November 27, 2004

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

book coverGibson's most contemporary novel. Cayce Pollard is an advertising consultant with a very specific specialty. (Yes, Cayce is pronounced "Case," which was the name of the protagonist of Gibson's most famous novel, Neuromancer. One could probably spend much time analyzing the motivation for this correspondence.) She has an innate sensitivity to graphical branding such that she can tell at a glance whether a proposed symbol will be effective or not. Unfortunately for her, this skill comes with physical symptoms that resemble a combination of allergy and panic attack depending on the particular trademark in question. You can imagine how difficult her life must be in our rabidly branded society.

Cayce is also a devotee of the "footage", a sort of internet meme/fad revolving around scores of brief video clips which are being intermittently released into the net by no one knows who. They are ambiguous, possibly parts of a larger whole, possibly not.

While in London doing a logo testing job, she is offered payment and backing to find the creator of the footage. And then things start to get interesting.

Gibson has a gift for writing prose that just drips with what Steinbeck called "hoopdedoodle," yet which is also wildly effective at yanking you into the world of his story and not letting you go. I was just flipping through the book to remind myself of the names and circumstances, and I kept getting sucked into reading for pages and pages. Very fun book.

Posted by jeffy at November 27, 2004 04:56 PM