Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Agency by William Gibson

My book for April was Agency by William Gibson. This is a second book is an eventual triology. I read the first book [The Peripheral] more than six years ago!?!

Like the first novel, the story bounces between two different timelines. The distance future is an environmental post-apocalyptic sparely populated world built and maintained by nanotechnology. The other timeline is a near future alternate history where Hillary Clinton bets Donald Trump for the Presidency. A third timeline from the first book plays a minor role. The characters use a vague technology (a server in China) which even they don't seem to understand to telepresence between the three timelines.

One of the main characters in the near future timeline is an artifical intelligence. I have read several interesting books about AIs including Origin by Dan Brown and Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie. Given the recent setbacks in self-driving cars, I am not optimistic that there will be a revolutionary breakthrough in AI in my lifetime...

As a rule, I am not fond of time travel stories. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book; it was an engaging story. I love science fiction that plays with technology in interesting ways. I grade the book an "A-". I can't give a time travel story an "A"... I am looking forward to seeing how Gibson ties of the storylines together into a third book.

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