I’m starting to think that William Gibson is meant to be enjoyed out loud. My first introduction to his work was several years ago when my brother loaned me his audiobook copy of “Pattern Recognition”. I loved it. I adored it. I’m still not sure why I haven’t bought my own copy of it yet. Gibson captures something transcendent in that book.
More recently I decided to expand my experience. I read “Neuromancer” and “The Difference Engine” and wasn’t impressed. I read “Zero History”, which is even in the same setting as “Pattern Recognition” and was only moderately impressed. But I decided to try again, this time with another audio book. I started listening to “Spook Country” yesterday while I cleaned the shed, and I’m loving it. It’s even a different narrator, so Hubertus Bigend sounds all wrong to my ears, but it doesn’t matter.
At the risk of comparing Gibson to Shakespeare I’ll compare him to Shakespeare. Shakespeare can be fun to read, but to be fully appreciated you must see it on the stage. Gibson takes work to get used to in printed form. His sentence structure and evocative language don’t always flow well to the eye, but can be beautiful to the ear.
Maybe I’ll feel differently by the end of the book. “Pattern Recognition” impacted me in a way few books have, so that can be a difficult standard to live up to. But if any Gibson book can do it, this one is at least showing promise.