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Reviews of Pattern Recognition (2003)

Review by clong (2007-03-17)
I had been slightly disappointed with Neuromancer, so it took me some time to get around to picking up another Gibson title. But when I ran into mint-condition copy of Pattern Recognition at the used book store at a price that was too good to be true, I decided to give him another try. I'm glad I did.

This is definitely a book about now: the post 9-11, connected, globalized world. Its protagonist is the very original Cayce Pollard, a professional "cool-hunter" with a sixth sense that tells her which designs will be hits and which will be flops. This has allowed her to make a pretty decent living as a marketing consultant, but has also left her with an odd phobia towards the over-exposed, and over-commercialized (a visit to the Tommy Hilfiger section of the nearest department store is likely to induce hyperventilation). It took me a while to warm to Cayce, but in the end I did. The supporting cast, whether good, bad, or of uncertain allegiance, features an odd assortment of effectively drawn and intriguing oddballs.

The book is more adventure than science fiction, more cyber-thriller than cyberpunk; the limits of Cayce’s on line activity are email and her somewhat obsessive participation in a discussion forum focused on the mysterious underground film that drives much of the book’s plot. At a basic level it is about exactly what the title says: the challenge of finding patterns that do exist, and not imagining patterns that don’t. It has some interesting things to say about the challenges and compromises of marketing in today’s world.

As for complaints, I would observe that Cayce’s solving of the book’s central mystery comes through a series of circumstances and coincidences that stretch credulity, and that the end wraps everything up a bit too nicely and easily. But I would say that this is a book that is less about plot than the world the author has sketched and the characters who inhabit it.

Review by dougthonus (2005-05-10)
I rated this book a 3. As in, not good. It wasn't god awful, but it was pretty bad.

I found it really hard to connect or believe in any of the characters or aspects of the book. The idea of the main character who is 'allergic' to bad trademarks was somewhat amusing. The idea that there is this cult following video footage that is so good that people are going nuts over these 1 minute long clips was hard to buy into as well.

Then the massive plots and intrigue all sorrounding the video footage just was too much to take. The book does build up some decent suspense, but in the end, the storyline is just too unbelieveable.

In the end, everything is rapped up a bit too neatly and proves very anti-climatic.

I found it good enough to get through, but I couldn't read more then about 10 pages at a time without putting it down.

I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone.




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