Spook Country by William Gibson

1 minutes estimated reading time

I read Gibson’s seminal cyberpunk works a decade ago and felt it was time to visit Gibson’s more recent work. I am not reading them in order, just as they come off the shelf. Spook Country is set in a world similar to the one that we know, and closer in time to now, than his sprawl trilogy books.

Blue Ant

The story  revolves around branding and features a future-gazing advertising agency called Blue Ant seeking to grasp the future. In it are cutting-edge artists utilising augmented reality and where 2.0 technologies to make ‘locative art’.

Whilst it is implied in his earlier works globalisation and container shipping also play a major role in this one.

Web of no web

Gibson uses the plot of Spook Country to recant the virtual reality dream of the ‘matrix’ that he painted in his earlier books. This vision feels out of place despite inspiring other cyberpunk and science fiction writers from Neal Stephenson to Earnest Cline. Instead Gibson sigues augmented and virtual reality into the more prosaic web that we have today. The augmented reality of the Wii, Sony PlayStation’s eyetoy,  geocaching, Google Maps, QRcodes and iPhone applications like Carling’s virtual pint. This is what I like to call the web of no web because in essence, the world becomes ‘the matrix’.

Spook Country has the brand awareness that is a signature of Brett Easton Ellis’ work (particularly American Psycho) and the storytelling of John LeCarre. Gibson pulls multiple strands together weaving the story tighter and tighter together as the thriller gains momentum. You can find more book reviews here.