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… “I been thinking about you. Your situation. Not good. Not good, man. You never get to be a cop now. Now you resign, I can’t even hire you back on IntenSecure to work gated residential. Maybe you get on with a regular square-badge outfit, sit in that little pillbox in a liquor store. You wanna do that?"


“That’s good, ‘cause you get your ass killed, doing that. Somebody come in there, take you little pillbox out, man.”
Virtual Light is the first science fiction novel of the San Francisco Trilogy written by William Gibson in 1993. This is Gibson's first solitary work since the Sprawl series, which was composed of Neuromancer; Count Zero; and Mona Lisa Overdrive. He had written The Difference Engine with Bruce Sterling between the two series, but no other novels. During the Sprawl series Gibson's writing changed quite drastically from novel to novel, most of the time for the worse. However, in Virtual Light he seems to have finally found a new style that works for him. The format is much more readable than Neuromancer with its obscure references. The chapters switch their point-of-view between the two main characters and sometimes a minor character takes the point-of-view. For those unfamiliar with William Gibson, he is best known for his first novel Neuromancer, which is often called the cyberpunk novel. In Virtual Light, he returns to the idea of a bleak future. The title comes from a term scientist Stephen Beck coined, which is the idea that an instrument could create an optical sense without the use of photons. It was published in 1994 by Bantam Spectra.

The year is 2005, the United States of America aren't anymore. The state of California split, and seperated into two countries: NoCal and SoCal. Most of the rest of America is controlled by a corporate organization known as DatAmerica. But none of that matters, nothing matters except for the people.

Chevette Washington is a bike messenger that works on the streets of San Francisco. She lives with many of the homeless on what used to be the Bay Bridge. One day she sneaks into a rich party after making a delivery. A single obnoxious guy that keeps on pestering her, and she makes one big mistake. She steals from him. She slips out of the party with what seems to be his rather expensive sunglasses.

Berry Rydell is an ex-policeman who worked in Los Angeles as a rent-a-cop for IntenSecure. He had been kicked off the force after he killed a man who held their family hostage. He was offered a part in the sensationalistic news show Cops in Trouble, but was dropped when a more interesting case came up. And now he's been fired again. He's been fired from IntenSecure, because he made the 'mistake' of taking what was a fake call created by a group of hackers identifying themselves as The Republic of Desire.

Chevette's new sunglasses aren't what they seem to be. They are what are known as Virtual Light glasses, a video screen that plays directly into your brain without the use of light. They are incredibly expensive, but that can't be the reason that Rydell has now been hired to track her down. It's the video that is in the glasses, a video that has plans to remake all of San Francisco with nanomachines, just like Tokyo. An incredibly illegal plan that could make trouble for a lot of people in power.

The San Francisco Trilogy:

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