Friday, September 9, 2016

Another Take on Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant, #1)Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished Pattern Recognition again on September 6, 2016, I see about five years since I first read it. I have upgraded my review to five stars, as it is nearly Gibson's best, between Neuromancer and The Peripheral. Pattern Recognition has one distinction in being his only novel with only one point of view, which may mislead some readers as lighter. It certainly has its seemingly jokey moments--Cayce (CASE!) Pollard's major trigger is the Michelin Man--but on reflection the weight and resonance of its streams are heavier and sadder than anything Gibson has written. And no one amongst Cayce, Parkaboy and even Boone Chu are anywhere the physical types that Molly Mirrorshades and the not case of Mona Lisa Overdrive. As if Gibson was saying, enough with the amusing fanboy stuff, here is what is real. There is no question that Cayce suffers from a crippling panic disorder; under other circumstances she would be a shut in. She is the sort of orphan as well, with a lost perhaps deceased father, and a mother who has retreated into the occult (EVP) and no siblings. Cayce has a beautiful life, perhaps, but it is balanced on a needle. She is exactly the person that Hubertus Bigend can manipulate to his own ends, because as resistant and specific as she is, her life depends upon patrons and connections. The tale of the footage is on some level a Macguffin, but Gibson gives enough hints that someone with a knowledge of French New Wave, or Wong Kar Wai, and other impressionistic directors can fill in some gaps. It also is the sigil of the dialectic of joy and despair that ultimate the only story that the internet has to tell us. Maybe like Cayce we should put that lovely computer under our beds for awhile.

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