Virtual Light

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Reader reviewed by Mairi

It is 2005, and California has broken up into two sister states, NoCal and SoCal, both of which are filled with fascinating characters such as the courier, who sleeps in a hotel room in Mexico City with his digital mistress, and Berry Rydell, who takes a job in Los Angeles that goes awry. That's hardly a surprise, as most things in the lives of the children of the eighties have gone awry- they're too young to be firmly rooted in either millenium; they're just drifting about in a world that seems to have lost its way. It still clings to vestiges of the twentieth century, such as the reality TV show (Cops In Trouble) that almost solves Rydell's problem, but it also contains elements of an imagined future- the aforementioned digital mistress, for one.

William Gibson is one of my favorite science fiction authors- Neuromancer, in fact, is one of my favorite books of all time. Hence, it's only natural that I would read this book, despite the fact that many people I know read his Sprawl trilogy and nothing else. Neuromancer, set in the distant future, isn't all that dated yet, but Virtual Light (set in 2005, as I said) is, and that could be off- putting to a lot of people.

I think Virtual Light is a good book, though, if you interpret "2005" as it was in the early nineties- this is a novel of the immediate future, and it's meant to stay in the immediate future, not become a novel of today or yesterday.

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