Summary and book reviews of All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson

All Tomorrow's Parties

By William Gibson

All Tomorrow's Parties
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  • Hardcover: Oct 1999,
    277 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2000,
    255 pages.

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Book Summary

Gibson remains, like Raymond Chandler, an intoxicating stylist." --The New York Times Book Review

All Tomorrow's Parties is the perfect novel to publish at the end of 1999. It brings back Colin Laney, one of the most popular characters from Idoru, the man whose special sensitivities about people and events let him predict certain aspects of the future. Laney has realized that the disruptions everyone expected to happen at the beginning of the year 2000, which in fact did not happen, are still to come. Though down-and-out in Tokyo, his sense of what is to come tells him that the big event, whatever it is, will happen in San Francisco. He decides to head back to the United States--to San Francisco--to meet the future.

The Washington Post praised Idoru as "beautifully written, dense with metaphors that open the eyes to the new, dreamlike, intensely imagined, deeply plausible." A bestseller across the country (it reached #1 in Los Angeles and San Francisco), and a major critical success, it confirmed William Gibson's position as "the premier visionary working in SF today" (Publishers Weekly). All Tomorrow's Parties is his next brilliant achievement.

Chapter One: Cardboard City

Through this evening's tide of faces unregistered, unrecognized, amid hurrying black shoes, furled umbrellas, the crowd descending like a single organism into the station's airless heart, comes Shinya Yamazaki, his notebook clasped beneath his arm like the egg case of some modest but moderately successful marine species.

Evolved to cope with jostling elbows, oversized Ginza shopping bags, ruthless briefcases, Yamazaki and his small burden of information go down into the neon depths. Toward this tributary of relative quiet, a tiled corridor connecting parallel escalators.

Central columns, sheathed in green ceramic, support a ceiling pocked with dust-furred ventilators, smoke detectors, speakers. Behind the columns, against the far wall, derelict shipping cartons huddle in a ragged train, improvised shelters constructed by the city's homeless. Yamazaki halts, and in that moment all the oceanic clatter of commuting feet ...

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Harwood plans to build a network of nanotech replicators, presently forbidden by most governments. Rydell's package is a projector containing the virtual personality, or idoru, Rei Toei. Harwood's shadowy assassin, Konrad, refuses to kill Rydell, and the characters converge at the Bay Bridge for a conclusion that's as strange as it is baffling. This familiar, vigorous, vividly realized scenario is set forth in the author's unique and astonishingly textured proseindeed, in Gibson's books the texture is the plotbut the unfathomable ending will satisfy few.

LIbrary Journal

A master of the cyberpunk genre, Gibson excels at visually exciting storytelling. A good selection for Science Fiction collections.

Publishers Weekly

Gibson is in fine form in his seventh novel, a fast-paced, pyrotechnic sequel to Idoru.....Gibson breaks little new thematic ground with this novel, but the cocreator of cyberpunk takes his readers on a wild and exciting ride filled with enough off-the-wall ideas and extended metaphors to fuel half a dozen SF tales.

Booklist

Although most of the action occurs in the "meat" world, Gibson's vision is inextricably linked to the advent of the Internet, whose possibilities he envisioned in the book that made him a big sf name, Neuromancer (1984).

Wired Magazine

So many sharp knives slice elegantly through the virtual realities and nanotechnological macguffins that populates Gibson's latest novel. And appropriately so. When Gibson, one of science fiction's greatest literary stylists, is at his best, he offers visceral detail ("helicopters swarming like dragonflies") even when promising transcendent change ("the mother of all nodal points" -- a moment in the near future when the fabric of daily life will twist profoundly).
Gibson wouldn't be Gibson if he spelled it out, if he eliminated all the ambiguity. His specialty is hanging on to that fractal edge without ever going over the brink.

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