Max Renn's Reviews > Virtual Light

Virtual Light by William Gibson
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's review
Oct 16, 2010

it was amazing
Read on October 16, 2010

Part two of the William Gibson re-read project. Following quickly on the heels of the Blue Ant trilogy, and not having read the Bridge Trilogy for some time, I am struck by the vigorous naturalism of this book.

It will sound strange, particularly since this book is designed by Harakawa Sisco in what was im sure at the time a very hip but destined to date badly 'cyber' style, but this might actually be the grittiest, most organic of the three Gibson trilogies.

If the Blue Ant trilogy feels more like a Vermeer, with its cool, elegant, very much in control adults, competently and impressively going about their smart business, Virtual Light is filled with Boschian characters and almost Neimanesque sense of hyperreal color and a surface textures going gloriously sideways. As messy, vivid, innocent and delicious as any slightly overripe peach.

His characters here are naive and prone to fuck ups of the most charming kind. And if the plot is a bit thin, well then that is missing the point, Gibson is feeling out and flexing that sense of place and detail that are his strong points. It is here that he started his serious attempts to chronicle the interstitial spaces of our world.

Gibson still thought he had to try to guess the future here. Perhaps it was looking back to these halcyon days of 1993 that informed his decision to go for the ever present future. The realization that it is a futurists fate to perpetually play catch up with the high weirdness.

My friend, the good doctor, i seem to recall, likes this trilogy the best and i am starting to see why. This is Gibson at his most humanist, perhaps not his most romantic but certainly with the biggest heart. On to Idoru...
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