I adore William Gibson with a slightly unhealthy fierceness, akin to obsession. His Neuromancer was my first introduction to cyberpunk of any sort, and I knew I had found my tribe, or at least part of it. To read Neuromancer in 1984, before everyone had a desktop computer and AOL, was a complete nerdgasm for a young geek in those days. I was fifteen years old, and had known from the age of 11 that I was going to work in computers somehow, someway, someday, even though everyone thought that was nuts.
I take this short trip down nostalgia lane because reading The Peripheral brought back those same feelings. This book is old school William Gibson, with that same ease of language that introduces the new and unusual as something accepted and known, and makes it interesting and puzzling and attractive all at once. And there’s time travel! In a way, it felt to me that The Peripheral does for our near(ish) future what Neuromancer did back in the early 80s for the world wide web. He builds a world that you can imagine coming into being, and meanwhile tells a really good story around it.
I realize now, at this point, that I haven’t actually told you what the story is, but I think I’m not going to. There’s the near future, one that you and I can relate to as happening within the next 20 years or so, and then there’s a future future, and the two complement each other in a story that includes intrigue, guns (of a futuristic type), death, and a healthy dose of “I need to know what happens NEXT!”