In PatternRecognition a character called Cayce Pollard, who makes a living from her hyper-sensitivity to brands and logos, jaunts all over the planet in search of the creator of "the footage." The footage is a series of enigmatic film clips that are being drip fed onto the internet and being dissected by assorted otaku and obsessives in a variety of online forums.
Being Gibson there's all manner of high-tech fluff about encryption and (corporate) espionage. However remove the tint of high-tech fiction and we're left with a superficial quest across Moscow, Paris and London. The descriptions of London's people and places (especially Camden) are particularly evocative. I particularly liked the way Gibson dubs the usual pierced and tatooed crowd who haunt the area around Camden Lock as the Children's Crusade [see below]. Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner but none of the other places he describes have as much detail as London. But that may be deliberate as a street map of central London is used for the cover of the book.
With Gibson the technology is a little more incidental than NealStephenson. It feels like reportage, like being told about a place or state of mind by someone who has never been there but has heard it described. When I was younger I felt this made Gibson a fraud. Nowadays I realise it gives him enough distance to be able to tell tales about these places unencumbered by details or facts. Of course it also leaves him stranded between the geek-lit ghetto inhabited by Stephenson and mainstream literature. -- AdewaleOshineye
I guess this is the place to admit that I've never read any other WilliamGibson, not even Neuromancer. I'm not sure that this novel convinces me to go further in Gibson. I liked the subject matter more than the writing style. -- MichaelFeathers
Indeed, it started from Piacenza, my wife's home town, just up the road from her parents' house. -- SteveFreeman