How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Superintelligent AI: On Wiliam Gibson’s “Agency” – Los Angeles Review of Books

NEUROMANCER, COUNT ZERO, Mona Lisa Overdrive; Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow’s Parties; Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History: William Gibson works in threes. Agency is the second novel of what is almost certainly going to be a trilogy. The first novel, titled The Peripheral, was a New York Times best seller notable for its heady mixture of drone manipulation, time travel, apocalypse, and alternate history, all these devices being combined in a narrative prose precise in its physical and technological descriptions. Given the novel’s formal innovations and literary qualities, it is the pace of The Peripheral that is most remarkable, with Gibson moving readers rapidly toward the novel’s utopian conclusion, in thriller-like fashion.
While Agency shares many of these traits (and thus many of the pleasures associated with them), one significant difference from The Peripheral is found in Verity Jane, Agency’s protagonist. One of the joys of reading The Peripheral is that its female lead, Flynne, kicks serious ass. Flynne vibes a punk aesthetic in her refusal to take directions she finds questionable; these negations give readers a real sense of who she is as a person. Verity Jane, on the other hand, seems a kind of cipher for the action of the second novel: she basically goes along with everything, and is a fairly empty character as a result.
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