Friday, July 15, 2011

spook country

Years ago, reading William Gibson's Neuromancer changed my life. That thing he called cypberspace really sounded interesting. For the first time, I looked forward to the future. You have no idea how bummed I am that Gibson's world is not here for all of us yet. I can't wait! Jack me in all the way baby! Sigh.

Neuromancer also got me reading other science fiction for the first time. I'm still not a fan of “hard” science fiction. I really don't want to wrap my head around quantum physics while I'm wrapping my head around green, pointy eared aliens who only mate once every seven years.

I've read quite a few Gibson books since Neuromancer. None of them have made the same kind of lasting impression. spook country is a different kind of Gibson book. It's political fiction. I won't go so far as to call it a “thriller” because there is very little “thrill” here. spook country took me forever to read. I kept picking up other books instead. Not a good sign.

The book revolves around three people in three separate stories that are slowly coming together. Hollis is an ex-singer writing a story on “locative art” for a magazine that doesn't exist. Milgrim is an educated junkie being held hostage by a “spook” who needs his ability to translate an obscure language. Tito is part of an unusual family who do unusual things for strange people. Gibson could have left Hollis' story out and still had the same book. I can't see any real purpose to her existence.

I'll admit I'm not that into political thrillers or political books of any type. I understand the points Gibson was making in this book. The humor did not go over my head. I just didn't find it that interesting. This book was not for me. It didn't have the kind of payout at the end that I needed. I thought it ended with a quiet pop. I needed a bang after 365 pages of very little happening that moved the story along.

William Gibson is a great writer. I will continue to read his books. In fact, I've decided to go back and read all of them again. I'll give spook country a miss.