser
“The medium is the message” – Marshall McLuhan

“We have no future because our present is too volatile... We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition.” – Herbertus Bigend, Pattern Recognition


Pattern Recognition is the story of an eccentric trend spotter, Cayce Pollard, and her mission to find the latest viral videos clips attracting a cult-like appeal. William Gibson masterfully blends concise and powerful storytelling with present-day reality
Elizabeth Barone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
2.5 stars
This wasn’t what I was expecting. My fault entirely, as I misread the blurb. But the story was hard to follow at times with the author making points that went way over my head at times.

It is written in a semi-stream of consciousness style, which didn’t help me to follow what was happening. Stream-of-consciousness writing would have to be one of the things that most turns me off a book. That, and lack of punctuation for dialogue. Happily this one does have adequate punctuation.

This was f
Stephanie Sun
It's a funny CayceP-ish quirk of fate that this was published in 2003 (and not under the radar—it was a NYT bestseller) when I was 23, but I found it a few weeks ago, when I was the exact same age as the protagonist, 32-year-old Cayce Pollard. As Win Pollard says (and Cayce reminds us several times) you must always leave room for coincidence. Or, as pattern recognizer extraordinaire Nate Silver says, beware of overfitting.

Ben in his review succinctly described Pattern Recognition as "The only pi
As goodreads is Amazon, I am taking my reviews off goodreads. Nonetheless, I hope by providing links along with this ongoing message about why Amazon should not be part of our lives, this message is kept alive. I include some text from the beginning of each review because goodreads has been removing my reviews from places they can be seen and apparently this may make it less likely for them to do this. Read my lips, go on. Whilst a semblance of free speech exists on goodreads. FUCK AMAZON. It is ...more
Apr 27, 2016 Jeroen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know how people tend to describe books as "extremely readable" and you kind of want to punch them in the face and deem them "extremely punchable"? Well, I'm afraid to say that readable is exactly the word that came to mind reading this. Even using it myself though, I am still not quite sure what it is supposed to denote. Perhaps, why it occurs to me is that it is the kind of book I can take with me to bed and fall asleep with, it has a plot as its pith which depending on your literary prefer ...more
Jun 10, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

That’s what I am as I read Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. It is a very stylish novel. Cool jazz plays in the cool and stylish café as I sit outside drinking a latte. From my perfectly coiffed hair to the form fitting jacket and slim pants to the stylish Italian shoes on my stylish feet, I am cool. A Daniel Craig pout forms on my lips as I nod to the Most Interesting Man in the World sitting across from me. He is sipping a Dos Equis and chatting with two models sitting on either s
Set about a year after 9/11, this book is closer to thriller than SF - indeed, I'm not sure I would count it as SF at all. Cayce is a kind of marketing design savant, able to spot by instinct when a brand or logo would be successful. Logos provoke a kind of allergic reaction in her. She's also one of a growing group obsessed with "the footage" - compelling fragments of film released anonymously onto the internet. Cayce frequents a forum that analyses every frame of the footage, debating clothing ...more
Megan Baxter
This was a really fun book to read that I enjoyed all the way through. Unfortunately, the end did not live up the rest, leaving me sitting there wondering just a little bit what the point had been. It wasn't bad enough to spoil the enjoyment I got out of reading this book, but it was certainly a little jarring.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the enti
Joshua Buhs
Some books suggest entire universes; some don't. This is one of the latter.

I only vaguely remember reading William Gibson's Neuromancer trilogy, some billion or so years ago, but one thing I do remember is its suggestion of a vaster, more complicated world than the books described; that was part of what made them so exciting, I think. And that was despite Gibson's hard-boiled prose and only light sketching of his characters's interior lives. He did it by having his characters act, in a weird wor
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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 about William Gibson...

Other Books in the Series

Blue Ant (3 books)
  • Spook Country (Blue Ant, #2)
  • Zero History (Blue Ant, #3)

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“The future is there... looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become.” 1584 likes
“We have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense, we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which 'now' was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparents' have insufficient 'now' to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volatile. ... We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment's scenarios. Pattern recognition” 84 likes
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