Book - 2020
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"Verity Jane, gifted app-whisperer, has been out of work since her exit from a brief but problematic relationship with a Silicon Valley billionaire. Then she signs the wordy NDA of a dodgy San Francisco start-up, becoming the beta tester for their latest product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. "Eunice," the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, soon manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and an unnervingly canny grasp of combat strategy. Verity, realizing that her cryptic new employers don't yet know this, instinctively decides that it's best they don't. Meanwhile, a century ahead, in London, in a different timeline entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid plutocrats and plunderers, survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot. His employer, the enigmatic Ainsley Lowbeer, can look into alternate pasts and nudge their ultimate directions. Verity and Eunice have become her current project. Wilf can see what Verity and Eunice can't: their own version of the jackpot, just around the corner. And something else too: the roles they both may play in it"--
Publisher: New York :, Berkley,, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101986936
Characteristics: 402 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Staff picks


From Library Staff

Agency is a great science fiction novel about the implications of a future with AI, augmented reality, mass surveillance, robotics, and alternate realities! This is William Gibson’s sequel and prequel to The Peripheral, yet it stands as a riveting read on its own. It is stylistically evocative of... Read More »

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Dec 24, 2020

Gibson explores the future consequences of sentient AI, limited time travel, pandemics coupled with bad government, the surveillance state, the cloud, and excessive capital concentration all in the setting of a novel. An exciting story, but with a number of thought provoking conclusions to ponder as the story races by.

Dec 11, 2020

Man, Wm. Gibson is just so freakin' prescient it's not even funny. (Although I'd did experience some gallows humor chuckles when Rainey let slip how a series of pandemics, poor political leadership and climate change led to her continua's jackpot.) There is just a lot of great stuff going on in this series - AI tech, British sarcasm and a bad-ass attack drone.
Verity feels more like a typical Gibson narrator than Flynne was in pt. 1. But that I liked Flynne and her crew so much 'cause they talked differently than his usual set. This is not taking away anything from Verity - smart, independent female protagonist Gibson fans are familiar with. It used to bother me that he spent more time describing characters' wardrobe than physical aspects; but I'm used to it and appreciate it now. You get to picture the character how you want, and he doesn't slow the action down with unnecessary adjectives. In Agency I love the way Netherton and Connor Penske have matured from Peripheral. Both these guys have their shit together now, therefore their team is more cohesive and efficient.
I don't know what else to say about Agency - so entertaining I couldn't put it down for the last 150 pages or so. You should read Peripheral #1 first so you have an idea of what's going on. If you've never read anything by Gibson, I recommend starting with "Virtual Light" pt. 1 of The Bridge Trilogy. That's a great entry into his writing style, and the story and tech is a little easier to grasp immediately IMO.
If you're a fan of serious, smart sci-fi, you will enjoy Gib's stuff no matter where you start.

Jul 10, 2020

A suitable sequel to "The Peripheral," with plenty of extra backstory and even more depth of mental triangulation of the "stub" branches of history. In addition, we get a fascinating exposition on the branches of sub-routines (and sub-personalities?) to an advanced AI. However, the character development in the sequel is less compelling, and the relentless and breakneck pacing of the plot seems cramped, as if the characters and by extension, the reader, has no agency in the plot at all.

Mar 29, 2020

Maybe, for me, not reading the first book, Peripheral, was a mistake. If I hadn’t picked up a review copy from NetGalley, it is probably a book I would have not read. Time travel isn’t my thing and I was not able to relate to the characters. I’m happy being in the minority because there are books for everyone’s interests. It was an okay read. I need to be pulled out of my reading comfort zone occasionally.

Mar 16, 2020

This is my third William Gibson novel. Read his first, years ago (Neuromancer) and recently, the decade-old Pattern Recognition. Loved Neuromancer, quite liked Pattern Recognition.

This new one is for somebody. But not for me. I tried everything: re-reading passages that I thought I understood--but did not--tried not to overlook detail that could be important--and failed. Avoided reading when I was tired (even though I didn't know I was THAT tired.) This book is VERY HARD WORK.

I certainly appreciate Gibson's take on a possible future, and, as usual, how people act, their various electronic "assists" and their everyday speech patterns. All nifty stuff. Genius writing. But, so much "stuff" that whatever plot's in there gets smothered by it.

Did I say it was a very hard work? I did. It was. And in the end--or rather, half-way through--decided that whatever possible pay-off there was at the end just...wasn't worth the effort.
YOU, however, might think differently...

Mar 15, 2020

Similar to the previous comment, the lack of congruent structure, choppiness and cyber-technology terms makes this a confusing story whose plot is hard to follow. Characters lack
depth, and the plot is unwieldy to say the least. This came as a Goodreads recommendation corresponding to Blake Crouch's "Dark Matter" and "Recursion" both of which are FAR better in my opinion.

Mar 15, 2020

A tedious techno-triumphalist mess. The social satire and cultural insight displayed in some of Gibson's work (Blue Ant series) has given way to a steady stream of gadgetry and jargon. The cardboard characters -- faultlessly virtuous goodies and hopelessly incompetent baddies -- only serve as props to demonstrate the gear. A magically all-powerful AI entity saves the world. One long deus ex machina.

Feb 09, 2020

Have read all of Gibson's previous work, greatly anticipating this one... and it pays off in many ways. Various subtle hints of current tech, potential future tech, the future, etc... work well when sprinkled here and there. The stories mesh well, a lot going on, but 'from above' so to speak... not spending 100 pages describing things, you get it because he has written it very well. The ending will be familiar to some, not necessarily a disappointment, but a bit underwhelming, but also within character.
Read it.

Feb 06, 2020

A very disappointing sequel to Gibson's terrific "The Peripheral" (2014). The primary problem (there are others) is that the dramatic structure falls apart midway through, and the remainder of the novel unfolds in almost deus ex machina (in this case deus ex AI) fashion. The anti-climactic conclusion, which wraps up far too neatly and antiseptically, is so boring that I found myself skimming whole pages near the end. I probably wouldn't be quite so negative if I hadn't keenly anticipated this sequel. Still, I wish I hadn't wasted my time reading this.

Jan 31, 2020

Another great (exciting, imaginative, ahead of its time) book from William Gibson. "Agency" is the sequel to "The Peripheral" from 2014, and I wish I had re-read that before tackling Gibson's latest. Highly recommended, but read (or re-read) "The Peripheral" first.

Update: Just re-read "The Peripheral" and "Agency" again just after, and it is much more cohesive, knowing who is where and why (can't say more without spoilers).

Really good reads....

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Mar 07, 2020

jlstrait thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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