I finished reading a book. It feels like it's been a while since I did that; I guess it has been about three weeks.
Since the book I'd been expecting to read was still in transit to me when I finished the last one, I borrowed one from the library here. The library has lots of romance novels, and crime novels, and spy thrillers, and military thrillers. None of which I'm much interested in. But I happened to spy a book by William Gibson, he of Neuromancer, called Pattern Recognition, which I decided to pick up and read.
I had to go back and reread my review of Neuromancer, because I liked Pattern Recognition somewhat and wondered what was different, since I recall not liking the earlier book as much.
I think in large measure Neuromancer suffers from my tendency to compare it to Snow Crash, which was written later but is, as far as I'm concerned, far superior in most respects. That and characterization was lousy.
That was not the case with Pattern Recognition. The book is helped by having a cast of characters whose motivations are much more clearly understood than those in Neuromancer; I found it much easier to care about Cayce Pollard than I ever did about Case or Molly.
I still have trouble with some aspect of Gibson's place descriptions. I don't mean to say his setting descriptions, which are nothing if not evocative; I mean his description of geographic space, of the relation of one neighborhood or place to another. I don't know what it is and I don't know how to describe it; it may just be me, or it may be something genuinely odd about Gibson's writing. In either case it's unsettling.
I don't have much of a review. It's Gibson's first "present day" work, which is interesting, but moreso to his fans than to the rest of us. It has been criticized for its frequent "tangential interruptions," to quote one reviewer, which surprises me because Neuromancer was the same way. I guess when Gibson goes off on a tangent about a near-future world of his own creation that's okay, but when he does so about the present world it's a tiresome interruption. I don't understand why that would be so and frankly like the fact that the story wanders a bit. Life wanders a bit, and Gibson's wanderings are interesting.
There are some conceits here; the protagonist is a little... unusual. She has some quirks I guarantee you've never imagined before, and that can take some getting used to. I suppose Gibson likes characters who are a little off the scale; in this case all of them are. If you can get past that, this is an enjoyable read.