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Our Discussion of The Peripheral by William Gibson

We enjoyed The Peripheral although it left us with a lot of questions for what appears to be a stand-alone novel…

A sampling of our comments are listed below:

  • The Peripheral – does the title refer to the peripheral used by Flynne? Why were there so many comments about its origin and whether it looked familiar or not? Why did Lowbeer chose it specifically?
  • Lowbeer was interesting, powerful, and morally ambivalent, but was she human? Lowbeer was Griff (a man) in the past, but she became a woman over time.
  • We are told that Flynne doesn’t seem to survive the jackpot, which leaves the door open for her to survive. Could the peripheral be based on a descendant? Flynne was pregnant at the end of the book…
  • The beginning was tough going because Gibson drops you into the world with very little explanation and tons of made-up terms: Patchers, anyone?
  • Once the two timelines connected, the story began to make more sense.
  • How would preventing the President’s death stop the jackpot? Jackpot could be a reference to Heinlein’s 1952 short story, The Year of the Jackpot.
  • It seemed awkward that everyone in Flynne’s world used very short sentence fragments when speaking.
  • Gibson got some digs in at future hipsters.
  • Neuromancer was better, but here Gibson gives us two worlds and adds in his usual fun asides – Pharma Jon, Hefty Mart, chicken nubbins, the Wheelie Boy, etc.
  • Lock In by Scalzi and the 2009 Bruce Willis movie Surrogates had similar themes.
  • The ending was a little too happily ever after – wasn’t the jackpot still coming in some form?
  • Is Gibson still writing cyberpunk? Yes, but not as much as in Neuromancer.

Please add any additional thoughts or comments you may have about The Peripheral. We gave this title the codes BAC, ROB, CAP, MIL, HRO, LEL, DOM, CYB & TTL with an average rating of 4.


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