Idoru Paperback – Dec 1 1997
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Colin Laney is a data analyst with a talent for seeing patterns, or nodes, as he calls them, in the flow of information that is cyberspace. Chia McKenzie is a young member of the fan club for the Japanese pop supergroup Lo/Rez. When a rumour involving the lead singer of Lo/Rez and an idoru, a Japanese virtual-reality singing idol, brings both Laney and Chia to Tokyo, the resulting web of events involves Russian criminals, Japanese schoolgirls, and illegal nanotechnology. And it's all set in a Tokyo that is literally growing and changing around the characters, rising from the rubble of a major earthquake.
Idoru is not William Gibson's best novel, but it is a good example of his primary strength: creating worlds that don't so much show the future as expose the world we already live in, a world of computers, information, mega-corporations, pop art, tabloids, and rock & roll. Idoru works not only on its own terms but also as a set-up for Gibson's next novel, All Tomorrow's Parties. Gibson broadens his perspective by including a wider range of characters than in his earlier novels, but mainly Idoru moves Gibson's work forward by pushing further into his familiar territory. It is the work not of a writer who is discovering new topics, but of one who is re-examining his old ones, bringing greater depth and maturity to his art in the process. --Greg L. Johnson --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The founding father of cyberpunk again returns to the techno-decadent 21st century mapped in his other major works (Virtual Light, Neuromancer, etc.). As usual, Gibson offers a richly imagined tale that finds semi-innocents wading hip-deep into trouble. Colin Laney has taken a job in Japan to escape the revenge of his former employer, Slitscan, a kind of corporate gossip-mongerer on the Net that he has crossed out of scruples. Meanwhile, Chia Pet McKenzie is active in the fan clubs for Lo/Rez, a Japanese superstar rock duo; while visiting Japan to investigate some new rumors about the group, she is used to smuggle illegal nanoware to the Russian criminal underground. Both Laney and Chia get caught up in the intrigues swirling about the plans of Rez, one half of the band, to marry Rei Toei, an "idoru" (idol) who exists only in virtual reality. Gibson excels here in creating a warped but comprehensible future saturated with logical yet unexpected technologies. His settings are brilliantly realized, from high-tech hotel rooms and airplanes to the infamous Walled City of Kowloon. The pacing is slower than Virtual Light, but Gibson exhibits his greatest strength: intense speculation, expressed in dramatic form, about the near-term evolution and merging of cultural, social and technological trends, and how they affect character. Dark and disturbing, this novel represents no new departure for Gibson, but a further accretion of the insights that have made him the most precise, and perhaps the most prescient, visionary working in SF today. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Gibson takes us to a place where the Internet may be in the future. The richness that he ascribes to it is far beyond where we are today, and shows us what may be possible using the latest VR technology at the end of the decade. He also gives us glimpses into the complex social issues surrounding the increase in "Reality" media and the unparralled access the media channels have into celebrity and everyday lives. For those reviewers who seem to think he is writing about the Internet as it exists today, I would suggest they re-read the book. I work in Technology, and some of the concepts he describes sent shivers down my spine. Others simply made me sit back and go "WOW!"
I found it refreshing that an author also knows how to tell a story and move on. While this does leave some filling in of the characters to be done by the reader, it makes for a compelling, exciting read.
I could not put the book down!
Perhaps, in fairness to Gibson, characterization is beside the point. Characters and personalities are absorbed into the sheer sweep of post-modern life, in which the corporatization of technogical innovation stamps out -- or nearly stamps out -- the cult of the individual.
Although I enjoyed Idoru, I feel that it doesn't measure up to the cyberpunk master's earlier work. The same vigor just isn't here.
Perhaps it is a post-success syndrome. Success for some writers means that the initial motivation and energy just is no longer there. Hopefully, this is just a phase that Gibson is going through.
That being said, even inferior Gibson is just on a different level than most than the work of other writers of speculative fiction. Here is an author who combines a coherent vision of what the near future looks like with a truly grand, pop-literate, post-modernist style.
I will continue to devour Gibson's work and look forward to each new text. I would however recommend that those of you who are new to his work to start with the earlier novels.
Idoru is a Tale Of two People who don't know each other who end up entangled in the same plot.
Chia Pet Mackinze (Greatest name since Hiro Protaginist(Snow Crash)) is a 14 year old Fan club member for a Band called Lo/Rez "Volunteered" to investigate a rumor involving one of the bands's founders Rez she ends up over her head. Rez it turns out is supossed to marry Rei Toei Japan's biggest pop Idol(thing is Rei is a virtual Being and doesn't exist physically)
Colin Laney is an out of work Info Fisher (he can see Patterns in data and deduce a person's life merely from the info they interact with). When a job at a tabloid network gets him in hot water he somehow ends up working to protect REZ.
Chia and Colin find themselves in a complex plot to cover up something that ends up endangering them both.
The story is fairly simple to follow but still a satisfying read. With interesting characters and switching from Chia and Laney's point of view until they meet (sort of)
Since this is my first Gibson read I still look forward to his classics "Neuromancer and Virtual light and count zero and the rest" if you want to get started in cyber punk fiction it is a good begining and you haven't read "Snow Crash go for it.
I was disappointed with "Idoru" though. One reviewer here on Amazon suggested that the term Speculative Fiction be used now instead of Science Fiction for "SF" and that Gibson's is a good example of speculative fiction. The only problem I have with that is that Gibson's work here is hardly speculative.
The Japan he describes in "Idoru" hardly seems 21st century -- rather 20th century. "Idoru" culture IS alive in Japan these days and yes, it makes a great topic for discussion or a book, but Gibson doesn't seem to be stretching himself to make the book very Speculative (i.e. visionary) or even Science Fiction (SFfy) -- there's hardly as much cyber-pyrotechnics going on here.
The problem with the book is that the characters are poorly developed. Gibson has two protagonists -- Laney and Chia -- which he reveals in alternating chapters -- and they do come together -- but the more Gibson actually involves them in the plot of the story, the more they fizz out. The characters are much more interesting in their flashbacks (here is where Gibson's Speculative Fiction is really good and interesting). When Laney and Chia actually get closer to the climax and goal of the plot, the less we care about them. And the AI "Idoru"? Boring.
I think the success of the novel -- and what would be of interest to anyone who might only have this Gibson novel around them -- is the atmosphere of this world in our future -- but not too far off in the future. Unfortunately, people live in the future and the ones in Gibson's world -- when they actually live their lives -- are boring. Gibson should write books like Proust -- Remembrance of Things Almost to Pass.
Most recent customer reviews
Gibson published this book in 1996 and Princess Diana died in 1997. In all ways, Princess Diana was the Idoru of our time and culture. Read morePublished on March 6 2004 by G. Tong
Originating the word "Cyberspace" seems to be what qualifies Gibson as a great writer in most peoples reviews. Read morePublished on July 11 2003 by Scott Shorey
Imagine a world in which virtual communities flourish on a system called "the world wide web". Read morePublished on May 2 2003 by Sesho
Despite the cyberpunk/future noir copy on the cover, Idoru is more near-future comedy of manners than thriller, its subtle humor expertly conveyed in William Gibson's increasingly... Read morePublished on March 29 2003 by schapmock
I own all of Gibson's books and have read and re-read every single one of them. WG was the first cyberpunk author I hooked into but not my favorite. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2003 by Petrol
If you liked Gibson's Neuromancer, you'll love Idoru. Even if you didn't like Neuromancer, Idoru is still a good read. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2002 by Zach Wingerter
While reading this book, I sometimes found it troubling the similarities in the sentences and plot with many of his earlier works were more apparent, however there is something new... Read morePublished on July 16 2002 by J Maby
If you are not sure what the best sci-fi feels like, read Idoru. This book has it all: drama, sex, tough guys, villains, gadgets, guns, action, humor... Read morePublished on April 13 2002 by D. Montros