Fiction Reviews


(1996) William Gibson, Viking, 16.00, hrdbk, 304pp, ISBN 0 670 85778 5

Return to form for Gibson after the disappointing Virtual Light. Not surprisingly this is set in a 'virtuality' (horrible word!) world that seems to do nothing more than mimic the shifting landscapes of a Dick or Vonnegut, though lacking the same vital imagination. Nonetheless, Gibson seems comfortable in the infoscapes that virtual reality allows him.

Rei Toei is the virtual heroine/villainess of the piece, a media star about to be married by Rez of the band Lo/Rez (sic). Chia is the fourteen year old from Seattle determined to discover the truth for the Rez fan club, and Laney is just looking for work in a neon Tokyo straight out of Chinatown (but without the elan). Thrills, spills and mortal danger abound in this romp-with-few-surprises, and there are moments when this all seems so old-hat as to be nostalgic, but at least Gibson can still write. If you like this kind of stuff, you'll probably read it anyway and, if you don't, you now know enough to avoid this.

Tony Chester

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