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Agency

Narrated by: Lorelei King
Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

Non-member price: $31.64

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Publisher's Summary

"One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working" (Boston Globe) returns with a brand-new novel.

In William Gibson's first novel since 2014's New York Times best-selling The Peripheral, a gifted "app-whisperer", hired to beta test a mysterious new product, finds her life endangered by her relationship with her surprisingly street-smart and combat-savvy "digital assistant".

©2020 William Gibson (P)2020 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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For me, Agency is his best since Neuromancer

I have waited a long time for Gibson to really hit his straps again. Way back in '84 when I read Neuromancer for the first time, it triggered my brain plasticity, much as a VR headset does for many first time users today. In Agency, Gibson took me for a ride I didn't know I wanted and his premonition about pandemics couldn't be more apt. His handling of a powerful AI was exciting for me and the "forks in the road" almost reminded me of Aldiss's Barefoot in the Head.
The narrator did a pretty good job with the accents and characters, but I'm picky and some pronunciations annoyed me a little, but that is a small thing as I found it an enjoyable experience and I'm looking forward to more like this from Mr Gibson.

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  • Mr D Alford
  • 06-02-2020

A long time coming

The wait for this book release nearly killed me. Still, worth it though. A very enjoyable romp. If you liked Peripheral, you’ll like this. Now, Audible, whilst I wait for Gibson’s next book, can you arrange audio versions of all his back catalogue, please?

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  • Kevin Gilmartin
  • 25-05-2020

Too convoluted. Should've been a series

Disappointing and unfulfilling.

The narrator works well with bad material, so it scores high there, but otherwise this is not the standard I expect from a master like William Gibson. For such a short book there's just too many things going on at once to fully flesh them out. Too many characters, from multiple timelines, with different world events happening in each one but which aren't really explained all that well.

The first 25% of the book is excellent, with UNISS becoming a great character and the relationship between her and Verity developing really nicely. Then the next three quarters of the story are essentially a big complicated car chase.

There's to many concepts here which have been jammed together into one short tale, when this could've made a really, really intriguing trilogy.

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  • David K.
  • 26-04-2020

ZZZzzzzzzzz......

“Agency” is the follow-up to “The Peripheral” and, though that hadn't been up to Gibson's previous standards, the conceit of linked but separate futures and “stubs” was intriguing enough to make me look forward to listening to this continuation. I wish I hadn't bothered; it was the literary equivalent of a pre-packaged salt-beef sandwich — the packaging and brand made it look so tasty but one bite showed it was nothing but by-the-numbers fare, which I only finished because I had paid for it and was still hungry afterwards.

The problem is that Gibson is a writer whose ideas are so very good that they make up for his lack of skill in creating a sense of urgency and danger, even when that's what he is straining to do. This is not so bad with printed books as the reader's own enthusiasm helps to keep the pages turning. But with an audiobook, it's the narrator dictating the pace and, though Lorelei King has a genuinely pleasing voice and style, she didn't manage to make even the chase sequence seem remotely exciting. Compare this with a master of narration like Michael Jayston; with seemingly no effort, he manages to make sections of Le Carrés “Smiley“ books crackle with relentless pace and gravity. The material helps, of course, but the narration is crucial.

I never thought I would find myself saying this about a William Gibson book but I really can't recommend this to anyone expecting something worthy of his name and reputation. Fingers crossed for a return to form next time.

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  • jonb@armslength.co.uk
  • 20-04-2020

I like Gibson but this feels tired

nothing really new here, tedious action with no discernable stakes. Disappointing lack of ideas. Def not his best.

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  • T. Proudfoot
  • 08-04-2020

classic Gibson

A great follow up to The Periphery, with some of the same characters appearing. If you like that you'll love this.

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  • olishaw
  • 03-04-2020

Book 2 of 3 ?

Good continuation / extension to this world, but felt a little flat at the end, setting up a third book

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  • Kai
  • 17-03-2020

Disappointing

The lead character is just carried along by the story. No real conflict or struggle.

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  • Austrich Person
  • 28-02-2020

Sharp and conjuring

The first few moments took much effort to convince myself that the rest will be worth listening to, the readers voice being the polar opposite of the Neuromancer narrator. But it works, and very well.

It's easy to lose track of characters, and reasons for why this or that action is being taken. Could have been shorter.

Everything else is brilliant, giving you ample food for thought. The image of the world William Gibson imagines is often too real for comfort, and relative agency becomes a theme one begins to appreciate all around.

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  • Dr. S. Blanchard
  • 10-02-2020

Temporal anomalies need lots of concentration

Love Gibsons work but have to say if I hadn't read the peripheral I would find this hard to pick up.

It could have done with a harder hitting finale after teasing us with atomic war, jackpot cure and the birth of a new AI.

Is it going to be the second book in a Trilogy?