416 pages

English language

Published May 28, 2020 by Penguin Books, Limited.

ISBN:
978-0-241-23721-2
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4 stars (73 reviews)

6 editions

A good start, a decent end, but it chugs for a little while

4 stars

Honestly, this would have been 3 stars, except the beginning REALLY did a good job of hooking me. I loved the concept and the execution, I loved the way the plot went from 0-100 in the first part of the book, and I loved the characters.

After the first half, I feel like it got a little aimless, though. It's very much a cyberpunk counter-espionage thriller, but includes all the really boring parts of what that entails. There's a lot of moving around, shaking tails, and a lot of waiting. Honestly, it could have been shorter, except I think Gibson sort of wanted to fill out the world of "the big stub". Unfortunately, the slow-moving (and often off-screen) London beauracracy of the future isn't exactly thrilling.

But then you get through that, and there's a pretty good ending that really made me want a third book. I like what Gibson …

reviewed Agency by William Gibson, BA

More of the good stuff convoluted story

3 stars

I listened to this book with a sinus infection so maybe I missed some of the charm, but there are not one but two exposition characters constantly asking what's going on, and they're abosulty necessary to keep the story straight. And are often apologized to because nobody has any idea what is gong on or why people are going places and doing things. There are narrative reasons for all of this, but it's a big glamor show with no real impact. In fact the last 30% of the book could have not included the protaganist and it would have gone exactly the same way. While we got flashy fights and over the top stunts with the main character keeping a stiff upper lip and going along for the ride, I still can't tell you why.

It's a narrative full of "and then" and no "there for" or "but".

Awesome characters, …

Review of 'Agency' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

The AI character, Eunice, was the best part. I was fascinated with the idea of the number and depth of tasks she was capable of simultaneously, coordinating an astounding series of cause/effect to reach a goal. The rest of the book was a maze of confusing subplots and characters I didnt feel anything for, which led to not keeping track of much and not enjoying the book as much as I hoped to.

other dislikes: Topics from 2020 are name-dropped then forgotten. A main character is a remote-control robot where every single mention includes the location or circumstance of the charger it comes with. OMG the charger got tedious. The character names feel like advanced scrabble moves.

Review of 'Agency' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is a sequel to The Peripheral, and continues the characters of Wilf Netherton and his wife Rainey, as well as introducing the new characters of Verity Jane and AI entity Eunice (UNISS).

For those who've lost track (easy to do), Wilf and Rainey live in a future similar to what ours may be, where Trump won the election, a combination of ecological and political disasters created a massive global population drop ("The Jackpot") which mostly only the super rich oligarchy survived (aka "the Klept"), and they've discovered some kind of technology that allows them to make contact with alternate universes in the past ("stubs").

In this book we meet Verity Jane, who lives in an alternate stub in which Hilary Clinton won (she's never referred to by name but is clearly Clinton) and in which she's hired to test a brand new AI of mysterious origin called Eunice. Somehow …

Review of 'Agency' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I'm honestly not sure what I think of this one. Gibson's prose is as beautiful as ever, and I thought there were some really clever moments that build on the world he built in The Peripheral. Plus, just some cool, fun action and speculative things about this "stub."

However, the Trump/Clinton stuff, while never said by name, is still so close to the surface that it feels jarring.

And my biggest issue with the story is that the protagonist doesn't DO anything. She's just along for the ride from jump. Eunice shows up, tells her to do some stuff, and then she just goes along with everything. I can't think of any choices she made other than to trust Eunice. Which is ironic for a book about agency. The more I think about it, this criticism (protagonist along for the ride) may apply to Gibson's other books, or at least …

Review of 'Agency' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I had a few false starts in trying to get into this novel, but then I decided awhile ago that I'd read it on my upcoming vacation... I just finished it, reading it at a pretty fast (for me) clip.

I loved this book, one of the best from Gibson post-Sprawl, and potentially displacing the Bigend books in my nonexistent ranking of books from an author I love. Of course, the range of that ranking system is pretty narrow.

I look forward to future books in this world, for sure, in fact, I wish I had more right now.

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Subjects

  • Fiction, technological
  • Fiction, science fiction, hard science fiction

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