Idoru is a science-fiction novel set in a postmodern , dystopian, cyberpunk future. There are bits of the literal future right here, right now, if you know how to look for them. Rez has claimed to want to marry a synthetic personality named Rei Toei , the Idoru Japanese Idol of the title, which is apparently impossible and therefore questioned by his loyal staff, particularly by his head of security, Keith Blackwell. Blackwell believes that someone is manipulating Rez, and wants Laney to find out who. Fourteen-year-old Chia Pet McKenzie is chosen by the group to go to Tokyo and meet with the Tokyo chapter to find out what is really happening.
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In return, I introduced her to this book in which Gibson predicts such a thing, twenty years ago. Then we checked out her other hot new thing, the PBS Idea Channel and among other things, we watched Mike Rugnetta talk about the connections between Gibson, Hatsune Miku, Lana del Rey, pop culture, technology and art. And then I told her about a show that used to be on, Connections by James Burke, which did much the same, albeit with less about art and more about technological breakthroughs.
Well, as soon as Natasha is finished with it. To view it, click here. Quote There is an odd surface tension here; some readers may approach Idoru from the wrong bias, through the lens of Neuromancer and the Sprawl trilogy. Those readers will expect the traditional cyberpunk romp of amphetamine-fueled Yakuza battles and twisted violent sex in coffin hotels; those readers Quote Those readers will expect the traditional cyberpunk romp of amphetamine-fueled Yakuza battles and twisted violent sex in coffin hotels; those readers will be disappointed and may not be able to penetrate the skin of this charged, deeply emotional book.
In typical Gibson style, the dueling narratives follow two distinctly melancholy characters: there is the starry-eyed teenaged angst of Chia Pet McKenzie and the existential, nearly Phildickian dread of Colin Laney. The novel opens on Laney, recently terminated under dubious circumstances from his "quantitative analyst" position for a tv program called Slitscan; Laney has a rare gift that enables him to tease patterns out of seemingly random data and he is recruited by a Japanese company to come to Tokyo and perform some research on their most valuable asset -- a rock star named Rez.
Without a close inspection of the text, the novel might appear energetic but thematically trite. The plot moves along at a brisk pace: trans-Pacific flights whisk our protagonists into a Japanese Wonderland, quick-cut flashbacks fill in their respective histories, malicious and unseen maneuvering keeps every last character on his or her toes. Gibson drops his customary tropes: seedy back-alley deals gone awry, a detailed but ultimately vague send-up of "cyberspace", a mischievous and emergent AI But this book has nothing to do with AI or cyberspace or seedy back-alley deals.
At its core, Idoru explores the proposition that intimacy is a function of immersion, of experience, of fully surrendering to the risks of engagement and that knowledge or facts or data by any name and in any quantity cannot bring affinity. The narrative contains a relatively early scene wherein Laney is subject to a monologue by Kathy Torrance his boss at Slitscan ; she goes on at length about "celebrity" as a natural resource, about how media and tabloids like Slitscan have corralled "celebrity" into a commodity that can be controlled and brokered.
Taken out of context, the monologue appears to be a provocative and unambiguous statement about celebrity in and of itself. But as her imminent suicide becomes obvious to Laney through his "nodal apprehension", he becomes concerned about, even attached to her; he breaks through his own Fourth Wall and allows himself to become involved, to experience her face-to-face.
He is there in her apartment for the shot that kills her. We can hear echoes of his investment, how the experience created an instantly intimate moment which he capsulizes as: " Throughout the narrative, there is a very keen sense that each character is desperately seeking something "real", something with which he or she can truly and intimately connect.
Rez at one point blurts out: "Nothing like it [ We open on Laney in the aftershocks of just such a "physical thing" and Chia striking out to Tokyo in search of same.
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