Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition

by William Gibson

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 18


Pattern Recognition is William Gibson’s best book since he rewrote all the rules in Neuromancer.”—Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods

“One of the first authentic and vital novels of the 21st century.”—The Washington Post Book World

The accolades and acclaim are endless for William Gibson's coast-to-coast bestseller. Set in the post-9/11 present, Pattern Recognition is the story of one woman's never-ending search for the now...

Cayce Pollard is a new kind of prophet—a world-renowned “coolhunter” who predicts the hottest trends. While in London to evaluate the redesign of a famous corporate logo, she’s offered a different assignment: find the creator of the obscure, enigmatic video clips being uploaded to the internet—footage that is generating massive underground buzz worldwide.
Still haunted by the memory of her missing father—a Cold War security guru who disappeared in downtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001—Cayce is soon traveling through parallel universes of marketing, globalization, and terror, heading always for the still point where the three converge. From London to Tokyo to Moscow, she follows the implications of a secret as disturbing—and compelling—as the twenty-first century promises to be...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425198681
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/2005
Series: Blue Ant Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 120,129
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.03(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Gibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of Count ZeroBurning ChromeMona Lisa OverdriveVirtual LightIdoruAll Tomorrow’s PartiesPattern RecognitionSpook CountryZero HistoryDistrust That Particular Flavor, and The Peripheral. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Date of Birth:

March 17, 1948

Place of Birth:

Conway, South Carolina


B.A., University of British Columbia, 1977

Read an Excerpt


Five hours' New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm.

It is that flat and spectral non-hour, awash in limbic tides, brainstem stirring fitfully, flashing inappropriate reptilian demands for sex, food, sedation, all of the above, and none really an option now.

Not even food, as Damien's new kitchen is as devoid of edible content as its designers' display windows in Camden High Street. Very handsome, the upper cabinets faced in canary-yellow laminate, the lower with lacquered, unstained apple-ply. Very clean and almost entirely empty, save for a carton containing two dry pucks of Weetabix and some loose packets of herbal tea. Nothing at all in the German fridge, so new that its interior smells only of cold and long-chain monomers.

She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien's theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.

She wonders if this gets gradually worse with age: the nameless hour deeper, more null, its affect at once stranger and less interesting?

Numb here in the semi-dark, in Damien's bedroom, beneath a silvery thing the color of oven mitts, probably never intended by its makers to actually be slept under. She'd been too tired to find a blanket. The sheets between her skin and the weight of this industrial coverlet are silky, some luxurious thread count, and they smell faintly of, she guesses, Damien. Not badly, though. Actually it's not unpleasant; any physical linkage to a fellow mammal seems a plus at this point.

Damien is a friend.

Their boy-girl Lego doesn't click, he would say.

Damien is thirty, Cayce two years older, but there is some carefully insulated module of immaturity in him, some shy and stubborn thing that frightened the money people. Both have been very good at what they've done, neither seeming to have the least idea of why.

Google Damien and you will find a director of music videos and commercials. Google Cayce and you will find "coolhunter," and if you look closely you may see it suggested that she is a "sensitive" of some kind, a dowser in the world of global marketing.

Though the truth, Damien would say, is closer to allergy, a morbid and sometimes violent reactivity to the semiotics of the marketplace.

Damien's in Russia now, avoiding renovation and claiming to be shooting a documentary. Whatever faintly lived-in feel the place now has, Cayce knows, is the work of a production assistant.

She rolls over, abandoning this pointless parody of sleep. Gropes for her clothes. A small boy's black Fruit Of The Loom T-shirt, thoroughly shrunken, a thin gray V-necked pullover purchased by the half-dozen from a supplier to New England prep schools, and a new and oversized pair of black 501's, every trademark carefully removed. Even the buttons on these have been ground flat, featureless, by a puzzled Korean locksmith, in the Village, a week ago.

The switch on Damien's Italian floor lamp feels alien: a different click, designed to hold back a different voltage, foreign British electricity.

Standing now, stepping into her jeans, she straightens, shivering.

Mirror-world. The plugs on appliances are huge, triple-pronged, for a species of current that only powers electric chairs, in America. Cars are reversed, left to right, inside; telephone handsets have a different weight, a different balance; the covers of paperbacks look like Australian money.

Pupils contracted painfully against sun-bright halogen, she squints into an actual mirror, canted against a gray wall, awaiting hanging, wherein she sees a black-legged, disjointed puppet, sleep-hair poking up like a toilet brush. She grimaces at it, thinking for some reason of a boyfriend who'd insisted on comparing her to Helmut Newton's nude portrait of Jane Birkin.

In the kitchen she runs tap water through a German filter, into an Italian electric kettle. Fiddles with switches, one on the kettle, one on the plug, one on the socket. Blankly surveys the canary expanse of laminated cabinetry while it boils. Bag of some imported Californian tea substitute in a large white mug. Pouring boiling water.

In the flat's main room, she finds that Damien's faithful Cube is on, but sleeping, the night-light glow of its static switches pulsing gently. Damien's ambivalence toward design showing here: He won't allow decorators through the door unless they basically agree to not do that which they do, yet he holds on to this Mac for the way you can turn it upside down and remove its innards with a magic little aluminum handle. Like the sex of one of the robot girls in his video, now that she thinks of it.

She seats herself in his high-backed workstation chair and clicks the transparent mouse. Stutter of infrared on the pale wood of the long trestle table. The browser comes up. She types Fetish:Footage:Forum, which Damien, determined to avoid contamination, will never bookmark.

The front page opens, familiar as a friend's living room. A frame-grab from #48 serves as backdrop, dim and almost monochrome, no characters in view. This is one of the sequences that generate comparisons with Tarkovsky. She only knows Tarkovsky from stills, really, though she did once fall asleep during a screening of The Stalker, going under on an endless pan, the camera aimed straight down, in close-up, at a puddle on a ruined mosaic floor. But she is not one of those who think that much will be gained by analysis of the maker's imagined influences. The cult of the footage is rife with subcults, claiming every possible influence. Truffaut, Peckinpah . . . The Peckinpah people, among the least likely, are still waiting for the guns to be drawn.

She enters the forum itself now, automatically scanning titles of the posts and names of posters in the newer threads, looking for friends, enemies, news. One thing is clear, though; no new footage has surfaced. Nothing since that beach pan, and she does not subscribe to the theory that it is Cannes in winter. French footageheads have been unable to match it, in spite of countless hours recording pans across approximately similar scenery.

She also sees that her friend Parkaboy is back in Chicago, home from an Amtrak vacation, California, but when she opens his post she sees that he's only saying hello, literally.

She clicks Respond, declares herself CayceP.

Hi Parkaboy. nt

When she returns to the forum page, her post is there.

It is a way now, approximately, of being at home. The forum has become one of the most consistent places in her life, like a familiar café that exists somehow outside of geography and beyond time zones.

There are perhaps twenty regular posters on F:F:F, and some much larger and uncounted number of lurkers. And right now there are three people in Chat, but there's no way of knowing exactly who until you are in there, and the chat room she finds not so comforting. It's strange even with friends, like sitting in a pitch-dark cellar conversing with people at a distance of about fifteen feet. The hectic speed, and the brevity of the lines in the thread, plus the feeling that everyone is talking at once, at counter-purposes, deter her.

The Cube sighs softly and makes subliminal sounds with its drive, like a vintage sports car downshifting on a distant freeway. She tries a sip of tea substitute, but it's still too hot. A gray and indeterminate light is starting to suffuse the room in which she sits, revealing such Damieniana as has survived the recent remake.

Partially disassembled robots are propped against one wall, two of them, torsos and heads, like elfin, decidedly female crash-test dummies. These are effects units from one of Damien's videos, and she wonders, given her mood, why she finds them so comforting. Probably because they are genuinely beautiful, she decides. Optimistic expressions of the feminine. No sci-fi kitsch for Damien. Dreamlike things in the dawn half-light, their small breasts gleaming, white plastic shining faint as old marble. Personally fetishistic, though; she knows he'd had them molded from a body cast of his last girlfriend, minus two.

Hotmail downloads four messages, none of which she feels like opening. Her mother, three spam. The penis enlarger is still after her, twice, and Increase Your Breast Size Dramatically.

Deletes spam. Sips the tea substitute. Watches the gray light becoming more like day.

Eventually she goes into Damien's newly renovated bathroom. Feels she could shower down in it prior to visiting a sterile NASA probe, or step out of some Chernobyl scenario to have her lead suit removed by rubber-gowned Soviet technicians, who'd then scrub her with long-handled brushes. The fixtures in the shower can be adjusted with elbows, preserving the sterility of scrubbed hands.

She pulls off her sweater and T-shirt and, using hands, not elbows, starts the shower and adjusts the temperature.

FOUR hours later she's on a reformer in a Pilates studio in an upscale alley called Neal's Yard, the car and driver from Blue Ant waiting out on whatever street it is. The reformer is a very long, very low, vaguely ominous and Weimar-looking piece of spring-loaded furniture. On which she now reclines, doing v-position against the foot rail at the end. The padded platform she rests on wheels back and forth along tracks of angle-iron within the frame, springs twanging softly. Ten of these, ten toes, ten from the heels. . . In New York she does this at a fitness center frequented by dance professionals, but here in Neal's Yard, this morning, she seems to be the sole client. The place is only recently opened, apparently, and perhaps this sort of thing is not yet so popular here. There is that mirror-world ingestion of archaic substances, she thinks: People smoke, and drink as though it were good for you, and seem to still be in some sort of honeymoon phase with cocaine. Heroin, she's read, is cheaper here than it's ever been, the market still glutted by the initial dumping of Afghani opium supplies.

Done with her toes, she changes to heels, craning her neck to be certain her feet are correctly aligned. She likes Pilates because it isn't, in the way she thinks of yoga, meditative. You have to keep your eyes open, here, and pay attention.

That concentration counters the anxiety she feels now, the pre-job jitters she hasn't experienced in a while.

She's here on Blue Ant's ticket. Relatively tiny in terms of permanent staff, globally distributed, more post-geographic than multinational, the agency has from the beginning billed itself as a high-speed, low-drag life-form in an advertising ecology of lumbering herbivores. Or perhaps as some non-carbon-based life-form, entirely sprung from the smooth and ironic brow of its founder, Hubertus Bigend, a nominal Belgian who looks like Tom Cruise on a diet of virgins' blood and truffled chocolates.

The only thing Cayce enjoys about Bigend is that he seems to have no sense at all that his name might seem ridiculous to anyone, ever. Otherwise, she would find him even more unbearable than she already does.

It's entirely personal, though at one remove.

Still doing heels, she checks her watch, a Korean clone of an old-school Casio G-Shock, its plastic case sanded free of logos with a scrap of Japanese micro-abrasive. She is due in Blue Ant's Soho offices in fifty minutes.

She drapes a pair of limp green foam pads over the foot rail, carefully positions her feet, lifts them on invisible stiletto heels, and begins her ten prehensile.

—Reprinted from Pattern Recognition by William Gibson by permission of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2003, William Gibson. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Assuredley one of the first authentic and vital novels of the 21st century." —Washington Post Book Review

"Welcome to the present, Mr. Gibson. In his first book set in the present, Gibson turns loose the full power of his laser eyes...A masterful performance."
Chicago Tribune

"Dangerously hip...will amaze you."
USA Today

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Pattern Recognition 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 165 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes the reader into the world of Cayce Pollard. Pollard is paid to rpedict trends in advertising and has a strange phobia to certain logos. The plot involves the search for the creator of film clips that are being released on the internet. Pollard is paid to hunt for the creator, and the trip takes to Japan, and Russia. I found the book hard to follow. The text rambled at times. I also didn't connect with Pollard and the obsession with the film. If you are a Gibson fan, this book may appeal to you. However, if you have not read any of Gibson's work I would not recommend this book to be your first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
William Gibson's ground-breaking debut novel Neuromancer set new standards for science fiction, launched the sub-genre 'cyberpunk,' and coined the term 'cyberspace.' For his latest, Gibson steps away from the near-future, and into the post-9/11 present. Protagonist Cayce Pollard posesses a sensitivity to advertising that makes her valuable to advertising agencies looking to determine which campaigns and logos and trends will be successful. While working in London for one agency, she determines that her employer has a hidden agenda for hiring her: he wants her to discover the creator of mysterious footage that has created a devoted following on the internet. Cayce is haunted throughout by the disappearance (and possible death) of her father in New York during September 11's terrorist attacks. As usual, Gibson displays his knack for strong, interesting characters. Although Gibson usually ends his books awkwardly, I thought he managed to tie everything up satisfactorily. The weakness of Pattern Recognition lies in it's slow pacing and sometimes tangential interuptions. It's an even work, but worth reading for fans and non-fans alike. It's always interesting to watch an artist stretch himself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a Gibson fan from WAY back, Neuromancer being one of my favorite books of all time, and I truly mean that! I had the opportunity to read Pattern Recognition back-to-back with a fine denouement to the Rei Toei Trilogy, All Tomorrow's Parties, and I thought this was very helpful to make comparisons to. Overall, I enjoyed this book greatly, right up till about thirty pages from the end...which is a shame, because the anticlimax and absurdity of part of the ending ruined what truly WOULD have been Gibson's best book since his first. The premise of the footage and the hunt for its maker were all pure Gibson, rendering the novel's setting in the post-9/11 world irrelevant when compared with Gibson's prior settings of 'the not too distant future,' although why he felt use of this sensational date was necessary is beyond me; it felt like little more than a superfluous, thrown-in plot point. Also Cayce Pollard makes for a most compelling heroine, easily Gibson's most fully-formed since his more famous Case, and I found her 'allergy' to trademarks fascinating, as any good intellectual property attorney would! The steps she takes to determining the footage's maker, and the eventual revelation of the same, is full of a pathos and tenderness I'd not ever really gotten from a Gibson novel, and it was really welcome. After such a revelation, then, no wonder everything came as an anticlimax. And yet, the book DOES end on this bad note, not so much emotionally as with too many loose ends neatly, and almost incredulously, sewn up. Gibson's ending here suffers from what I call 'the MASH syndrome,' after an insufferable episode of the TV show where absolutely EVERY SINGLE THING revolves around one patient's recovery there. (Truth to tell, I think one reason why everyone dislikes George Lucas' latest Star Wars efforts is due to this same thing, such as Anakin being the creator of C-3PO. Is the galaxy really that small?) Much like in that episode then, characters are linked together and used in the ending pages of Pattern Recognition in ways that will have you near-laughter, saying, 'Does he really expect me to believe THAT?' And don't even get me STARTED on the 'duck in the face' references, I simply hated them! Still, this is not meant to be a negative criticism at all, and I hope my tone doesn't give that impression. Gibson's ear for fantastic-sounding prose is fully-intact here, and both the premise and major plot points of Pattern Recognition are credible and gripping, especially in these early years of the 21st Century. It's just that when wrapping up a great meal, you would like dessert to be perfect as well...and in this one case, the Master of Cyberpunk sort of let me down. At least I had All Tomorrow's Parties to fall back on though. Hope everyone enjoys ALL this wonderful writer's simply awesome works.
JimElkins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Speedy, superficial, chic (but not as pointedly chic as "American Psycho"), international (but not as genuinely as Chico Buarque), appropriately breathless. Yet another book by an author who has gotten used to a drifting international lifestyle, and knows he needs to watch his designer sneakers and fatigued Gap jeans.At the plot's center is a sharp idea about the reconstruction of film clips scattered throughout the internet. It's visually obsessive like Robbe-Grillet's "Voyeur," but up-to-date like Lev Manovich. But Gibson is too busy with the confetti of international airport lounges to really pay attention to his visual images.
frannyor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't know what it is about this book, but I've read it twice, savoring it each time. There's something so cool about being a coolhunter, about being so phobic of branding that you file the logos off metal buttons, I love how the story rises organically from bits and pieces of information, as patterns shift and shimmy and finally resolve. I love how in the midst of all the technogeek trappings there is old-fashioned exotic adventure and a glowing kernel of compassion. I love how the plot resolves, surprising and original and not depending on shock or violence to make the story whole. And how cool is it to have a character named Hubertus Bigend?
nordie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set a few minutes in the future, this is the story about marketing, paranoia, stalking, and crime. For me, a lot better than Neuromancer
richardmckellar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pattern Recognition continues Gibson's exploration of a near-real world, but here in present time and current (2004) issues. The essence of the theme which carries the narrative is concerned with how market primacy can be gained in a rapidly evolving or even stochastically changing technological context: branding, personal or global influence, generating public or group interest or generating groups to be interested. In a Pychonesque way, this broad theme is interlaced with a large number of other simultaneous streams of activity, sometimes incidental to the main theme and sometimes converging with it: the nature of art, collecting, grief, belief, evidence, artefact and others. To write more about the content would reveal too much; it's enough to say that the book is another terrific opportunity to look into the mirror Gibson has placed on our own world and gain a better understanding of this new century.
penwing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I remember once trying to read Neuromancer. I failed. The book is still sat on my shelf. When I opened my SantaThing parcel and saw this book I decided that I should really give Gibson another try. I took it as my only book on the Train to Nottingham for Christmas. There are some lovely fields and towns that you pass through on the train. Really quite lovely.Yeah. I got through the first four chapters and... gave up. Gibson is not an author who's work I can enjoy. I love the sound of his work, but the execution leaves me bored.
pwoodford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I could easily become addicted to William Gibson. Like Spook Country, which I recently read and reviewed, Pattern Recognition is a hipster's delight. Gibson likes complex stories with interrelated events and characters. He's a student of pop culture, and his novels are right on top of current trends. Even more than complexity and hipness, I think, he likes happy endings. Some say he's a sentimentalist, but I don't think hipness has to be dark. These novels work for me. I want more!
ctorstens on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I was expecting, and looking for, something this book was not. Seeing other people's reviews inspire me to read this one again.
crazybatcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Err... this is from page 21 "Looks back as she's leaving and he is there, regarding her severely from the depths of black parentheses"What? He regarded her severely? Really? What on earth are black parentheses? (They're in a coffee shop.) This entire book is written in this way - like the author is experimenting with short sweet lines, made more complex by the addition of unexpected adverbs and metaphors. But all I really wanted is a story. Some action, some characterization... not this cold clinical book that was obviously written with a thesaurus close to hand; oh, and a book of brand names wasn't far off either - every second sentence drops another. Of course, this is the point of the book - name-branding - but I still sort of expected some plot or, at least, a chance to give a hoot about the main character. I'm left wondering if the main character is also a name brand - all marketing and words, no personality.
ttavenner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At the time I couldn't tell if I enjoyed this story or not. It had the overarching conspiracy that I enjoyed from earlier novels, but at times the story was to abstract and it was difficult to understand the motivations of the characters. Looking back I feel like this was an experiment for Spook Country. It has a similar feel and takes place in the same "present day, but just under the surface" world, but the story telling is not as tight.
TeeMcp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best examples of Gibson's ability to assimilate the sum total of modern life into a work of alleged science fiction. I say alleged because with every passing year, the premise of his books seem more plausible.Pattern Recognition weaves post 9-11paranoia, fashion, post Soviet Union economics, independent film, and Otaku lust into a page turning delight. The author's ability to dive deep into social observation and report the findings back in a fistful of simple, salient words is remarkable. It almost makes me think social ficition, or psyche-fiction would be a more apt term for these kind of books. Like some kind of carnival mirror that shows us a slightly skewed version of our lives.To be honest, it's more of an ideas, or concept book than a sci-fi adventure. More of a chess game than a football game, if you can stomach a sports metaphor.
ShellyS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
William Gibson has been one of my favorite authors since I first read and was enthralled by Neuromancer. Maybe I've gotten jaded or perhaps things get past me now that didn't used to, but this book left me feeling unaffected, something I never thought I'd say about a Gibson novel.Cayce Pollard, in this contemporary tale, set soon after 9/11, can predict market success of products and logos, of public relations campaigns for consumer goods. The nature of this skill is nebulous at best. At the heart of the story is some footage, aka video, that appears piece by piece on the internet. Cayce is tasked to find the "maker" of the footage. If there's a slimmer premise for a novel, I can't think of it.The book sparkles with Gibson's clever prose, but this time, it feels like name dropping due to all the product names bandied about. And for 80 or so pages, nothing seems to happen. There is more packed into the last 50 pages of the 356 page trade paperback than the rest of the book together, or so it seemed. And I was left thinking, so what? The premise, the action, all seemed quaint, out of place with how the world is evolving. To set his story so close to now, Gibson pretty much guaranteed that this bookhad a short life for freshness. It's not quite stale now, but it certainly felt old.Or maybe it's just me, missing something obvious. I doubt it.
baubie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first William Gibson book so I went in with high expectations from all the good things I've heard. I enjoyed reading this book as he is a good writer and is able to pull you into his fictional world. I did not, however, enjoy the story -- or lack there of. The entire novel revolves around Cacye Pollard's quest to uncover the truth behind "the footage", a series of film clips mysteriously found online.I couldn't believe that the mystery and intrigue generated in these characters could happen in real life. Sure, fads like this happen, but they don't get as big as they did in this book. And as others have said, the ending... blah.I read in another review that this book wasn't meant to tell a story, just to give an ambiance of the internet culture in modern day. I buy that, but at least give me SOMETHING of a believable story.
francomega on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this one. Gibson has a masterful grasp of language that I both admire and thoroughly enjoy. And, of course, he has an eye on the tech and trends of the near-future. This one plays out as a mystery and keeps you turning pages.
RayLynneSH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was reading this again last night, and as I had the first time I read the book, I found the present tense grating, especially as I started out. But soon, I forgot my irritation in my enjoyment of Cayce Pollard and her richly detailed world--both interior and exterior. I love Cayce's basic competence, her ability to fit in with almost anyone without losing her own identity, even her psychological hang-ups. And her journey and its conclusion are thoroughly satisfying. Oh--and did I mention that Gibson¿s use of language is masterful--even when it grates?
LaurieRKing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recommend pretty much anything by Gibson. And yes, I liked Pattern Recognition a lot, even if it isn't cyberpunk.
conformer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've followed the progression of Gibson's books ever since I got Neuromancer for Xmas in 1984, and have enjoyed each one immensely. I can especially appreciate his "less is more" approach in the way he's able to pack more slick punch into one or two run-on sentences than someone else would struggle to in the same number of paragraphs.Pattern Recognition is probably Gibson's most contemporary story, set just a year after 9/11. but everything he is good at showing is still there. Cities laid out like neon labyrinths, the internet depicted as both a community and isolation chamber, and artists liberated from the stigmata of obsequiousness. He even self-references Neuromancer by naming his protagonist "Cayce."What I don't remember from previous books(or perhaps I'm just more sensitive to it now) is the near-omnipresence of brand names peppered all throughout the book, even integrating themselves into the storyline and Cayce's backstory. Hilfiger, Prada, Sony, British Airways, Hummer, and Apple are all equally represented, especially the latter, from which one can only assume that Gibson is a Mac freak. With this much virtual advertising in a single book, does its mere presence compromise the integrity of the writer, or can the reader simply accept it as the merging of vocabularies. Some writers use slang, others dialects and alien tongues, and Gibson(and his contemporaries) use branding.Excellent throughout, nevertheless. So good, that when I finished it, I wanted to start all over again.
leo_depart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
interesting characters, stylish language, great ideas and places and quite a page-turner. the plot itself suffers a little from being to obviously constructed with a lot of handy coincidences. the finale is a bit disappointing too - quite bland. nevertheless a good read.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book in the history of forever. I love it, I love rereading it. And when I read it back in August, it had been years since I'd read it last. It was weird, because I'm finally the same age as Cayce (32) and so I was reading from the perspective of being the same age, as opposed to being young (as before). I can't explain how much I love this novel. It's a book about obsession, about computers, the internet. It's a perfect novel, in every way and I adore it completely. It helps that I love Gibson, but no other book has come close to PR in terms of ones I love. There aren't enough stars in this world.
edgeworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Neuromancer" was William Gibson's novel, and it remains his finest: a fantastic science fiction tale of a washed-up computer hacker drawn into the ultimate heist, it was gritty and post-modern and ahead of its time and genre-spawning and, most importantly of all, simply an excellent novel. In the decades that followed, Gibson wrote many more novels set in the "Neuromancer" universe, before eventually writing "Pattern Recognition" - his first novel set in the real world and the present day."Pattern Recognition" is centred around Cayce Pollard, a "marketing consultant" who is literally allergic to certain logos and corporate symbols (the novel's only unrealistic touch). While working in London, Cayce is hired by a Belgian entrepreneur to uncover the origin of a series of viral videos that are sweeping the Internet. This leads her to Tokyo, back to London, and finally to Moscow.The most intriguing thing about "Pattern Recognition" is that it reads like science fiction despite the fact that it isn't. It's not so much that Gibson has stopped writing science fiction; rather that the real world has caught up to the creative vision he laid down in the 1980s. And yet it's not (and never was) technology that defines the fiction of William Gibson, but rather the way it influences and affects our society and our identities. Marketing, globalisation, fashion trends, commercialism, the end of communism, the effect of September 11... "Neuromancer" was impressive not just for its prediction of technologies such as the Internet, but also because it depicted a world in which corporations are becoming more powerful than nation-states, urban decay is rife and society seems to be wracked with nihilism. "Pattern Recognition" presents the same world - but this time it's real.I spent three years at university trying to wrap my head around post-modernism, and now I can recognise it when I see it, but I still can't articulate it. Whatever, nobody cares about post-modernism.In any case, I found "Pattern Recognition" to be fascinating on that level, but not neccesarily fascinating on its own merit. It's a good book, certainly, but nowhere near the level of "Neuromancer." On the other hand I read it quite quickly, so it must have been somewhat compelling. Certainly reccommended for Gibson fans.
dogrover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Extremely readable, fast-paced, and packed with big thinking. Tries to fit too many books inside a single cover, and never really links the large ideas to things small enough for us to see. They just hover there, unrealized, tempting the reader to misinterpret. Perhaps this intentionally encourages apophenia, but probably not.
cthuluci on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really not nearly as good as the other books by him I've read. Burning Chrome and Neuromancer were much, much stronger, and Mona Lisa Overdrive and Count Zero, while slightly weaker than the two earlier books, were all still better than Pattern Recognition.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was not a typical Gibson novel. Even though the themes and plot involved the Net and computing, it is set in the present day, and the style and content are a departure for Gibson. I had trouble getting into the story not because of these things, but because it felt too close to the World Trade Center tragedy and the writing felt almost forced. Despite the almost constant attempts to do so on television news, I think it is still too soon to examine 9/11 in a historical context, yet that is what I feel Gibson is trying to do here. His themes of pattern recognition and the human condition in the 21st century are almost ¿ but not quite ¿ realized. The results are both tantalizing and disappointing, as if this could have been a really good book if he had only waited a few more years to write it. (Note: This review was originally written in February 2004.)