The Peripheral by William Gibson

December 18th, 2014 kimbacaffeinate Review 56 Comments

18th Dec
The Peripheral by William Gibson
The Peripheral
by William Gibson
Published by: Penguin
Narrator: Lorelei King
Length: 14 hrs and 5 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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.

Caffeinated Aspects:

  • 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.

Decaffeinated Aspects:

  • 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.

About William Gibson

William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide. While his early writing took the form of short stories, Gibson has since written nine critically acclaimed novels (one in collaboration), contributed articles to several major publications, and has collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers and musicians. His thought has been cited as an influence on science fiction authors, academia, cyberculture, and technology.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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56 Responses to “The Peripheral by William Gibson”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, and you know how I love to mix stuff up..ya just never know what you will find here Naomi 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Neat, this was my first. He does tend to just jump in and drag you along until you finally catch traction

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Benish. I tend to use several different review styles and use what works for the particular review.

  1. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Hm I’ve never heard of this book before–I don’t think speculative fiction is my thing from what I’ve heard, but I’ve actually never tried it so I should probably do that first, hah.

    Nice review as always, Kimba! <33

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You never know until you try. I like picking up different things and seeing what happens.

  2. Rebe

    Sounds great! I’ve been wondering about this book and hadn’t seen many reviews of it. This sounds right up my alley! I wonder if it would be easier to follow if I read it instead of listening. I’ll have to check it out!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hmm, I loved it but his style might not be one to start with. Let me think on it and I will recommend one to dabble in

  3. Adriana Garcia (

    This seems very complicated which is probably why you struggled. I’m not so sure about the time travel in this one. I rarely read time travel books because I oddly get worried and anxious reading them. I just think it’s a bad idea and I hope it can never happen. Haha…
    I hope you enjoy Gibson’s other books as well (:
    Adriana Garcia ( recently posted…Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy KnisleyMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It wasn’t that it was complicated it was well developed but the author’s style is to just drop you in and hit the ground running. This is why I re listened to the beginning so I could get my footing.

  4. Lily

    I hadn’t heard of this book..or even read anything in this genre before! OOPS! I can see why you struggled though, it seems like a difficult book for sure. Hopefully your next read is easier and more enjoyable.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Not difficult once you slipped in but a clear path would have made the drop easier 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Maybe especially if you wonder off, but his writing style is more the jump down the rabbit hole. It is brilliant once you find your footing

  5. Rita

    I enjoy fantasy more than sci-fi, but sometimes they are intertwined and still make for a good story. World-building is fun to read, example the Brilliance series by Marcus Sakey I read 2 of so far, recommended. Perhaps I would like this, and I don’t do audio, so reading it might be more understandable cause you can flip back and read over parts that are more difficult to get the hang of. Thanks for a good review!
    Rita recently posted…This, That & WhateverMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I enjoyed this and maybe on the physically reading it..but he tends to build as he goes.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh I hope you snag it one day. Once you slip into the world it really is delightful

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was simple enough, but he just jumps you into the world. Once you get your footing it rocked

  6. Olivia

    This sounds kind of like Game of Thrones to me when it comes to the decaffeinated aspects – a few too many side characters and then a world which is awesomely done, but you really don’t get enough explanations and you need to manage on your own. But I love a good thriller and this looks like one for me. Now this author is on my wishlist ^^
    Olivia recently posted…Christmas Haul!My Profile

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