How does it hold up?

It's been a while now since PR was release - could it be 10 years? - and I was wondering how well you guy think it has held up. I'm talking about the style mainly, the very modern (post modern?) style of the narrative. I still haven't found anything that comes close (and was pretty disappointed Spook Country was not written in exactly that style - sparse, present tense, single POV).

For me it was and still is one of the most 'important' books I've read in the last 10 years. It inspired me to write some short fiction and also renewed by faith that there are indeed new and exciting fictional experiences out there to be had.
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I have the audiobook on my iPod and listen to it about twice a year. It really is great. Shelly Frazer does a great job with all the voices. Her Voytek is adorable.

As a snapshot of the immediately post 9/11 era of America, it holds up remarkably well. My regret is that the characters, who all lived past the end of the book, had to live out the intervening Bush years. And there are certain aspects of culture that I would not want to see characters as rich as these have to acknowledge. For example, I'm glad I don't have to read about how Cayce would handle facebook.
Re-read it in late October 2010. Bought the trade paperback in the bookstore, to replace one loanded to a friend (and therefore lost- never lend books!) six years ago. Purchase prompted by having shaken the writer's hand at a signing here in town the evening before.

Have to say... It held up really well. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and I expect I'll like it as much again, and probably for different reasons, when next I drag it off the shelf.

A very subtle story.
I think it not only held up well, but gets more relevant as the years pass. When it first came out, America as a nation was still in shock over the events of 9/11, and this was really the first post-traumatic piece of fiction that addressed that state. All those thoughts and insights came out at precisely the right moment for me, and was an intregal part of working through the shock and horror of the new world we were all waking up in.

I read it and Neuro once a year.
Yep, just echoing the sentiment: it holds up very well and still feels uniquely intimate to me. It was the first WG book I read and I was blown away by how it seemed to be speaking to me in exactly my mental language...that "Killing Me Softly" phenomenon, if you will.

@Boogerhead -- I particularly like what you said. Yes.
I'm rereading it now after having read it when it was released and not since.

I love the book the second time around and can already sense it's leading me into rereading spooook country (which I read 4 or 5 times already)

I really enjoy reading PR as a period piece about a time I remember quite clearly. The first time I read it I was reading on the presumption of Science Fiction. Now I am googling Kartas and street views of shops in harujuku along with the book. and getting a much richer view of the whole thing.

It is much more "where in the world of awesome is carmen san diego" on this reading than it was the first time - the first time I felt like I was reading virtual light-lite. lite-espionage, lite-character development, lite-science fiction. I like the book much better this time around.
I just picked it up this evening after maybe 5 years and as always with WG it's the quality of the prose that grabbed me. Doesn't matter if it's Zion or Camden Lock it's utterly real. The scene where Cayce encounters the chaps with the Curtas is so well paced and just like the randomness of early morning London.

The observations on branding and corporate identity haven't aged at all, perhaps they're even more relevant. The story is coming back to me as I go but the pleasure is in the phrasing and the craft. As always.

I'm going to reread Spook Country while I wait for Zero History in paperback, and then I think a major retrospective is in order!
Pattern Recognition remains one of my favorite books, one that I've reread many times since the first time. The things it says about loss and art are timeless. The description of the sense of dislocation with travel seems still perfect.

I heard a discussion on the radio about books that followed 9/11. No mention of PR. I think it belongs on any such list. But many more as well.
Just started to re read for teh 'n'th time.
Cayce is about to meet Bigend for the first time. I'm looking forward to meeting him again for the first time- if you know what I mean.
Holding up very well so far.
Just pissed off that I left it in the car and don't have it with me now. Always get itchy when I have no book to read with me.
For example, I'm glad I don't have to read about how Cayce would handle facebook.

I get the feeling that Cayce just would not acknowledge it. I have a friend who abhors social networking sites simply because they are social networking sites. I mean, I guess you could consider a bulletin board to be a form of social networking, since you're conversing to other people, but bulletin boards normally have a topic or a theme of discussion for people to draw on, where as social media is pretty much a fondue pot of opinion.

Although, now that I read back on my last sentence, most bulletin boards are fondue pots of opinions as well.

It's interesting, and strangely sad, how the technology that seemed so exotic now seems so passé. Cayce could have done all her communicating with an iPhone or iPad now. The footage board would have wound up on Facebook, only to be over-run by Beliebers...but seriously, it is sad how the internet has been terraformed.


I re-read it a few days ago, having first read it around 2005, maybe. I think I felt the 9/11 resonance much more strongly this time

So that's several of us, including me, who've read PR very recently. I kept thinking it was a LITTLE out of date technology-wise, but still a cracking good book. YouTube would, I think, have been the repository for the Footage.


The writing, of course, stands up wonderfully well, and will still look great in future decades. Gibson, I think, will probably, like Iain Banks, be seen as one of the iconic writers of the turn of the century.

Just finished re-reading PR last week. Gosh it has held up real well. It might even be better (IE I enjoyed it more) this latest read. Perhaps because I was less worried about plot outcome and able to focus more on the actual writing and the characters. Cayce fascinates me, in that I can't put into words exactly why I like her so much. But I know I would want to know her and be around her.

Also, as the romance in PR unfolded, I was reminded of Berry Rydell and Chevette in The Bridge Trilogy, reflecting on how much I appreciate Mr Gibson's handling/usage of "romance". It's realistic and yet while neither graphic nor "soppy", it gets me in the feels every time. 10/10 would read again.

Writing this makes me feel a little like a member of F:F:F, writing about the fragments (and gives me warm fuzzies).

Just re-read Pattern Recognition (last time was about 2009).  Still a little spooked, thinking that WG and I must have crossed paths at least once during our travels on the run-up to his writing the book.

I was in London, New York City, and Tokyo at those times.

  • In Tokyo, I had business in Shinjuku, and stayed at the Shinjuku Hyatt Regency. I ran across homeless people while walking around the Tokyo Municipal Building and Chuo Park.  
  • I was in New York City two weeks after 9/11 (having been across the river in New Jersey on 9/11), and stayed at the SoHo Grand.  The smell of ash was definitely in the air, and missing persons notices on the lamp posts.
  • That year, my wife and I stayed just south of Kensington Hyde Park in London, where we wandered past the statue of Peter Pan and observed miniature naval maneuvers in the Serpentine.  We ate at a Thai restaurant across the street from the Thai embassy, just south of the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial.  I didn't run into anyone selling Curta calculators out of the trunk of a car, but saw quite a collection in a museum outside of King's College, Cambridge.

Enjoying the forum!

- SteveJ



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