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Agency

(The Peripheral #2)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  299 ratings  ·  71 reviews
"One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working" (The Boston Globe) returns with a brand-new novel.

In William Gibson's first novel since 2014's New York Times bestselling The Peripheral, a gifted "app-whisperer," hired to beta test a mysterious new product, finds her life endangered by her relationship with her surprisingly
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Hardcover, 402 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Berkley Books
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Alison Gibson himself has said (on Twitter) that "either" is fine in terms of whether to read Peripheral first or jump into Agency. Personally, I'd recommend…moreGibson himself has said (on Twitter) that "either" is fine in terms of whether to read Peripheral first or jump into Agency. Personally, I'd recommend starting with Peripheral first. I'm sure that Agency stands on its own, but having already read some of Gibson's work "out of order," I'd say that it's *better* to read the linked books in order of publication.(less)

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Andrea
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2019, fiction
Long time Gibson fan, but not so sure about this one. The beginning is incredibly confusing - too many strangely named characters, time shifting in alternating chapters and bizarrely named new inventions and words. It takes sheer will to plod on until the two timeframes mesh and you start to understand what the story is about. Once there, the second half of the book is an enjoyable romp. However, it ends rather abruptly. The ending chapters unsuccessfully attempt to tidy up loose ends, but are ...more
Nadine Jones
Goodreads shows a Sept 3, 2019 release, but the library shows January 21, 2020. Was this book released on Sept 3 IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE?????
Mike
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would use the phrase "tedious William Gibson novel," but apparently this is the version of the world we now live in.

This tedious William Gibson novel is clearly a William Gibson novel: it has the effortless prose, the vivid (if occasionally inaccurate) imagery, the geek-culture namedrops, the characters who are outsiders to power and the mainstream. What it doesn't have much of is a plot, and what the characters don't have much of, by irony that may or may not be unconscious,
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Dannii Elle
"...in a post-apocalyptic London a century from now" SOLD!

description
Aidan Craigwood
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
unknown
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not as complex as the first, but a hell of a lot more fun to read. The ending is a bright burst of optimism... until you realize it’s basically literally just wish fulfillment. Dark.

Always good to end on a crude joke though.
Matthew Fitzgerald
If you're a William Gibson fan, or even the remotest fan of The Peripheral, ignore the stars on this review and just read it. You will thoroughly dig it, even if this feels more like an expansion pack of a novel, a Peripheral 1.5, than a true sequel to that book. For what it's worth, I think The Peripheral is Gibson's best and most inventive book yet. Fight me, Pattern Recognition fans.

Gibson's spare, barbed-wire prose is in full effect here, for good and ill. I find the writing at times too
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Eleanor
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Either this made more sense than Neuromancer, or I'm getting better at keeping multiple virtual POVs straight. Also, more than one female character, not all of whom are Ass-Kicking Babes, or at least not all in the same way. Hooray!

Later: It must be odd to be William Gibson. Society, and technology, has more or less arrived at a point that he wrote about as futuristic during his early career; he’s now indelibly known as a science fiction writer, but Agency—though it has all of the trappings of a
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Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Agency, William Gibson’s latest book inhabits the same universe as The Peripheral, his last novel which came out in 2014. It’s a long time between drinks, but you don’t have to have read that book to make sense of this one (I had indeed pretty much forgotten everything - a talent of mine that enables me to re-read books often with no spoilers).

The first half of Agency introduces a number of characters across a world set in the present time (albeit an alternate history) and a future world (which
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Joe
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The preceding book, The Peripheral, has been a favorite recommendation since it came out in 2014. This sequel is good, though not quite as good as its predecessor. I think it suffers from two things:
In a book titled Agency, the protagonist Verity seems to have very little of it. She spends the whole book being sent from place to place.
Eunice is interesting but largely absent for large chunks of the story.

Those critiques aside, I would still recommend this book to fans of The Peripheral, and I
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Alexandra WhimsyPages
DNF at 21%

This was my first (and most likely last) novel by William Gibson. Which is a big disappointment, as I was very much looking forward to this Sci-Fi story, adding it to my “most anticipated of 2020” immediately after I heard it was coming out this January.

After attempting it twice and reading as far as 21% of the book, I had to put it down because I suddenly lost the ability to understand words. William Gibson’s writing felt confusing and incoherent, like a collection of random words.

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Dan
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a follow up to The Peripheral, which is up there as one of Gibson’s best books for me. I’m assuming he is working on his usual template of loosely connected trilogies and that there will be another to come in this world. Being a return visit, this doesn’t have the same kind of impact or originality as The Peripheral did, but there is plenty here that fans will appreciate; his traditional sparse prose, meticulous examination of detail in fashion and tech, and big, big, ideas. The usual ...more
Cheryl DeFranceschi
This was everything I wanted it to be! I was completely ensorceled by the writing and the pacing. Also, I cannot think of anyone who sees the future more clearly. Thank you to Berkley Books for the chance to read this one early. I’ve been waiting for it forever, as it kept getting pushed forward. But, reading it now, I can see how Mr. Gibson availed himself of the opportunity to make it just that much more awesome!
Emma
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The man has outdone himself. This is a hell of a ride: dense, rich, hilarious, and—less surprising to readers familiar with the Bigend trilogy as well as The Peripheral than to those who stopped at the Bridge trilogy or, heck, after Neuromancer—at its core, a love letter to humanity, in all its fuckedness.
Chris Harris
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I became a Gibson fan when I first read Neuromancer back in the 80s. Since then, he's become my favourite author. Reading a new William Gibson is an Event. The writing is a joy; the degree to which everything is crafted, the subtlety with which the world is established and the organic way in which the plot unfolds show an author at the top of his game. He makes it look effortless. He's moved far beyond cyberpunk into a field of his own, in which he takes the present and drags it into some mirror ...more
Gregory
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As optimistic as this book was, it had me thinking about the end of human civilization as a fait accompli. I don't think there is a way to steer away from the end of the world, but perhaps, before the end, we will understand clearly what it was that we did wrong to start us on this path of self-destruction.
I read Neuromancer for the first time in 1986, and read every novel he wrote since then. His novels have their own vocabulary and develop new elements(Pelican cases, for instance), but there
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Tracey
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a long-time fan of William Gibson and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this. It’s not a pre-requisite, but I think you get the best out of Agency if you’ve read The Peripheral first.
A great mixture of cutting-edge current and future tech as well as being an astute and acerbic commentary on the US and UK’s political climates. Unfortunately, it really does feel like we’re entering our own Jackpot - I just hope we have a version of Lowbeer watching from the wings to pick up the
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David Harris
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm grateful to the publisher for a free advance e-copy of Agency via NetGalley.

Sequel to Gibson's The Peripheral, Agency is a book that can be read as a standalone, although that leaves the reader with a a job of catching up to do. Still, we are brought up to speed pretty quickly.

The book takes place across three alternate timelines - our world, albeit in 2136, and two versions of 2016, including one where the results of the UK's Brexit referendum and of the US's presidential election were
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S. Naomi Scott
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, netgalley
DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review. My thanks to Penguin UK and NetGalley for giving me this opportunity.

This is the second instalment in William Gibson’s Peripheral series, and follows pretty much the same format as the first book. Two separate timelines that slowly get drawn together as events in one begin to have an effect on the other.

As with The Peripheral, which I reviewed a couple of days ago, one of
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Nick
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last year Neal Stephenson wrote a novel about a bunch of rich tech bros running around bro-ing out, and it made me want to punch him in the nose. This year William Gibson writes a novel about a bunch of rich tech bros bro-ing out, and I want to send him flowers. So what gives?

'Agency' is Gibson's delayed follow-up to 2014's 'The Peripheral.' In the year 2136, all of mankind's chickens have come home to roost in the form of climate change, pandemics, and global unrest, resulting in the death of
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mylogicisfuzzy
Long time fan of William Gibson, I’d been eagerly anticipating publication of Agency in January and was thrilled to receive an advance copy of it from Netgalley and the publisher.

Agency starts in typical Gibson way, fast pace, lots happening, new concepts that will have you scratching your head for an explanation, multiple points of view. This is one of the reasons I love Gibson books, they are challenging, prophetic, speculative and highly enjoyable (even when you’re scratching your head). It’s
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Mark
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I realized this was a sequel to The Peripheral and reread that first (having read it over four years ago, my memory would have been hazy). While the central action takes place in a new alternate past timeline (referred to in both books as a "stub"), all of The Peripheral's characters play roles: some major, some minor. So I come down firmly in the "read The Peripheral first" camp. There are now three different timelines involved (versus two in the previous novel), so things are a bit ...more
Nora Stone
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was wonderful to reunite with some characters from "Peripheral" and be introduced to a new "stub." I loved that the main setting was in San Francisco because that's where I live. It seemed very current with the mention of the smoke from the wild fires and use of face masks. I've always felt that when we have to use the heavy duty P95 face masks that the CCTV cameras that are always present are thwarted.

The AI personality did not win me over at first because it seemed too intrusive. I thought
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Lou
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agency is the long-awaited second science-fiction epic in The Peripheral series and although I would strongly recommend reading the preceding novel first, Gibson has previously stated that they can easily be read as standalones or out of order. This is a science-fiction thriller heavily influenced by our most current events. There are two timelines: one set in an alternate 2017 where Verity Jane is handling the fact that digital assistant and AI Eunice is more powerful than both she and the ...more
Scott Swenson
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Not sure where to start...I liked the story, and I love Gibson's writing style. However, this one felt like it lacked many of the things i have come to love about a Gibson book. I think he set himself an impossible task, and handled it the best he could. Tackling a story that is set in present day and that addresses something that we need to hear isn't something that fits easily into the Gibson Universe. Agency is an important book because it brings all of his other works to us, here and now. It ...more
Donna Hines
That moment when you receive an 'Exclusive Look' but can only base an entire review on 15 pages...So here is my take on it all.
This is the 2nd book in The Peripheral in which science fiction and dystopia based on current events.
The language utilized was a 'huge' turnoff for me especially when it does nothing for the plot nor adds strength to the characters actions.
Verity Jane is our gifted app whisperer who takes on a job as a beta tester as a new digital assistant.
Meanwhile, Eunice is our AI
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Peter Tillman
Here's Nature's review, by their editor of "Nature Machine Intelligence", Liesbeth Venema:
"With a breezy “Here we go,” Eunice enters the room — and the third page of William Gibson’s speculative novel Agency. I instantly liked her. Resourceful, fast-talking and street-smart, Eunice is on a serious mission: to give the world a fair chance to fend off the end of humanity. But she doesn’t waste time on existential angst. And she has kindness to spare (along with a handy infographic explaining the
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Jordan
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, netgalley
Okay, this book was a cool concept but had a lot of issues. First off, the chapters are so short and there are so many various characters that you never really connect to any of them. In fact I spent most of the time trying to remember who all the assorted people were and why they were important. It didn't help that many of them were returning from The Peripheral, which I read a while ago and didn't really remember much of. I don't remember this being marketed as a sequel when I first heard ...more
Mark Parnell
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At their heart, Gibson novels are simple in concept but executed seemingly in a foreign language. Agency continues that trend. Verity Jane (an app whisperer) is hired by a Military Tech Start Up and is introduced to Eunice an A.I. that may or may not help diffuse a growing threat of nuclear war. Hilary Clinton is President and Verity is being guided through the dangerous landscape by shadow forces from the future, just not her future. All told in a simple vernacular that Gibson is known for. I ...more
Chad
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I looked forward to this book for ages, and came away slightly disappointed.

Gibson imagines an alternate world where Trump and Brexit didn't win, but makes sure to show that it isn't automatically a paradise. The underlying problems are all still there. And then that alternate reality gets to hang on the time-travel structures from The Peripheral (which I re-read before this and has aged REALLY well). So far so good.

But all the new characters in this alternate 2017 fell flat for me. I don't
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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)
  • The Peripheral
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“The plus sign is a hipster ampersand.” 1 likes
“No,” said Madison, “not given the immediate future you’re trying to keep us from.” 0 likes
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