The Peripheral

  • by William Gibson
  • Narrated by Lorelei King
  • 14 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

William Gibson returns with his first novel since 2010's New York Times best-selling Zero History.
Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran's benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC's elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there's a job he's supposed to do - a job Flynne didn't know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He's supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That's all there is to it. He's offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn't what Burton told her to expect. It might be a game, but it might also be murder.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Tortured Future Gaming the Past

“History had its fascinations, but could be burdensome.”
― William Gibson, The Peripheral

Gibson might not always be the most accurate futurist, but he's probably the glossiest, the most polished. I actually really dig Gibson. I don't think he's perfect. Sometimes his schtick gets worn a little thin, but I loved Neuromancer and really liked his Blue Ant series ('Pattern Recognition', 'Spook Country', 'Zero History'). 'The Peripheral' shares a similar aesthetic with the Blue Ant books, but jumps into the speculative zone that he mastered with the Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer', 'Count Zero', 'Mona Lisa Overdrive').

'The Peripheral' is set in two futures. One about 30 years from now, and another about 70 years from now. The novel links these two by imagining that through a server in the far future, there is an ability to communicate with the near future. The near future becomes almost a virtual game to the far future. A place where Russian oligarchs and the elite fight tribal wars because they are bored, super rich, and a bit damaged by their own history.

The novel allows Gibson room to explore his favorite issues: technology, paranoia, tribalism, corporatism, information, and mix it with a far future that possesses the ability to indulge their rich 'continua enthusiasts' with an ability to communicate information (not actual time travel) back and forth with their past (our future). That jump/postulation allows Gibson room to riff on how a window a thin window between time allows for the transfer of technology, etc., that can unsettle both economies and nations (duh, but most things that ring true seem almost innately obvious before written down). It also, because it is written by Gibson, lets him verbally play with fabric, fashion, tattoos, and other cultural eccentricities that he seems to always seem to understand a couple decades ahead of the rest of us.

One thing I've noticed about Gibson is his ability to desex his novels. There are both women and men in his novels. Heroes and heroines, but they operate with similar skills and capabilities. They both seem to exist in an androgynous asexual universe that isn't genderless or without sex, but almost seems to exist beyond sex (Postgender?), where gender is almost immaterial; an after thought. Gender exists with Gibson as a hanger to drape a clingy dress or a cashmere coat on and that is about it. Perhaps, this came from his quick uptake on how the cyber world would melt the edges of sexuality. The loss of a body through the Internet or the transference to another body (interacting with the world through a drone or a robot/cyborg) suddenly removes gender all together, or allows for a bunch of different interactions and iterations with gender.

Anyway, if you like speculative fiction, fashion, or just a well-crafted story, you could always do a lot worse than William Gibson. And if his track record is any clue, reading Gibson might just be a window on what ONE stub of our near or far future might look like.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Narrator ruined it

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes but only to read. The narrator for this is not a good match.

What didn’t you like about Lorelei King’s performance?

She's is well suited for romance fiction and reads everything in a breathy manner unsuited to this genre and specifically this story. She completely ruined this book for me.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes. But only if Lorelei King has nothing to do with it.

Any additional comments?

Gibson is one of my all time favorite writers. I've enjoyed audio versions of his works up to this point. Please don't use King again for his work. It's a very bad pairing.

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- Rebecca "beccanewsome"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-28-2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio