Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Peripheral Is A Good Book

Or Why You Should Read The Peripheral
by William Gibson

Flynne's brother Burton, a disabled veteran of the US Advanced Haptic Recon force, needs a favour. He needs her to fill in for him at his off the books job and pilot a security drone in a game set in a futuristic London. Which was fine, even when the woman she was guarding is brutally murdered. It's a shock, but it's only a game. Except, it turns out, Burton's job wasn't a game and Flynne is now the witness to an actual, inexplicable murder. And now a man named Wilf Netherton is contacting her and claiming to be from the future. 

The Peripheral is a time travel story designed to explain our bizarre, fractured present. The novel oozes futurism, weaving central concepts with snappy one-off ideas into this granular, dense polymer of potential. This is a novel that is absolutely crammed full of material to ponder over. It's also a novel with a central premise that I cannot get over: the Sci-fi conceit of The Peripheral is time travel as a metaphor for inequality which I find endlessly fascinating. The novel portrays two different futures, years apart, one in the far future populated by a small number of insanely wealthy people enjoying the amazing fruits of technological achievement, and another, more contemporary future filled with poor, rural veterans struggling to get by. It perfectly captures the growing divide between the wealthy and the poor and the almost temporally different worlds they already inhabit. It's deeply insightful. Of course, this is all explored in a story filled with mystery, suspense, and humour; The Peripheral is far from a dry Sci-fi textbook. It's smart, but also very readable. I really enjoyed this book.

I would recommend The Peripheral to a pretty wide reading audience. Anyone interested in Science Fiction will absolutely enjoy this book: it's a mainline of futurism built around a brilliant high concept. But The Peripheral is also a suspenseful mystery novel filled with memorable, fun characters and deals with some pressing contemporary issues in an entertaining way. The Peripheral is also very well written. This is a novel that anyone who just likes good, engrossing books will probably enjoy. So, I would say that The Peripheral is a must read for any Sci-fi fan and a book worth looking into for anyone else looking something to read. It's good stuff.

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