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Pattern Recognition Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1 2005


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Feb. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425198685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425198681
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
Five hours' New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Petrovic on June 12 2003
Format: Hardcover
Author William Gibson has always proclaimed the influence of Thomas Pynchon ("V," "Gravity's Rainbow") in his beginnings as an author. With "Pattern Recognition," Gibson not only tips his hat to Pynchon but also seems indebted to him through the book's structural content. Gibson's new book, and I mean no slight in saying this, feels like a re-work of Pynchon's classic "The Crying of Lot 49."
Heroine Cayce Pollard, like the heroine of Pynchon's book, finds a symbol that defies decoding and, seeking its answer, slowly gains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge through treks across land and people. Rather than the Trystero in Pynchon's book, which remained a mystery at story's end, here Cayce seeks the Footage and its Creator; what she uncovers dazzled and delighted me. (And watch for the veiled reference to Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow" through Win; it changes so much about this book!)
The prose of Gibson in this book is masterful; he is acute and lyrical while noting how material comforts have come to desensitize us and lead to a sense of soul-decay. Truly, this is some of Gibson's most impassioned prose since "Neuromancer." His ear renders some of the most awe-inspiring descriptions and musings this side of Don DeLillo ("White Noise" and "Mao II"). However, whereas DeLillo misstepped slightly with his latest book, "Cosmopolis," Gibson's meditation is eerily, and deadly, on. I can only find one fault with the book, and that is that the end of "Pattern Recognition" starts to let the plot wrap up just a little too quickly.
Still, not merely content to be behind the postmodern masters of DeLillo and Pynchon, Gibson finally closes the ranks with this novel. Through "Pattern Recognition," he proffers himself as one of the accessible yet intelligent authors on the postmodern condition. Familiar, yet deliciously different.
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By Erika K Walter on Jan. 31 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
read this in university for a class and had read some of Gibson's previous novels. He doesn't disappoint, I love his originality and care about his characters.
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Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I was lured into the story line by the first fifty pages. Gibson sets up an intriguing enough mystery around the main plot that you want to read on. I must agree whole heartedly with other reviewers though that proclaim "that was it?!?" at the end. There is no climax. The reason for the "footage" leaves you completely unsatisfied. There is no conflict resolved or insight gained. The biggest payoff is getting a bunch of the books web forum posters to meet in the books "real life" (didn't some of us get over this experience ten years ago at our local BBS first "night-out"? i guarantee the story was as climactic as that evenings). Many times, a great journey is worth a bad ending (read: any Neal Stephenson novel...) but his commentary on present day locales like London, Tokyo, and Russian must seem cliche and unsatisfying to anyone who has actually stepped foot outside of the united states a few times (spring break in Mexico not included - sorry folks). Wait for it on video.
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By Jack Jonez on Feb. 14 2003
Format: Hardcover
This latest book isn't set in the future, but Gibson's world of today somehow manages to feel rather like his world of the future did a few years ago.
I enjoyed it immensely. The story was strange and interesting, the characters quirky and unusual, and the atmosphere thick and compelling.
Most of the action in Pattern Recognition takes place in several very different major world cities, and we get a well formed impression of each place. I get the feeling that Gibson did a lot of travelling to gather material for this work.
After reading it, I feel as if my own life has a stranger and more epic aspect -- that's a measure either of how impressionable I am or how good a writer Gibson is... or both!
With all that being said, I still found several flaws. There are factual errors and I had a few problems with the ending. First the errors:
- Gibson repeatedly says that computer animation is rendered by large groups of people. It's not. It's rendered by large groups of machines.
- He talks about the risk of someone listening in on a cell phone conversation "if they get your frequency". In fact none of the modern cell phones the characters are using would be analog, so they can't be easily listened in on in any case. And they all use the same frequency band.
I wish they'd run these books by some people with real technical backgrounds who can fix these problems before such a book gets published. It would be so easy to do.
Other issues:
- The ending seems rushed, and the mechanism by which all the plot intricacies are explained is too easy.
- Gibson deprives the main characters from figuring out parts of the mystery.
But all these being said, I still consider the book entirely enjoyable and a real work of art. If you've ever liked anything Gibson's done, get this one. Even though it doesn't take place in the future time of Neuromancer, our own time is strange enough to carry the same feeling.
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By K. Freeman on Feb. 10 2003
Format: Hardcover
There's a lot to like about this modern (not SF, despite my local library classifying it that way) thriller. Gibson writes beautifully, and evokes the world -- this time the sometimes silly politics of mailing lists and chat rooms -- with great insight. His protagonist, Cayce (and why is she essentially named Case? I could never figure that out) is vivid and interesting.
On the other hand, the book takes a *really* long time to get going -- I mean about page 150 -- and at some points I felt like there really wasn't quite enough plot there to support the tense mood and the number of characters (at least three of whom I couldn't see a real purpose for). Without wanting to give spoilers since this is such a new book, it's about mysterious footage that appears on the Internet, and the various people--from magnates to otaku--who become obsessed with finding out who's creating the footage, why, and what it means. And the answer is a gorgeous one. But do I believe in the amount of danger and tension surrounding the answer? I'm not sure.
On some level, I felt like this was a "thriller" pushing really, really hard to be a literary journey of self-discovery. There's nothing in the least wrong with that--but it was the thriller trappings that at times did not quite work for me.
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