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These aren't ordinary glasses though. They act as both MacGuffin and object through which social commentary on gentrification is dispersed. Rydell and Chevette's paths cross. And that's what this book is about. Just as the Bay Bridge becomes a living place that used to connect two cities but is now a place where many people's lives connect, we also see what happens when rich and poor meet, when technology and art meet, and when reality and entertainment meet. Gibson not only wrote a good story, but could predict things like the rise and fall of the Euro, the use of drones by law enforcement, and the shrinking of the middle class, and make them only passing mentions in this book to add color and background to the story.

While reading, I saw I had used many of his conventions in stories I have written, but forgotten where they'd come from. Things like jumping in time chronologically, using objects for something different than they had been intended for, and characters with convoluted pasts dealing with the situations they find themselves in now, are themes I recognize in my writing. But ultimately, that's what good writing comes down to.

You write something that other writers "steal" without realizing they have "stolen" it. Like the bridge in the story, it all melds together to form a new place, a new setting, and a new way to look at things. This look at the "future" of helps us to see our present in a new way. Aug 26, Sean Blake rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction.

Great sociological science fiction with a cool vibe and, in my opinion, a vast improvement over Gibson's previous Sprawl trilogy. Some scary observations on 90's culture and crackling prose with a cool kind of dialogue for Gibson's characters.

A brilliant piece of cyberpunk literature. Mar 23, Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in If Haruki Murakami and Philip K Dick had ever written a book together this would have been it they didn't have no baby or anything though. To me it felt like Philip's story but in the voice of Murakami.

My first William Gibson novel and I've enjoyed it, he has created an interesting future, things are only slightly more advanced than they are now which makes it easier to get into. There are a fair number of characters, all having little bit parts, I only really had an issue with one of then, Y If Haruki Murakami and Philip K Dick had ever written a book together this would have been it they didn't have no baby or anything though.

There are a fair number of characters, all having little bit parts, I only really had an issue with one of then, Yamazaki, I could see the point of including him, was he telling the story or not? The setting was brilliant, the bridge and how it had been built on was described so well I was able to picture it in me head with ease. Glad to see that this is down as book one, should mean I'll get to read about the characters again. May 16, Toby rated it liked it Shelves: sci-fi.

Reading something like this after something like Snow Crash can only really leave you feeling one thing. There's no real comparison. This is basically Snow Crash Lite. William Gibson wrote an occasionally entertaining novel of an interesting possible future with some very good observations about humanity BUT it's characters and story structure are so similar to Neal Stephenson's masterpiece of the genre that you can't help but compare. Virtual Light will always lose, not least because Berry Rydel Reading something like this after something like Snow Crash can only really leave you feeling one thing.

I recently read Savages which this book reminded me of in some ways but again whilst Savages was exciting and raw Virtual Light was positively tame. This being the first book in a trilogy, I must admit to having read Idoru first. I cannot see how the sequel relates to the world created in this first book in any way, unless it was set quite a long time afterwards. The third part apparently contains characters from the first two books so perhaps that will enlighten me. But not for a while I think. Jul 23, J. Okay, here's the thing: this book is FUN. Essentially you have a good cop accidentally getting railroaded, a good poor person who makes one mistake and pays the price, and then some evil corporation stuff and then it's just a fun little chase.

Light, slight, well-written and fun. You get to hear about the near future Gibson imagined, which is interesting, you get to see some really interesting main protagonists, who are more fully fleshed out and intriguing than usually happens with these things Okay, here's the thing: this book is FUN. You get to hear about the near future Gibson imagined, which is interesting, you get to see some really interesting main protagonists, who are more fully fleshed out and intriguing than usually happens with these things, and there are some very well written action sequences, as well as a clever ending.

But that's it. There is nothing here. There are some satirical jabs at religion that feel entirely puerile; there are evil corporations and their schemes, but that feels entirely hollow, as well as overly twist the mustache villainesque; there is literally a scene in which a character says I'm not racist, and I have the tests to prove it but It TRIES to be about other things, but there are too many, too shallowly discussed, too randomly tossed in, to actually mean anything.

Oh well. It's a fun little story.

Virtual Light

Jan 20, Mina Villalobos rated it really liked it Shelves: cyberpunk , sci-fi. Probably the least engaging book of Gibson I have read so far, this one is a very competent story with great storytelling that somehow fails to deliver on the plot-plot. I mean, it was fun and fast paced and interesting and an interpretation of our social future, and it had lots of interesting background choices of historical events and crazy urban tribes and religions created for the universe, along with Gibson's trademark shifting POVs and archetypal characters.

It was good , it was fun, it was Probably the least engaging book of Gibson I have read so far, this one is a very competent story with great storytelling that somehow fails to deliver on the plot-plot. It was good , it was fun, it was interesting, but it didn't have the oomph that other of his stories had for me. This might be because the central plot, the theft of a device that contains information about an urban development, wasn't exactly Still, the characters are a lot of fun, I loved Sammy Sal, and it was all very action-y.

Would be a really awesome movie, given all the amazing visuals Gibson works into it. I sound kind of discouraged by this one but I actually enjoyed it quite a lot! It will probably build up and more of this will be explored in the other two books of the trilogy. Mar 11, Corto rated it it was amazing. Tight plot.

Rapid movement and action. Dystopian, but not too depressingly so sort of. Well done book, looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. With Gibson, it at least didn't read as affectation. This was an irascible vision of the future written with bitter resignation of the knowledge of things to come.


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Not a dystopia warning us off a certain trajectory or an embrace of current trends, the world here is the inevitable consequence of advancing technology on predatory systems. Classic cyberpunk.

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As much as I dislike the genre's ostentation, I have to appreciate coming across a sentence like this: The music, some weird hollow techie stuff that sounded like bombs going off in echo-chambers, started to make a different kind of sense. That's the way to describe a future that hasn't come about yet. Just specific enough to make it vivid but without enough concrete descriptors for it to be identifiable.

Intro – virtual light source - The Light Bridge

I could see myself as an old man on the block yelling at the kids to turn the volume down and how could they call that noise music anyhow. To the concrete-grey, oppressive sheen that coats Gibson's future, he'll toss in something like this: Separated at Birth was a police program you used in missing persons cases. You scanned a photo of the person you wanted, got back the names of half a dozen celebrities who looked vaguely like the subject, then went around asking people if they'd seen anybody lately who reminded them of A, B, C The weird thing was, it worked better than just showing them a picture of the subject.

The instructor at the Academy in Knoxville had told Rydell's class that that was because it tapped into the part of the brain that kept track of celebrities. Livens up the story but makes you even more despondent about society.

Virtual Tour

There was enough of that to reward a reader who makes it to the end but not enough to make it the tell-tale mark of the book or writer. Elsewhere everything was sufficient to the task. The story took a while to get the right players in place, and just when I thought we were finally set up for the slow and steady build-up, Gibson was ratcheting it down and settling in for the resolution. There were some characters, side-stories, and gadgets that were left oddly incomplete. The cyberpunk world, though, was remarkably prescient view spoiler [ Particularly with the merry pranksters of hackers - very much how Anonymous is portrayed in the news - and the professionalization of hacking - such as by government agencies.

I liked this much more than I did Neuromancer, which I think is generally regarded as both his and the genre's seminal novel Oddly, my cover advertises Gibson as the author of The Difference Engine and Mona Lisa Smile but omits Neuromancer. Neuromancer might have been groundbreaking, but I didn't think that it weathered the technological developments of the internet very well and verges on the side of ridiculous when read post The worldbuilding here was a much more convincing version of the Sprawl, and the inhabiting characters were both relatable and believable as well.

This might not have been as significant as the first in the Sprawl series, but it was a more perfected vision.

Intro – virtual light source

I did think it odd to have so many similarities between this and another s cyberpunk novel view spoiler [ Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash hide spoiler ]. That other novel was published first, I was surprised to learn, but not by very much time. Presumably both would have been in the editing phase in the same period.

The themes and character roles in this went beyond simple similarity, and I wonder about the story behind that. Aug 27, Simon rated it really liked it Shelves: social-realism , science-fiction , reviewed , postmodernism , crime-fiction , s , america-north , dystopia. Gibson wrote throughout the s is a very different reading experience than I expected. The plot is also much less convoluted and easier to follow despite Gibson as usual insisting on using as little exposition as possible, meaning that blink-and- Just like "Burning Chrome" and the Sprawl Trilogy, this first entry into the Bridge Trilogy that Wm.

The plot is also much less convoluted and easier to follow despite Gibson as usual insisting on using as little exposition as possible, meaning that blink-and-you'll-miss-it details often turn out to be major plot points. As I might have mentioned in a previous review of a Gibson book, that stops being a problem if the reader pays enough attention. Considering that the trashy reality TV shows and privatized law enforcement agencies play major roles in the plot, this actually feels like it could be set in the same universe as Paul Verhoeven's "Robocop" now that I think of it.

The plot even revolves around private initiatives to tear down a major US city and rebuild it from scratch, similar to the Delta City plan for Detroit in the Robocop movies, and the hunt to keep it secret from the population who insist on actually living there. On the other hand, I am starting to get the impression much of Gibson's appeal comes from his talent at creating well thought out yet convincingly alienating future slang to write his books in. Even the weirder social milieux described, like anarchist squatters and right-wing militias, have existed in real life since the 's at least - and in a form similar to how Gibson describes them here.

The central MacGuffin, a pair of virtual reality glasses describing plans to re-build San Francisco from scratch similar to the "Delta City" plans for Detroit in the Robocop movies, could be any other container of those schemes for the function of the plot. As a result, I am quite surprised nonetheless at how much I ended up enjoying "Virtual Light". The large cast of eccentric main characters are memorable and interesting enough as people that I end up caring about their inner lives and what happens to them. The aforementioned subcultures are described with a high level of attention to the atmosphere of what it's like to live in them as well as giving the reader a sense of what the surrounding world looks like from their point of view.

Cut out in cardboard: This is a disappointment if you go in expecting a "throw the reader headfirst into a bizarre unfamiliar future" novel like Gibson used to specialize in, but if you expect a crime thriller set largely among the weirder subcultures of s America it's quite interesting.

Aug 23, Michael Drakich rated it liked it.

Virtual Light @ Mo:Dem Festival 2017

This is a thriller novel written in a dystopian setting in the near future.