Spook Country (a review)

I feel slightly guilty for admitting it but I’m a big fan of William Gibson. I finally got around to finishing Spook Country (I know it’s been out a while) and I have to say I was mildly disappointed. For starters, on a purely technical level, the proof reading was shoddy (a character’s name was mistakenly interjected into the wrong conversation for example). Then there was the slight problem that nothing much happens. It’s a techno thriller without much in the way of thrills. The plot concerns the concept of geolocative art (mentioned a few blog entries below) and how one such artist also uses his indepth know-how to track the GPS signature of a mysterious cargo container in the Pacific ocean. Various factions are trying to get hold of this container but the factions only ever encounter each other briefly so there’s very little in the way of drama. The geolocative art is only secondary to the plot and the container itself is merely a Mcguffin (see wikipedia for information if you don’t know what a Mcguffin is).

What Gibson DOES do well is speculate on the way humans interact with technology (both now and potential future uses) and I loved the concept of cyberspace ‘everting’ itself. That is to say the tagging of abstract information with geospatial co-ordinates so that what exists on the internet becomes meaningful in the real world. He also has a good turn of phrase for eample "Tito noticed the dull gold of his wristwatch, its dial and hands almost lost behind the worn plastic crystal. A dead man’s watch, like the ones jumbled in battered cigar boxes at the flea market."