Author: William Gibson
Year of publishing: 1996
In Idoru Gibson concentrates on the themes of media and popularity in a post-cyberpunk setting. Idoru is set in the same universe as Virtual Light, and the main characters of both books are also very similar. But the world is better realised here than "Virtual Light," feeling deeper and realer. This is not to say that it's entirely plausible - some technical aspects are suspect, such as the very restrained impact of nanotechnology, and aspects of the climax are opaque to everyone, including the author, i suspect. Conversely Gibson shows a deft sense of consumer level technology, with believable earclip translators, personalised computers and software-rich environments. The plotting is also somewhat improved on its predecessor. While "Virtual Light" was an enjoyable book, it consisted almost entirely of asides and diversions. "Idoru" is more directed, with the plot developing and twisting as it goes along.
Idoru is a Japanese word derived from the English "idol". In the book the idoru appears as a completely artificial media celebrity. While there's the usual hacking, computer warfare, and skullduggery, the chief focus of Idoru is identity and fame: what does it mean to be famous, what does it mean to be real? What is fantasy? What is reality? Does it matter?
Early in the next century, Lo/Rez is more than just the hottest rock band in the world, it's a business. The enigmatic guru-like guitar hero Rez has announced that he will marry Rei Toei, the most popular musician in Japan. But she doesn't exist. She's an idoru, a massively-complex computer program designed to create and perform music in concerts. So Rez's obsession leads a teenage fan and a disgraced data-miner in a bizarre journey through rebuilt Tokyo, the machinations of Lo/Rez's corporation, the criminal underworld and an ethereal hacker kingdom.
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