Go ahead, cyberpunk: make my day

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spook-country.jpgIt’s not due out until Aug. 7, but I’m already salivating for William Gibson’s latest, Spook Country. His last novel, Pattern Recognition, was one of the high points of 2006 for me.

Spook Country: Tito is in his early twenties. Born in Cuba, he speaks fluent Russian, lives in one room in a NoLita warehouse, and does delicate jobs involving information transfer. Hollis Henry is an investigative journalist, on assignment from a magazine called Node. Node doesn't exist yet, which is fine; she’s used to that. But it seems to be actively blocking the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they start up. Really actively blocking it. It’s odd, even a little scary, if Hollis lets herself think about it much. Which she doesn’t; she can’t afford to. Milgrim is a junkie. A high-end junkie, hooked on prescription antianxiety drugs. Milgrim figures he wouldn't survive 24 hours if Brown, the mystery man who saved him from a misunderstanding with his dealer, ever stopped supplying those little bubble packs. What exactly Brown is up to Milgrim can’t say, but it seems to be military in nature. At least, Milgrim’s very nuanced Russian would seem to be a big part of it, as would breaking into locked rooms. Bobby Chombo is a “producer,” and an enigma. In his day job, Bobby is a troubleshooter for manufacturers of military navigation equipment. He refuses to sleep in the same place twice. He meets no one. Hollis Henry has been told to find him.

Not sure who William Gibson is? Put it this way: Gibson coined the term ‘cyberspace.’ His 1984 novel Neuromancer first used the term ‘matrix’ to refer to the visual interface of the then mostly non-existent internet. Nuff said.

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