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Pattern Recognition [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

William Gibson , Shelly Frasier
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2004
Cayce Pollard is a new kind of prophet - a world renowned "coolhunter" who predicts the hottest trends. While in London to evaluate the redesign of a famous corporate logo, she's offered a different assignment: find the creator of the obscure, enigmatic video clips being uploaded on the Internet - footage that is generating massive underground buzz worldwide.

Still haunted by the memory of her missing father - a Cold War security guru who disappeared in downtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001 - Cayce is soon traveling through parallel universes of marketing, globalization, and terror, heading always for the still point where the three converge. From London to Tokyo to Moscow, she follows the implications of a secret as disturbing - and compelling - as the twenty-first century promises to be ...

"Elegant, entrancing ... [Cayce's] globe-trotting gives Pattern Recognition its exultant, James Bond-ish edge..." ~The New York Times

"Gibson's usual themes are still intact - globalism, constant surveillance, paranoia, and pattern recognition - only with the added presence of real-world elements..." ~Booklist

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From Amazon

With Pattern Recognition, William Gibson, the man who introduced cyberpunk to the world, gives us his first novel set in the present. But as Gibson's imagination makes clear, our corporation-dominated, technologically advanced reality doesn't need much tweaking to take on the aura of science fiction.

If there's a fantastical element to this, the author's eighth book, it's in protagonist Cayce Pollard's special talent. Here, Gibson takes some of No Logo author Naomi Klein's ideas about branding to a logical extreme: Pollard has an instinctual, often violently intense reaction to logos, a condition that makes her valuable to advertising agencies looking for the most effective way to brand a product. This talent, however, makes a trip to a department store potentially lethal, as when she visits a London shopping emporium and is inundated by "a mountainside of Tommy [Hilfiger] coming down in her head." "Some people ingest a single peanut and their head swells like a basketball," writes Gibson. "When it happens to Cayce, it's her psyche.... When it starts, it's pure reaction, like biting down hard on a piece of foil." Pollard is also a "coolhunter" of the first order, which means she can sniff out a trend before it's even begun to be commodified. She's so good, in fact, that "she's met the very Mexican who first wore his baseball cap backwards."

With such sensitivity to our over-branded world, it's completely natural that our heroine would become fascinated by Internet footage of a film in which characters, setting, and time are completely generic--unbranded, unfixed, free. But Pollard isn't the only one obsessed by "the footage," as it's referred to, and this is where Gibson's masterful storytelling comes to the fore. Who will be the first to solve the mystery of the film's origin? Who else is trying, and for what potentially nefarious purpose? As usual the author proves adept at weaving a suspenseful narrative out of humdrum elements, such as e-mail exchanges. If there's a caveat, it's that, as with literary forefather Philip K. Dick, the Vancouver-based author's prose veers wildly from the poetic to the clunky. And his supporting characters often amount to nothing more than a combination of an unusual name and shadowy motive. But the continual barrage of ideas, and the way Gibson arranges them for maximum impact, make for a gripping and insightful glimpse into our hyperdriven consumer culture. --Shawn Conner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Gibson, known as the "patron saint of cyberpunk lit," has made his reputation with futuristic tales. Though his new novel is set in the present, baroque descriptions of everyday articles and menacing anthropomorphic treatment of the Internet and sister technology give it a sci-fi feel. Cayce Pollard, a market researcher with razor-sharp intuition, makes big bucks by evaluating potential products and advertising campaigns. In London, she stays in the trendy digs of documentary filmmaker friend Damien (away on assignment), whom she e-mails frequently. When Cayce brusquely rejects the new logo of advertising mogul Hubertus Bigend, she earns his respect and a big check but makes an enemy of his graphic designer, vindictive Dorotea Benedetti. Hubertus later hires Cayce to ferret out the origin of a series of sensual film clips appearing guerrilla style on computers all over the world and attracting a growing cult following. Cayce treats this as a standard job until somebody breaks into Damien's flat and hacks into her computer. Suddenly every casual encounter carries undertones of danger. Her investigative trail takes her to Tokyo and Russia and through a rogue's gallery of iconoclastic Web-heads. Casting a further shadow is the memory of her father, Win, a security expert (probably CIA) missing and presumed dead in the World Trade Center disaster of exactly a year earlier. For complicated reasons even she doesn't understand, she connects her current dilemma with her father's tragedy and follows the trail with the fervor of a personal vendetta. Gibson's brisk, kinetic style and incisive observations should keep the reader entertained even when Cayce's quest begins to lose urgency. Gibson's best book since Mona Lisa Overdrive should satisfy his hardcore fans while winning plenty of new ones.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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5.0 out of 5 stars great book. 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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2.0 out of 5 stars End not worth the journey Dec 1 2003
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Great but flawed 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Pattern Recognition 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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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss
I really used to enjoy Gibson, but my enthusiasm has dimmed as time has gone by. Things have hit a new low with Pattern Recognition. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2008 by Jack Blatant
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, action-filled plot. Perfect for first time readers of Gibson.
What images would we choose to define our lives? Or a moment in our life? A couple embracing? A bird flying? An empty plastic bag floating on the wind, just grazing the ground? Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2006 by C.C. Ekeke
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing wrtiting
I couldn't pinpoint what is it I like about Gibson's books in general and this one in particular. That is until I read someone else's review saying we like it because of the... Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2006 by ET
2.0 out of 5 stars Good start, bad finish...
I have been a reader of Gibson since the "Burning Chrome" collection, and I have been less and less enamoured of his work as time has passed. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2005 by Tristan Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars irresistable gnomic trivia
Odd how Gibson fiction is not much good, at the same time, seems better than any other fiction around. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Giordano Bruno
4.0 out of 5 stars Gibsons Modern Day Cyberpunk...
While Gibson is probably most known for his Sprawl series, Pattern Recognition is a brilliant look into the modern day world of cyber culture. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by David Flick
5.0 out of 5 stars Suprising Rebirth of Interest
I have read two novels by Gibson previously (Idoru and Burning Chrome)and had found both rather unimpressive. Read more
Published on June 29 2004 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Kiss"
Plot Summary: Plot is well described in the editorial reviews.
Opinion: I like it better than Neuromancer. The pacing is good, the character of Cayce it well set-up. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars The Present catches up to Gibson's Future
I remember the profound sense of fascination I felt when I read Gibson's 'Neuromancer' many years ago. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Daniel Roy
5.0 out of 5 stars an exposition of net culture
Gibson is a stylist rather in the Joycian tradition instead of the Proustian writers I usually love. But more importantly Gibson is the voice of our times. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by reader
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