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Spook Country Paperback – Jun 3 2008


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Spook Country + Zero History + Pattern Recognition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (June 3 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425221415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425221419
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in the same high-tech present day as Pattern Recognition, Gibson's fine ninth novel offers startling insights into our paranoid and often fragmented, postmodern world. When a mysterious, not yet actual magazine, Node, hires former indie rocker–turned–journalist Hollis Henry to do a story on a new art form that exists only in virtual reality, Hollis finds herself investigating something considerably more dangerous. An operative named Brown, who may or may not work for the U.S. government, is tracking a young, Russian-speaking Cuban-Chinese criminal named Tito. Brown's goal is to follow Tito to yet another operative known only as the old man. Meanwhile, a mysterious cargo container with CIA connections repeatedly appears and disappears on the worldwide Global Positioning network, never quite coming to port. At the heart of the dark goings-on is Bobby Chombo, a talented but unbalanced specialist in Global Positioning software who refuses to sleep in the same spot two nights running. Compelling characters and crisp action sequences, plus the author's trademark metaphoric language, help make this one of Gibson's best. 8-city author tour. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Set in the present, Gibson's Pattern Recognition (2002) addressed hacking, viral marketing, global surveillance, and, several years before YouTube and Lonelygirl15, video on the Internet. Spook Country, too, depicts the present, with the future superimposed on it, a layer of data visible only to those who know how to see it. Hollis Henry, formerly the singer in an early nineties band with a cult following and now a freelance journalist, is hired by Node, a Wired-like publication, to write a piece on "locative art," for which a viewer must don a headset to see three-dimensional virtual renditions projected via wireless to an exact location using GPS. Node's funding comes from Hubertus Bigend (returning from Pattern Recognition), the Belgian founder of the "innovative global advertising agency Blue Ant," known for his "ability to find precisely the right person for a given project." In a positively creepy scene, Hollis, upon learning who is funding her job, does a Google search for Bigend and, just after reading a Wikipedia entry on him, gets a phone call from the man himself. Bigend's intentions may be shady, but he is incredibly resourceful. Hollis goes from L.A. to Vancouver to track geo-hacker Bobby Chombo, himself hired by a mysterious outfit to track a missing shipping container. Other colorful characters with cool toys also pursue the container. Still others pursue the pursuers, in typical Gibsonian fashion. Segedin, Ben
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Rausch," said the voice in Hollis Henry's cell. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Irfon-Kim Ahmad on Aug. 21 2007
Format: Audio CD
Very much feeling like a sequel or a parallel story to Pattern Recognition, Spook Country finds Gibson honing his new contemporary style. I really think that it's in these two books that he's finally come into his own.

While Pattern Recognition in many ways was a contemporary cyberpunk novel, this novel strays further into character development and character study, with great results. The plot is perhaps less immediately arresting than Pattern Recognition's, and the main character less oddly unique. However, all of the supporting characters truly shine, fascinatingly sketched and engaging. It's really one of the few stories I've read in a long time which presented the material from multiple viewpoints anchored to multipl characters where there were no characters that I disliked and no chapters that I wanted to rush through to get back to my favourite storyline.

The way the loose threads are ultimately gathered up is slightly more coincidental and convenient than in PR, but ultimately I think more satisfying, for the triumphs are more personal and you wind up feeling for the all of the people of this story.

A really engaging read. I listened to the audiobook version, read by Robertson Dean, and he did a magnificent job, a slick, polished flatness to his voice that suited the text brilliantly while still providing enough characterization to make the characters each pop out.

Two thumbs up. :)
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By Patrick St-Denis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Nov. 18 2007
Format: Hardcover
Needing a break from fantasy, William Gibson's Spook Country seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. As the author of works such as Neuromancer and Pattern Recognition, I thought it would make for a wonderful reading experience.

Unfortunately, though the book is good enough, it is clearly a far cry from what one has come to expect from a writer of William Gibson's caliber. Interestingly enough, the story never quite takes off. Moreover, the ending is about as lackluster as it gets.

The main problem is that one can never really grasp what this book is all about. Short chapters allow us to maintain a level of interest, and the story and characters are intriguing enough to keep us going. Gibson sets a very good pace, making this one a thriller in terms of style.

Having said that, Spook Country lacks that edge, that little something special that sets thriller apart from other fiction subgenres. It lacks that spark that keeps us promising ourselves that this is the last chapter we're reading before our bedtime. Although there are a few cliffhangers, this one is never a particularly exciting read. Indeed, the story sort of creeps up on you, very slowly.

I found the main characters -- Hollis, Tito, and Milgrim -- to be a fascinating bunch at the beginning. And yet, their back stories turn out to be more interesting than the "real time" events.

Still, regardless of the novel's shortcomings, William Gibson succeeds in keeping us interested in what is occurring. As I mentioned, since the reader doesn't understand what is going on, curiosity makes you eager to discover what Spook Country is all about. The author's narrative is as evocative as is usually his wont, which helps the reader along.
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By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 24 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge William Gibson fun, since my university years. I believe his SPRAWL Trilogy to be a strong English Literature Cannon candidate - and, undoubtedly, the Gospel of Science Fiction of our generation.

However, his next trilogy (Virtual Light, Idoru & All Tomorrow's Parties) took an abrupt downturn after the first book of the series. I will not go into the reasons I did not find them to work at par with his previous monumental works; after all, this is not their review.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when my loyalty (finally...) paid off! SPOOK COUNTRY is a BEAUTIFUL book!

If one is hoping to find a fast-paced SF techno-thriller or a page-turner gore-fest, well, this is not the book to pick. Try Richard Morgan instead.
Even since his more action-conscious Neuromancer, William Gibson had always been a subtle writer; his poetic words painting a stroke here and then a stroke there - until his reductionist prose reveals a magic vista of the human condition no one has put to words before.

Be patient with his books. Short chapters, phrasal fragments, unusual word-hacking and turning brand-names into verbs have always been his functional style. And, boy, does his style function!
Long after you will have finished the last page, the imagery will stay with you. Popping up unexpectedly, in the foam of your next Frappuchino; in your car GPS voice; in the site of a spyhopping orca.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed this for the second time. I preferred Pattern Recognition, but the characters in Spook Country are well developed and full. I especially like Tito, although I don't understand the Orishas as much as I should to fully appreciate him. Gibson weaves a fine and full story. A great read and fun plot, it makes a good second story in the Blue Ant trilogy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By vrai on Nov. 24 2007
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Gibson's cyber works, but the last two are much finer writing.
The first ones were all in-your-face attitude. The new ones are atmosphere.

In terms of plot, Spook Country has a very fine one... almost invisible. This is not good if you are still reading Gibson anticipating sci-fi, but it plays well if you are looking for a modern, nuanced read.

John Le Carre it is not... because there is still hope within the anger.
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