Virtual Light by William GibsonVirtual Light by William Gibson

Virtual Light

byWilliam Gibson

Mass Market Paperback | July 1, 1994

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NEW YORK TIMES bestseller • 2005: Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, the uneasy sister-states of what used to be California.

The millennium has come and gone, leaving in its wake only stunned survivors. In Los Angeles, Berry Rydell is a former armed-response rentacop now working  for a bounty hunter. Chevette Washington is a  bicycle messenger turned pickpocket who impulsively  snatches a pair of innocent-looking sunglasses. But  these are no ordinary shades. What you can see  through these high-tech specs can make you rich—or  get you killed. Now Berry and Chevette are on the  run, zeroing in on the digitalized heart of  DatAmerica, where pure information is the greatest high.  And a mind can be a terrible thing to crash. . . . 

Praise for Virtual Light

“Both exhilarating and terrifying . . . Although considered the master of 'cyberpunk' science fiction, William Gibson is also one fine suspense writer.”People

“A stunner . . . A terrifically stylish burst of kick-butt imagination.”Entertainment Weekly

“Convincing . . . frightening . . . Virtual Light is written with a sense of craft, a sense of humor and a sense of the ultimate seriousness of the problems it explores.”Chicago Tribune

“In the emerging pop culture of the information age, Gibson is the brightest star.”The San Diego Union-Tribune
William Gibson is credited with having coined the term "cyberspace" and having envisioned both the Internet and virtual reality before either existed. He is the author of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Burning Chrome, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History, Distrust...
Title:Virtual LightFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 6.86 × 4.18 × 0.92 inPublished:July 1, 1994Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553566067

ISBN - 13:9780553566062


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Forlon Society of Technology Virtual Light earns 3.5 stars as it depicts a forlorn society defined by technology and commerce. It sounds like today. Gibson has a particular style of writing that takes a a few pages to get used to. The novel is character-driven as Rydell struggles to adjust from his fall as tech adept.
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun! Like all the obscure, real life references. "Gunhead" for one. I know if I ever owned an armoured vehicle of some description, that's what I'd name it too.
Date published: 2013-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gibson at his best Certainly my favourite Gibson book, and one of my favourite books in general. Great story, wonderful characters, and it's dripping with style. Couldn't put it down the first time, or all the other times I've read it. Definitely a must buy and must read.
Date published: 2005-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Virtual Light, I Need More! I have read all of William Gibsons' books and I find this one to be as good as all his other books, but nothing tops his first book Neuromancer. Virtual Light isn't as dark as his other books, but tends to focus more on the characters...its an excellent story, a great book and fun read! Make sure you read Idoru right after...enjoy :)
Date published: 2000-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from not good this book has the dubious honour of being the first member of my "i .. WILL .. finish .. it .. i will not cave!" club. at that, i had to take a 3 month break before screwing up enuff nerve to finish the book. needless to say, i was highly disappointed and this book has made me decide (at least for the time being) not to read another william gibson book. it seems that cyberpunk, in general, tends not to have much of a point to make and also twisted, incomprehensible plots. but it's the *ideas* presented that are so fascinating, that keeps *me* hooked. oh, and the fun. virtual light seems to have a followable plot (wow!), but it unfortunately seems to have no point, and to have no intriguing ideas to offer. and it was not fun to read. zippo. i would not recommend this book at all if you're looking for an introduction to the weird world of cyberpunk, just on the off chance that you won't like it either. i've heard that idoru is good - maybe i'll get around to reading it in a decade or so.
Date published: 2000-07-03

Read from the Book

The courier presses his forehead against layers of glass, argon, high-impact plastic. He watches a gunship traverse the city’s middle distance like a hunting wasp, death slung beneath its thorax in a smooth black pod.   Hours earlier, missiles have fallen in a northern suburb; seventy-three dead, the kill as yet unclaimed. But here the mirrored ziggurats down Lázaro Cárdenas flow with the luminous flesh of giants, shunting out the night’s barrage of dreams to the waiting avenidas—business as usual, world without end.   The air beyond the window touches each source of light with a faint hepatic corona, a tint of jaundice edging imperceptibly into brownish translucence. Fine dry flakes of fecal snow, billowing in from the sewage flats, have lodged in the lens of night.   Closing his eyes, he centers himself in the background hiss of climate-control. He imagines himself in Tokyo, this room in some new wing of the old Imperial. He sees himself in the streets of Chiyoda-ku, beneath the sighing trains. Red paper lanterns line a narrow lane.   He opens his eyes.   Mexico City is still there.   The eight empty bottles, plastic miniatures, are carefully aligned with the edge of the coffee table: a Japanese vodka, Come Back Salmon, its name more irritating than its lingering aftertaste.   On the screen above the console, the ptichka await him, all in a creamy frieze. When he takes up the remote, their high sharp cheekbones twist in the space behind his eyes. Their young men, invariably entering from behind, wear black leather gloves. Slavic faces, calling up unwanted fragments of a childhood: the reek of a black canal, steel racketing steel beneath a swaying train, the high old ceilings of an apartment overlooking a frozen park.   Twenty-eight peripheral images frame the Russians in their earnest coupling; he glimpses figures carried from the smoke-blackened car-deck of an Asian ferry.   He opens another of the little bottles.   Now the ptichka, their heads bobbing like well-oiled machines, swallow their arrogant, self-absorbed boyfriends. The camera angles recall the ardor of Soviet industrial cinema.   His gaze strays to NHK Weather. A low-pressure front is crossing Kansas. Next to it, an eerily calm Islamic downlink ceaselessly reiterates the name of God in a fractal-based calligraphy.   He drinks the vodka.   He watches television.   And every passing face is masked, mouths and nostrils concealed behind filters. Some, honoring the Day of the Dead, resemble the silver-beaded jaws of grinning sugar-skulls. Whatever form they take, their manufacturers all make the same dubious, obliquely comforting claims about viroids.   He’s thought to escape the sameness, perhaps discover something of beauty or passing interest, but here there are only masked faces, his fear, the lights.   An ancient American car comes creeping through the turn, out of Avenida Chapultepec, gouts of carbon pulsing from beneath a dangling bumper. A dusty rind of cola-colored resin and shattered mirror seals its every surface; only the windshield is exposed, and this is black and glossy, opaque as a blob of ink, reminding him of the gunship’s lethal pod. He feels the fear begin to accrete, seamlessly, senselessly, with absolute conviction, around this carnival ghost, the Cadillac, this oil-burning relic in its spectral robe of smudged mosaic silver. Why is it allowed to add its filth to the already impossible air? Who sits inside, behind the black windshield?   Trembling, he watches the thing pass.   “That car …” He finds himself leaning forward, compulsively addressing the broad brown neck of the driver, whose massive earlobes somehow recall reproduction pottery offered on the hotel’s shopping channel.   “El coche,” says the driver, who wears no mask, and turning, now seems to notice the courier for the first time. The courier sees the mirrored Cadillac flare, once, and briefly, with the reflected ruby of a nightclub’s laser, then gone.   The driver is staring at him.   He tells the driver to return to the hotel.     He comes awake from a dream of metal voices, down the vaulted concourses of some European airport, distant figures glimpsed in mute rituals of departure.   Darkness. The hiss of climate-control.   The touch of cotton sheets. His telephone beneath the pillow. Sounds of traffic, muted by the gas-filled windows. All tension, his panic, are gone. He remembers the atrium bar. Music. Faces.   He becomes aware of an inner balance, a rare equilibrium. It is all he knows of peace.   And, yes, the glasses are here, tucked beside his telephone. He draws them out, opening the ear pieces with a guilty pleasure that has somehow endured since Prague.   Very nearly a decade he has loved her, though he doesn’t think of it in those terms. But he has never bought another piece of software and the black plastic frames have started to lose their sheen. The label on the cassette is unreadable now, sueded white with his touch in the night. So many rooms like this one.   He has long since come to prefer her in silence. He no longer inserts the yellowing audio beads. He has learned to provide his own, whispering to her as he fast-forwards through the clumsy titles and up the moonlit ragged hillscape of a place that is neither Hollywood nor Rio, but some soft-focus digital approximation of both.   She is waiting for him, always, in the white house up the canyon road. The candles. The wine. The jet-beaded dress against the matte perfection of her skin, such whiteness, the black beads drawn smooth and cool as a snake’s belly up her tensed thigh.   Far away, beneath cotton sheets, his hands move.   Later, drifting toward sleep of a different texture, the phone beneath his pillow chimes softly and only once.   “Yes?”   “Confirming your reservation to San Francisco,” someone says, either a woman or a machine. He touches a key, recording the flight number, says goodnight, and closes his eyes on the tenuous light sifting from the dark borders of the drapes.   Her white arms enfold him. Her blondness eternal.   He sleeps.  

From Our Editors

From the best-selling author of Mona Lisa Overdrive comes another exciting cyber-mystery thriller. The year is 2005. In the states of Northern and Southern California, an ex-cop agrees to track down a young thief who has stolen a valuable technological prototype -- for which a mysterious corporation will pay any price or break any law to get back. What could the prototype be for? William Gibson's Virtual Light is the perfect addition to any sci-fi fan's library.

Editorial Reviews

“Both exhilarating and terrifying . . . Although considered the master of 'cyberpunk' science fiction, William Gibson is also one fine suspense writer.”—People“A stunner . . . A terrifically stylish burst of kick-butt imagination.”—Entertainment Weekly“Convincing . . . frightening . . . Virtual Light is written with a sense of craft, a sense of humor and a sense of the ultimate seriousness of the problems it explores.”—Chicago Tribune“In the emerging pop culture of the information age, Gibson is the brightest star.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune