William Gibson's novel Pattern Recognitionis something of a departure from the norm. Gibson is best known for hisfuturistic stories such as Neuromancer, which single-handedly startedthe sub genre of SF known as cyberpunk back in the 1980s. PatternRecognition, however, is a contemporarytale, deeply rooted in the real life cyber-culture of today; a culturethat did not exist in the 1980s. Gibson's story does a fantastic job ofcapturing the feel and style of internet life and the relationshipsbetween people who can be very close to one another, yet never haveactually met face-to-face.
The novel's main character is Cayce Pollard, a young woman who makes aliving as a coolhunter- someone who tries to determine what the nextbig fad, trend or style in popular culture will be. She is also afootagehead, an almost obsessive fan of the enigmatic video clips whichare being uploaded to the internet in a seeming random manner.Footageheads from around the world communicate via an online forum.While in London on a project, Cayce is offered an irresistible jobopportunity- find the origin and meaning of the Footage.
Thus the stage is set for a globe-trotting romp that takes Cayce and herassorted cohorts from London to Tokyo to Moscow, through cyberspace, andthrough plot upon plot and layer upon delicious layer of mystery, all inthe wake of September 11, 2001.
Gibson's writing is a thing of beauty. His style is terse, but with theeconomy of words comes a prose which is poetic and an absolute pleasureto read. Gibson also has a good grasp of internet culture which adds alayer of realism to the characters and narrative.
Pattern Recognition may well become aclassic of the 21st century. This is a book that truly captures the moodand style that is the new millennium.