It has been a long time since I have read any Science Fiction, much less any William Gibson. It was a genre that I had gradually dropped out of, due to a general shift in interest. So, it was with some trepidation that I approached "Idoru." I was happily surprised.
"Idoru" is not a great book, not a classic along the lines of "Neuromancer" or "Count Zero." But not every book needs to be a classic to be good, and "Idoru" kept my flipping pages long past my bedtime, a good sign for any novel. The characters are interesting, and the investigative nature of the story keeps the blood flowing. Mixing psychic powers and cyberspace was as imaginative blend of fantasy and future.
Gibson is a renowned futurist, and even though this book was written 10 years ago the world still seems to be marching in this direction. We have yet to achieve any significant form of nanotechnology, and the forecasted computer-generated celebrities haven't appeared, but nothing in "Idoru" is completely out of bounds. The use of the Kowloon Walled City as the inspiration for a cyberspace community was inspired.
I was very impressed with his portrayal of Japan and the Japanese characters. Having lived in Japan for several years, I must say he got it exactly right. I was prepared to flinch when they moved onto Tokyo, but it never happened.
by Zack Davisson (Ikeda, Osaka, Japan)
Another gripping view of the future world as invisioned by the inimitable William Gibson.
Great book! A very fun sci-fi adventure. Very computer- and future-Japan-oriented. A bit of edge-of-your-seat thriller involved. Definitely enjoyed it. Good Gibson, as per usual.
Idoru is an international megastar--more than any mere supermodel and rock god combined. Her beloved is an equally famous rock star and rumors of their engagement spread throughout their fan communities. So far, so tabloid. Some of their fans decide to investigate the rumors, and in the process grapple with the more philosphical aspects of artificial intelligence/life -- Idoru is an AI personality.
I urge you to read Gibson- especially from the mid 80s on. It's not just the Si-Fi, but for the an insightful look at where we may be heading as a people. I would recomend starting with an earlier work-"Neuromancer" where he hit his stride, but you simply can't go wrong with any Gibson.
From Publishers Weekly
The founding father of cyberpunk again returns to the techno-decadent 21st century mapped in his other major works (Virtual Light, Neuromancer, etc.). As usual, Gibson offers a richly imagined tale that finds semi-innocents wading hip-deep into trouble. Colin Laney has taken a job in Japan to escape the revenge of his former employer, Slitscan, a kind of corporate gossip-mongerer on the Net that he has crossed out of scruples. Meanwhile, Chia Pet McKenzie is active in the fan clubs for Lo/Rez, a Japanese superstar rock duo; while visiting Japan to investigate some new rumors about the group, she is used to smuggle illegal nanoware to the Russian criminal underground. Both Laney and Chia get caught up in the intrigues swirling about the plans of Rez, one half of the band, to marry Rei Toei, an "idoru" (idol) who exists only in virtual reality. Gibson excels here in creating a warped but comprehensible future saturated with logical yet unexpected technologies. His settings are brilliantly realized, from high-tech hotel rooms and airplanes to the infamous Walled City of Kowloon. The pacing is slower than Virtual Light, but Gibson exhibits his greatest strength: intense speculation, expressed in dramatic form, about the near-term evolution and merging of cultural, social and technological trends, and how they affect character. Dark and disturbing, this novel represents no new departure for Gibson, but a further accretion of the insights that have made him the most precise, and perhaps the most prescient, visionary working in SF today.
A tight, well-told Gibson story. Intense.