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by William Gibson

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-399-14579-6
Publisher: Putnam

More ultra-cool cyberpunk, sort of a sequel to Virtual Light (1993) and Idoru (1996). The disasters predicted for the end of the millennium never happened. Colin Laney, however, has a peculiar talent for seeing ordinarily imperceptible data associations, or nodal points, an ability brought about by childhood exposure to an experimental drug. Now down-and-out in Tokyo, subsisting on blue cough syrup and stimulants, he’s perceived an upcoming event that will change the world, just as the previous one did in 1911. Aware of a shadowy killer who leaves no traces in the Net, Laney contacts his old pal, former rent-a-cop Berry Rydell, in San Francisco, sending him money and a mysterious package. Others are drawn into Laney’s virtual world: the weird, watch-loving boy Silencio; erstwhile motorbike messenger Chevette Washington; the mysterious inhabitants of the virtual Walled City; and industrialist Cody Harwood, who’s dosed himself with Laney’s drug and in effect is creating the node. Harwood plans to build a network of nanotech replicators, presently forbidden by most governments. Rydell’s package is a projector containing the virtual personality, or idoru, Rei Toei. Harwood’s shadowy assassin, Konrad, refuses to kill Rydell, and the characters converge at the Bay Bridge for a conclusion that’s as strange as it is baffling. This familiar, vigorous, vividly realized scenario is set forth in the author’s unique and astonishingly textured prose—indeed, in Gibson’s books the texture is the plot—but the unfathomable ending will satisfy few.