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The Peripheral

(The Peripheral #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  16,370 ratings  ·  2,020 reviews

The Peripheral by William Gibson is a thrilling new novel about two intertwined futures, from the bestselling author of Neuromancer

Flynne Fisher lives down a country road, in a rural near-future America where jobs are scarce, unless you count illegal drug manufacture, which she's keen to avoid. Her brother Burton lives, or tries to, on money from the Veterans Association,

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Kindle Edition, 490 pages
Published November 20th 2014 by Penguin (first published October 24th 2014)
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Popular Answered Questions
Kevin Calman There are pants, but they were custom-printed at the Fabbit in the derelict strip center, not at the HeftyMart on the edge of town.
Gary Bridgman In an interview with Flavorwire, Gibson says (Not a Spoiler)
"And I finished it thinking, 'Oh my god, people are going to think this is a happy…more
In an interview with Flavorwire, Gibson says (Not a Spoiler)
"And I finished it thinking, 'Oh my god, people are going to think this is a happy ending.' I’ve often been accused of gratuitously happy endings.
"What I think now is that the two final chapters comprise a litmus test for sociopolitical sophistication. If you think those characters have got it figured out, you haven’t looked at life deeply at all."(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
“Eras are conveniences, particularly for those who never experienced them. We carve history from totalities beyond our grasp. Bolt labels on the result. Handles. Then speak of the handles as though they were things in themselves.”

 photo Neuromancer_zps29342235.jpg

Thirty years ago Neuromancer by William Gibson was published. The award winning novel was a breath of fresh air for a genre that had become too inbred. The new science fiction writers were too like the granddaddies of the genre only paler in complexion and not as bone
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Lyn
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Publication meeting at Berkley Publishing in early 2014.

Publisher: So, I liked it. But … what was it about?

Publicist: It was great! It’s Gibson, it’s going to sell.

Publisher: I know, it’s Gibson, and it’s going to sell. But it was … a little hard to follow, you know? What was it about?

Publicist: You know, I’m interested to hear what you think it’s about.

Editor: O for God’s sake! It was about a lot of stuff, it’s Gibson after all –

Publicist: It’s going to sell –

Editor: - it was about time travel
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Michael
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Jeffrey Keeten
It was great to experience Gibson back in futuristic mode after a 12-year period of writing contemporary techno-thrillers. As typical of his classic cyberpunk stories, you are thrown in the middle of the action and have to figure out what the characters are up to from context. That includes strange new technologies and odd new terms. It’s always a kind of a thrill that you can learn to swim this way. The approach is frustrating and aversive to many, but it seems to be how Gibson inspires a ...more
Darwin8u
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
“History had its fascinations, but could be burdensome.”
― William Gibson, The Peripheral

description

Gibson might not always be the most accurate futurist, but he's probably the glossiest, the most polished. I actually really dig Gibson. I don't think he's perfect. Sometimes his schtick gets worn a little thin, but I loved Neuromancer and really liked his Blue Ant series (Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History). 'The Peripheral' shares a similar aesthetic with the Blue Ant books, but jumps into
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Jeff Jackson
I'm not rating this, partly because it doesn't come out for a while and partly because I'm torn about my overall reaction. The first half of The Peripheral contains some of the most visionary writing of William Gibson's career. He returns to science-fiction and offers up detailed versions of the future that feel as prescient and compelling as his work back in the Neuromancer days. It's exciting, thought-provoking, and wonderfully dizzying stuff.

Unfortunately, the second half of the novel grows
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Althea Ann
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Eras are conveniences, particularly for those who never experienced them. We carve history from totalities beyond our grasp. Bolt labels on the result. Handles. Then speak of the handles as though they were things in themselves."

Yes... but I just have to say, speaking of eras... WOO-HOO - William Gibson is back in the era of the definitely-pretty-far-in-the-future! Not that I didn't wholly love his recent books that were in the right-around-the-corner-future, but I felt like we were catching
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Nick
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look, I'm not going to be remotely impartial here, okay? I'm a Bill Gibson fan. In addition to which, and to my enduring delight and the bewilderment of my 16 year old self, we're kinda friends now. I got this book early direct from the author, it's out in the UK today, and I'm going to go and buy a copy because that's what you do when a book is good.

This book is very, very good.

There are ten thousand people out there right now writing critical exegeses of The Peripheral. There's a great
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Bryan Alexander
Reading a new William Gibson novel is both delightful and exciting. He delights with the cool, sardonic yet imaginative visions of the present and future. He excites with his uncanny glimpses of the future, grounded in canny selections from our time.

The Peripheral offers another pleasure, that of Gibson trying something new. His recent brace of novels looked at the very near future, each following a normal linear path. His classic cyberpunk or Sprawl trilogy envisioned a medium-term future, also
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Bradley
In a genre overloaded with lighter fare and simply garnished SF tropes, a novel like this from the wonderful William Gibson (of Neuromancer fame) comes along and not only displays gorgeous tech and implications overloading the text, but does it with fantastic prose, delicious turns of phrase, and a boatload of subtlety surrounding some very stark SF events.

His earlier period was the one I was most interested in, ushering in the very term we use today, "Cyberpunk", with equal amounts Noir
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Thomas Edmund
Nov 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought for a long while about how to rate this book. I had been initially intrigued by the premise, and there were a few strong scenes in the first half which while reading gave me hope of an enjoyable read. in the end however I found Gibson's The Peripheral disappointing.

My first difficulty with the book was the overdose of concept. Certainly Gibson would have wanted his futuristic novel to have a certain degree of jargon and new technical terms (and no-one wants to bog their book down
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Elizabeth
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how Gibson manages to carve out these visions of the future that just wriggle into your brain and convince you that they're just so very possible and true but he does it every. damn. time.

This tale told in two timelines takes place in futures that are human and horribly, wonderfully, grimly liveable. In one, phone games, 3d printed drugs, and technologically messed up soldiers paint a bleakly recognisable future. In the other, the apocalypse has happened and instead of Mad Max it's
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David V.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Received this as an ARC via my employer Barnes & Noble. I began it today and after 24 pages, I remembered why I didn't like Mr. Gibson's books. If you're not a computer geek or a gamer, then you don't know what the hell he's talking about. The jargon and slang expressions meant nothing to me, and it was difficult to ascertain from the context------so, unfortunately, I'm giving up and moving on to another book. I'm not going to live long enough to read everything I want to read anyway, so I ...more
John
Nov 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to pick the right rating for this one. It's as though I've ordered a chicken parma because I like chicken parmas, and this certainly is a very tasty chicken parma, but somehow I'm disappointed that it tastes like so many other chicken parmas.

Replace chicken parma with "book with a near future settings where some rich people with inscrutable motivations do something via, then for, then ulitmately via some spud from the lower social strata which boils down to one pivotal moment of agency
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Rob
Executive Summary: A good, but not great techno-thriller of sorts. 3.5 Stars.

Audio book: I really didn't like Lorelei King at the start. But she grew on me. I'm not sure if she got better as the book went on, or I just needed some distance from my previous book. She's clear and easy to hear. She did a few voices, but they weren't very memorable to me.

I will say I started off pretty confused. I'm not sure if that would have been solved with some rereading of the early chapters, or if I just
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Brent
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, kindle
Gibson takes on a traditional Sci-Fi trope in his own cyberpunkish, quasi-dystopian style.

It took me few chapters to click with this. I'm not sure, but I think its because Gibson's deep-end, figure-it-out-as-you-go narrative style works better with plots that aren't all that scientifically intricate. When added to some brain-stretching scientific paradoxes, his style can lead to some slow processing.

But by the first third, I was totally in sync. And by the end I was eager for a showdown.

Spoily
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Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
THE PERIPHERALS is just as frustrating as Gibson's other books. You might as well know that before you dive it. He has this writing style that throws the reader into the shark tank and it's up to you to provide some imagination and to just hang on, muttering all the while, before you are swept up and away.

Which is to say that I really enjoyed this book. THE PERIPHERALS is very much character driven and some how, without paragraph after paragraph of descriptions and explanations, he creates a
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John
An Unsettling, But Brilliant, Look at the Future Courtesy of William Gibson

In a year that has seen an ample abundance of more or less routine dystopian near future speculative fiction novels – of which the least admirable was a highly touted debut novel about “word viruses” – William Gibson’s “The Peripheral” is an exceptional bit of literary fresh air. It represents the long overdue return of not only one of speculative fiction’s most important intellectuals, but also, one of the most
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Kristen Shaw
This was a tricky book that I *mostly* enjoyed.

Things I liked:
-The protagonist, Flynne, is awesome. Just generally a kickass straightforward independent woman. Gibson writes women really well, in my opinion, and this book is no exception.
-The plot is exciting and makes you want to keep going to figure out what the hell is going on.
-as with all Gibson books, the glory is in the details. There was obviously a ton of thought put in to fleshing out a believable and intricate alternate world.
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Denise
Finished it!! Loved it.
Amy
This book has a 5-star idea, but it was definitely not a 5-star reading experience. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten beyond the first couple of chapters if I weren’t reading it with a reading group. I suggested it because it’s a time travel novel by a well-known sci-fi writer and because so many of the reviews for it have been 5-star reviews. Plus, the premise sounded interesting.

The beginning of the story is set in the near future when using local 3D printing (sometimes with pirated printing
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Loring Wirbel
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While every Gibson novel carries a bit of cryptic uncertainty from its opening pages, The Peripheral is unique in both its overall cryptic nature and its droll, humorous style. Part of this is the result of the nature of the near-future protagonists. Instead of cyberpunk smartasses or Yakuza hired killers, we get punky but endearing hillbilly meth-head equivalents and disabled veterans living in a future rural Southern hill country where illicit drug "building" is the only occupation. Our ...more
Trish
William Gibson’s storytelling skill is such that we read/listen to him string adjectives, verbs, and nouns together in the places we expect to find them, only to discover 30-40 minutes later that we have no earthly idea what it is he is talking about. Ah, but what does it matter? He is slick, cool, forward-thinking. Surely it will all become clear.

I like several things about his future world—the one that contains Flynn and her brother Burton. Composting toilets are no longer unusual, and
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Jim Elkins
A Misunderstanding of Fiction

Gibson occupies an unusual place between literary fiction and the kinds of fantasy and sci-fi that use language as a minimal, transparent vehicle for fantasy. He has been read by any number of critics, including Fred Jameson, as a sign of postmodernism and the digital age; and he has been taken as a kind of cyberworld version of Nostradamus, full of predictions about our future. The implied author of "The Peripheral" is clearly engaged in both activities; the book is
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Brainycat
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of lightweight cyberpunk
Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 2
boobs: 0
bombs: 0
bondage: 0
blasphemy: 0
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.


I like to think of myself as a HUGE Gibson fan. I was but a wee lad when Neuromancer came out, and I absorbed it as greedily as I did every issue of Omni. The
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John Jr.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
The future has been worrying us lately. A good deal of conversation has taken place online about how it looks to us, in fact as well as in fiction, and how that matters. A smart example is Virginia Postrel’s 10/08/14 post on Bloomberg View, though it’s not (and doesn’t pretend to be) comprehensive.

William Gibson’s new novel—like the rest of his work—has something to contribute to the conversation. After working with the future in his early fictions, his settings drew steadily closer to the
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Joe
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
So first of all I’ll start with the setting. It’s set in rural near-future America in a world where the economy has nearly collapsed, jobs are scarce and recovery is long and arduous. Not entirely dissimilar from our current situation. People do whatever they can to get by, which includes new forms of Internet usage as technology has continued to evolve despite the world economic, social and political conditions. This is only half the setting however. It also focuses around London seventy or so ...more
Lori
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just starting and needless to say I'm confused as hell. Like older Gibson, where you have no idea what's going on. I'm sure, like Neuromancer etc. everything will be clear!
James Parsons
I have not got through the last two ort three books from this author. That may be as he seemed to drift further away from the distinct 'cyberpunk' style he and a couple of others were famous for creating and making famous decades previously or because those more recent books seemed less urgent reading, appearing more like almost regular tech thrillers often in the book charts.
With this book though it seemed that Gibson has made some kind of return to genuine science fiction, or toward his
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Chaunceton Bird
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining and original cyberpunk story. Who'd have thought that William Gibson could write so well in the sub-genre he created?
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Although I was a huge fan of "cyberpunk" author William Gibson when younger, I must admit that I haven't read anything by him since 1996's Idoru, mostly because the four novels he's written since then have all been contemporary thrillers with little science-fiction in them, which is simply something I'm
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Peripherally challenged. 7 74 Apr 22, 2016 02:42AM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN13 needs to be added to book 2 19 Jun 26, 2015 09:33AM  

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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
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Other books in the series

The Peripheral (2 books)
  • Agency (The Peripheral #2)
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“Because people who couldn’t imagine themselves capable of evil were at a major disadvantage in dealing with people who didn’t need to imagine, because they already were.” 23 likes
“Eras are conveniences, particularly for those who never experienced them. We carve history from totalities beyond our grasp. Bolt labels on the result. Handles. Then speak of the handles as though they were things in themselves.” 19 likes
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