Monday, 11 April 2016

The Peripheral by William Gibson

I liked the story line but didn't enjoy William Gibson's writing style.  His sentences often didn't seem complete (missing/implied pronouns) and there were many others from which I could drive no meaning even after repeated readings.

The first one hundred or so pages I felt lost with no key to unlocking the secret code.  A glossary of the authors invented terms/processes/items would have helped immensely.  I would have given up early on if I hadn't been reading this for my local book club meeting.  I gave up on trying to understand much of what Mr. Gibson was writing, and settle for following the basics of the plot line, which I did enjoy.

The story starts in some point after 2023 in the United States.  Flynne Fisher is an ex-gamer, but just this once she agrees to sub for her brother and work his shift beta testing a game.  Well, she does it again the next night and this time all doesn't go so well.  Some one in the game is killed in a gruesome manner and she begins to question whether it really is a game. 

The story skips back and forth between Flynne's time and a future time, about seventy years from them.  In the future, Wilf Netherton has some involvement with the death that occurred and it's important to him to protect Flynne from any backlash from that event.

The character of Flynne is well developed and I found her down to earth and likable.  She is very family oriented and ethical.  She sticks to her morals even when large amounts of money are waved in front of her face.  My other favourite character is Conner, a long time friend who is ex-military with multiple crippling war injuries.  He's in your face, does what he needs to with no apologies.

This story made me ponder the role of technology in society.  Change used to be a long time coming, but now, technology seems to change almost over night.  Download a file, a bam, with a 3D printer you can have a new product in hours.  Who's to decide/determine whether this is good or bad.

All things considered, I enjoyed the story line and had no trouble believing the bridging of the time differences, I only wish that it had been easier to read and understand the actual wording.

Cover image courtesy G.P. Putnam and Sons

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