Idoru by william gibson is nothing less than an awe-insiring book for me. no other author that i have come across can inspire one to recreate visions of reality at the turn of every page. Gibsons books are all compelling; neuromancer (1984) needing perhaps a special mention; as this book single handedly created the cyberpunk genre, aswell as coining phrases such as "cyberspace". However, as one of his later works (1996), we are able to find within Idoru's more contempory exploration of our worlds transformation into a high density infomation-governed datasphere, an analysis of what might happen to certain aspects of humanity as technology, infomation, and a new reality converge within the global infrastructure.
First a quick summary: Idoru translates as "idol singer" in modern japanese culture - specifically to the Virtual, entirely artificial video stars that have been created and animated entirely on computer. Presently these Idoru are 3D rendered "anime" style character who along with becomming top selling "artists" also help to sell cars on television, go on talk shows, even "sign" autographs for their millions of fans. The Idoru in Gibsons book has evolved into real-life 3D with the aid of holograms and eventually nanotechnology.
It is very difficult to simplify this novels plot, as there are several subplots of typical complexity, each worthy of a summary. However the basic outline revolves around four groups (whoose lives eventually become more intertwined)of people each of them has their own interest in an entity, as yet unknown which is creating sharply chaotic imprints within the fabric of their net's reality. The entity in question turns out to be one particualr Virtual Idol, Rei Toei, and a certain rock musician (called Rez, part of the duo Lo/Rez). Rez has apparently said he is to marry Rei Toei, this of course being impossible as Rei is entirly virtual. Here enters some illeagal nanotech harware from Russia, which a not so benevolant AI has arranged (through instigating imperceptibally small changes in various places, real or virtual, so as to effect the physical location of the hardware) to reach Rei (incedently this AI turns out to have beeen - in the next few novels - created from the virtual equivilent of primordial soup of the present net. Rei Toei is merely a fragmented split of the particular AI). Idoru examines wha...
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... perhaps such is the density of what he explores in his novels doesnt allow him enough room to tackle such enourmous questions - but he constantly hints at religion, the human spirit, and humanity throughout his world, and perhaps it is that what makes his work so enjoyble in the end; perhaps the real test of a scifi writer is to let us enter their wonderfullly imaginitave world without leaving us cold at the end - that there will always be humanity, no matter what happens in the future - Isacc Assimov did this remarcably well also...
Idoru brings a much more contempory future to us - one that in many aspects is already here - those who live extramly close to technology and its spured underground cultures know this. Yet Idoru is fresh - his writing style might be unpalatable to enthusiasts of classical liturature, but it has an increadable punch to it - he sends us right into the middle of his world where we are invited to inteperate and reconstruct - above all it stimulates the imagination - one might well find oneself following wild visions of our future after readin even a few chapters. I know i did, and the ability of Idoru to that is a major factor in my liking it so much.
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