My latest LA Times review is for William Gibson's new novel Agency, sequel to his outstanding 2014 novel "The Peripheral," which marked his return to explicitly futuristic science fiction after his amazing and audacious "Pattern Recognition" novels, which treated the recent past as though it was a speculative future setting.
"Agency" returns to the world of "The Peripheral," in which far future plutocrats reach back into the past using a mysterious network technology to create alternate universes that they toy with in sadistic and violent ways — in this case, it's an alternate version of our present day, in which Trump lost the 2016 election, but in which the world is now hovering on the brink of nuclear apocalypse.
The McGuffin of "Agency" is an AI that the good guys from the future set free to use as their point-person in saving the world, which is basically a mirror image of the plot of 1984's "Neuromancer," Gibson's first novel.
I loved this book so very, very much — read my LAT piece for more.
Writers who manage big, showy debuts are often one-trick ponies, but Gibson has an inexhaustible supply of tricks, new stories and new ways of telling them that make him the most consistent predictor of our present, contextualizer of our pasts and presager of our possible futures.
Review: William Gibson's time-twisting 'Agency' imagines a Trump-less present [Cory Doctorow/LA Times]