Jan 01 2007

All Tomorrow’s Parties by William Gibson

Published by at 9:59 pm under Books

This is the first book I’ve completed in over three months, and I thought I’d read it once before. However after finishing it, I don’t think I ever did. Idoru is a similar book by Gibson and I think that is causing my confusion.

I liked the beginning of All Tomorrow’s Parties. While I’ve only read one Faulkner book, the beginning of this one reminded me of Faulkner’s style; as I understand it. Snippets of speech and interactions not laid out in a linear manner but moving along in parallel lines. Lots of ambiguity and wondering about who’s who and how they relate. That was the good stuff.

Parallel threads kept going through the book and they all came together on the Oakland-Bay Bridge. An imaginary, future, Bay Bridge which has been damaged in an earthquake, is closed to traffic, and became a squatters’ city. Nice invention that was, and a big part of the action takes place on and near that bridge.

After a good start, the author begins to throw in explanations of the past events and technologies; i.e. commentary on technology and events at the time he was writing. The book contained a bit too much lecture and explanation for me, but the end really left me cold. It seemed too improbable being based on an opaque “merging” of an artificially created entity, i.e. a computer simulation, with two guys on some drug that lets them see and feel the flow of data! This merger is somehow a critical step in the world heading toward a “nodal point like 1911″. This conclusion lost me on both ends. I’m not sure what happened in 1911 and I’m not sure what happened at the end of the book when the three ‘merged”. When it happens nothing changes. The story just ends.

Mostly fun, easy to read story. Definitely not great.

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