K's Reviews > Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
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May 03, 11

bookshelves: fiction, scifi
Read in January, 2004

Though the deluge of brand names and pointedly modern references are surprising and dizzying at first, Gibson's 'Pattern Recognition' is uniquely of the moment. Whether it will be readable even five years from now, though, or extremely dated, remains to be seen.

The story begins with an abundance of name-dropping: Google, Levi's 509s, Starbucks. It's easy to see how the heroine, Cayce Pollard, has developed a phobia of commercialism. However, spotting trends and pinpointing logos that will succeed. The job affords her many luxuries, and takes her all over the world, making it easy to ignore her ghost-hunter mother in Hawai'i and the absence of her father Win, a security specialist who disappeared in the chaos of 9/11. But while in London on a routine job, she is offered the opportunity to track down the creator of an anonymous series of film clips that have become an Internet sensation-a phenomenon that she has personally been following for quite some time. However, Cayce finds she's being followed, and the chase to find the creator is on.

The perfect blend of elements in `Pattern Recognition' is entrancing to the techno-savvy or the culture vultures, but I suspect that for those not in the know the narrative would be extremely hard to follow. Steganography, forum-trolling, post-Soviet Russian mob bosses, obscure fashion, otakus, electronic voice phenomena... Gibson has stirred them all into a delightful and fast-paced story that, once you can get past the overwhelming beginning, is an excellent read.
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