by William Gibson
Published by: Penguin
Narrator: Lorelei King
Length: 14 hrs and 5 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
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.
William Gibson was an author on my wish list so when an opportunity arose to review his newest science fiction thriller on audio narrated by Lorelei King, I jumped at the chance. The Peripheral is a fascinating speculative fiction set in two worlds in the future that interact over an event. Oddly realistic and filled with gadgets and gizmos it reads like a thriller.
- At its heart The Peripheral is a time traveling techno-thriller with fascinating technology for the geek in you. Technology like advanced haptic-controls that allow time travel and embedded phones. Yep, no needs to worry about pockets for your phone, as you carry it in you! In Peripheral, we explore two worlds, one in the future and one in our future’s future. All of this is wrapped in a thriller with murder, a mysterious Jackpot and plots that will alter the future.
- Gibson delivers two protagonists that are fleshed out and will draw you into their worlds. Flynne Fisher lives with her veteran brother Burton. Burton was part of elite Haptic Recon unit in the USMC and suffers from neurological damage caused by those implants. Flynne agrees to take on a job in his stead- beta testing a reality game. She inadvertently witnesses a murder in a futuristic London building. Our second protagonist, Wilf Netherton, contacts her. Netherton works in public relations in future London. He seeks her aid in finding the murder as Netherton and others work to alter Flynne’s future. I loved Flynne’s snark and endless questions. While Netherton is not as animated and low-key, the two worked together.
- The world building in this speculative fiction is fascinating. Filled with corrupt governments these dystopian worlds are unique from the technology to the stark differences between them. One is disease free and a drug lord runs the other. Secondary characters are unique, and draw you further into both worlds. The tale moves back and forth between Flynne and Netherton and eventually moves to complete interaction.
- Gibson not only weaves this incredible world he then makes the reader question scientific advances. We see corruption in the government and financial worlds all while feeling realistic. Despite being dark at times, he gives us flawed heroes allowing us to hold out hope for the future. Leaping into the “peripheral” was fantastic.
- Lorelei King is a wonderful narrator and I have enjoyed her work previously. She creates unique voices and her tone and pacing where perfect for this story. I loved how she enhanced Flynne’s snarky personality and her interpretation of Netherton I felt was spot-on.
- The world is incredible, but as I am told, this is Gibson style. He drops you into the tale without a boat. I struggled to stay afloat and indeed went back and listened to the first thirteen to sixteen percent of the audio before gaining enough of a footing to stay afloat. Things are explained as introduced and while I ended up loving this, I struggled at moments.
- There are a lot of secondary characters, movement between worlds and patience is required as questions will build up and you wait for answers. As I said, Gibson drops you in. While it keeps the pace, moving and engaging, total focus is needed when listening.This is not a first book to try on audio.
I pulled out my ear-buds and smiled when I finished The Peripheral. While Gibson’s writing style is unique, it is also utterly refreshing. My plan is to go back and read some of his early works. For fans of speculative fiction, dystopian, time-travel and gadgets galore I recommend you pick this one up.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
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