I hate to say it, but I think William Gibson may be a one trick pony.
Neuromancer was a revelation. I don't know if Gibson created the cyber terms we use today, or was just responsible for their wide usage. But a fun and interesting book, if a little difficult to read.
His next 3 books were equally good. But....pretty much the same book.
His last two books, Pattern Recognition and Spook Country are set in the present to near future, and I've had a difficult time getting into them.
He has an oblique style, coming at things sidewise, never really explaining. Which is O.K. if the payoff is there. He throws out brand names and new technology -- but it comes across as desperately hip to me now, as if he's gleaned all the fresh concepts and words off the net.
Contrast Gibson to Neal Stephenson, who maybe didn't create cyberpunk, but who wrote the quintessential cyberpunk book: Snowcrash. Then moved on to a Victorian flavored S.F. book, Diamond Age, which seems to me the quintessential steampunk book; and then wrote his own near future novel, Cryptonomicon.
It seems to me that Stephenson tackles bigger subjects, in more depth, and more entertainingly than Gibson. He's matured as a writer, where Gibson seems to have reached his limits.
Stephenson's Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) is a magnificent trilogy, and I breezed through the 1000 pages of each. Didn't understand all the science and philosophy, mind you, but enjoyed the story and maybe, just maybe, picked up a few mind expanding concepts.
I really need to plow through Spook Country and Pattern Recognition before I come to any final conclusions.
But there it is -- just the fact that I feel as though I need to "plow" through the books shows the problem.
Done and done.
1 day ago