Get a free audiobook

Agency

Written by: William Gibson
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller

"One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working" (The Boston Globe) returns with a sharply imagined follow-up to the New York Times best-selling The Peripheral.

William Gibson has trained his eye on the future for decades, ever since coining the term "cyberspace" and then popularizing it in his classic speculative novel Neuromancer in the early 1980s. Cory Doctorow raved that The Peripheral is "spectacular, a piece of trenchant, far-future speculation that features all the eyeball kicks of Neuromancer." Now, Gibson is back with Agency - a science-fiction thriller heavily influenced by our most current events.

Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. "Eunice", the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don’t yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it’s best they don’t.

Meanwhile, a century ahead in London, in a different time line entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid plutocrats and plunderers, survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot. His boss, the enigmatic Ainsley Lowbeer, can look into alternate pasts and nudge their ultimate directions. Verity and Eunice are her current project. Wilf can see what Verity and Eunice can’t: their own version of the jackpot, just around the corner, and the roles they both may play in it.

©2018 William Gibson (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“His eye for the eerie in the everyday still lends events an otherworldly sheen.” (The New Yorker

“William Gibson can craft sentences of uncanny beauty, and is our great poet of crowds.” (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review)

“Like Pynchon and DeLillo, Gibson excels at pinpointing the hidden forces that shape our world.” (Details)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

pretty good, not his best

still, happy to have a timely instalment of the good stuff

felt like a lot more blocking and precise movement than ideas or plot

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fitting continuance from the peripheral

William Gibson doing what he does best. Entertaining thought provoking all I could of asked for is more!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ocean State Prime
  • 2020-02-02

enjoyable romp lacking significance

I'd give this story an additional star for a first time author. One does expect an old master of science fiction to produce something of significance. This is not such.

King did a great job with the narration.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Bill Kos
  • 2020-01-27

Science Fashion?

Obsessive descriptions of clothing and everything else doesn't build interest. How many times do you need to know a character's pants are too baggy to accommodate a knee brace? This sequel to The Peripheral moves monotonously to a ho-hum ending where the bad guys are sent packing, and somehow the avoidance of any major calamity in the present-day stub is never fully explained.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin S.
  • 2020-02-04

Interesting concept, now just overdone

Overall, I didn't get what made this any different than Peripheral. Gibson actually pushed the envelope with things like Neuromancer, implying a truly viable high tech future. Now, the tech is here and nothing really new - I kept thinking along the lines of "drone of the week" at this point and the twist of the time travel is now stale - as well as repeatedly demonstrating there's no real stakes as the future we always see doesn't get impacted by those essentially just playing around with rich west coast D listers in the past. What exactly do the people in the future do for real work, anyway? I felt the (tired, overdone as every recent Stephenson 'hero' is) heroine came across as very flat, almost ignorant valley girl in voice acting - and it's awfully weird when the female narrator has better male voices than female. Finally, as in Overall, this just came across as Peripheral Part 2: Dry and Tired.. that's my opinion of the story. It seemed awfully woke and kind of gratuitous that the stolen military AI featured in the story never come across as African American female even though it identifies as one later - queue the wokeness, and way to pretty much steal a minor character from CBS SEAL Team - a translator no less (and yes, it's said the basis for the AI was a black girl translator associated with Navy Special Forces) and not even the kind of strategist that would pull off all the magic techno stunts and basically bank robbery inundated throughout.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Queequeg
  • 2020-01-31

Mediocre and Forgettable

This feels as if it were written by someone who had never been to the Bay Area. There is no sense of place, but then the characters are just as shallow. It almost feels as if written by second-rate AI. Another complete waste of time.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • N.J
  • 2020-01-26

Low quality SciFi

This is the type of SciFi that doesn’t take you deep into the story or caricatures. It’s more like a long short story. But, the story idea was very interesting.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Edward
  • 2020-01-25

Agency. Well done follow up to The Peripheral

Awesome story. Great characters. Hillary Clinton as a heroic figure was laughable. Excellent use of alternate history

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ronke
  • 2020-02-10

reads like a treatment for a bad movie

I am stunned how bad this book is. I am currently in chemo and have been using my enforced down time to read or reread all of Gibson (somehow missed a few like Mona Lisa Overdrive when they came out).

Having adored The Peripheral, I immediately put this on Pre-Order and just finished it, despite increasing reluctance to pick it up at any given point. When yet another incredibly stupid and unnecessary character (Manuela) appeared in the final chapters, I was about ready to throw the book and my Galaxy across the room.

The narrator is as excellent as always, accomplishing an astonishing range of voices and accents... or non accents. But even she cannot endow the main human character with anything but a sort of whiny simple mindednes, while the narrative is full of ridiculously detailed and meaningless descriptions of physical movements: sliding across a car seat, washing a face and putting on shoes (yes, many more times than once) . The brilliant internal monologues, characters and connections for which Gibson is famous are totally lacking. I have returned in relief to Pattern Recognition and am hoping the future will bring some return to form.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 2020-02-05

Love the themes!

I️ was disappointed in the performance by Lorelei King. She mispronounced words here and there, mixed up character “voices” and was inconsistent with character “voices.”

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Chris10587
  • 2020-02-02

so boring I could not finish it. does not live up

it was not enjoyable. I did not like it at all. very slow at times

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • B.A.
  • 2020-01-24

Novel ideas, but, better as a short story

Lots of new ideas, I will list some below.

This is a story about the birth and testing of a sentient and mostly benign AI, similar to Sri, Alexa, or the google assistant... but more so. Her name is Ennice. And of course, she gets loose, from the get go. This one has multiple peripherals, can protect itself against its creators by disassembling itself and hiding out among its peripherals or beyond. It has lots of drone assistants, a handy dandy Swiss army knife type mobile robot, and since it can make money, lots of human help.

Good thing this one is mostly benign.

Eunice is interesting, and in this story makes a great companion, who can simultaneously do multiple things, many on auto pilot.

There is also a sub plot about the future attempting to control the past, transfer of future technology from the future to the past, via information, not material.

Communication "real time" between future and past, and drones being operated in the present from the future.

Lots of these are interesting concepts.

However, the story offers little human development or interest. Characters are shallow.

And the story, beyond the new concepts, is mostly a continuous chase scene, which gets old after a bit.

The conclusion is unsatisfying, with Enice making herself available to everyone for contact... I assume as kind of a free lance not corporate owned Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

I/m not clear on what Gibsons political bent is, but my guess is a little leftie:

Hints:

In the timeline of this book, Trump was never elected president, and everyone in the future is quite happy about it, as they have helped engineer his loss.

There is the "Klept" a shadowy organization present in the open in the future, but which also exists in our "stub". It is a semi crime loose association of the very rich that mostly runs everything.

I do not think this is Gibson.s best work.

If he is going to get into politics, and sell it for profit, more wit than shown here is needed to at least make it entertaining.



1 person found this helpful