On reading: The Peripheral by William Gibson

The PeripheralTitle: The Peripheral

Author: William Gibson

From the back: In the near future in a broken down rural America, Flynne Fisher scrapes a living as a gamer for rich players. One night, working a game set in a futuristic but puzzlingly empty London, she sees a death that’s unnervingly vivid. Soon after she gets word that it isn’t a game after all – the future she saw is all too real, she’s the only witness to a murder and someone from that unreal tomorrow now wants her dead.

The story of a young woman caught between two worlds, The Peripheral interweaves two futures – pre-apocalypse USA and post-apocalypse London – to tell a story which gets right to heart of the way we live now.

The gist: Arguably the Godfather of Cyberpunk, William Gibson has to be up there with one of the authors who shaped my formative reading years. I was brought up on Neuromancer and ripped through Pattern Recognition. Recently I’ve been talking with friends about how science fiction so often seems to predict the future, or comment on how the human psyche might change or be influenced by the world we live and the world we create. Gibson counts for me as one of those authors whose work is so relevant, so of our time and yet so of the future that you can’t help but be engrossed by it.

I don’t like time travel fiction, as a general rule. And in some ways, The Peripheral could fall into that bracket. And yet, it’s so much more. It’s about futures rather than future. It’s about the apocalypse and the not-apocalypse and the unknown. It’s filled with political intrigue, murder mystery, and blurs the lines between media and reality.

And it’s done with flair and with characters you can get your teeth into.

For me, Gibson is consistently an author who I read and think three things;

  • Bloody hell, that was good
  • Maybe, just a little bit, he’s made me a bit smarter
  • Goddamn, I wish I could write like that

And The Peripheral was no exception.

Favourite line: “It’s like wearing your cock ring to meet the pope, and making sure he sees it.”

Read if: You want some smart science fiction which says as much about our humanity as about the technology we might be using some day (soon)

Read with: Access to all of your digital devices

Get it: The Peripheral by William Gibson