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Very recent hiredness was its own liminal state, Verity reminded herself, on the crowded Montgomery BART platform, waiting for a train to Sixteenth and Mission.
Twenty minutes earlier, having signed an employment contract with Tulpagenics, a start-up she knew little about, followed by a wordy nondisclosure agreement, she'd shaken hands with Gavin Eames, their CTO, said goodbye, and stepped into an elevator, feeling only relief as the doors closed and the twenty-six-floor descent began.
New-job unease hadn't yet found her, there, nor out on Montgomery as she'd walked to the station, texting her order for pad thai to the Valencia branch of Osha. By the time she'd reached this platform, though, three flights down, it was entirely with her, as much as the black trade-show bag slung beneath her arm, silk-screened with the logo of Cursion, her new employer's parent firm, about which she knew very little, other than that they were in gaming.
It was with her now as her train arrived. Almost two years since she'd felt this, she thought, as she boarded. She'd been unemployed for half of that, which she supposed might account for its intensity now.
She reached for a hang-strap as the car filled.
Surfacing at Sixteenth, she went straight to Osha, picked up her pad thai, and started for Joe-Eddy's.
She'd eat, then start getting to know their product. This wasn't just a new job, but a possible end to sleeping on Joe-Eddy's curb-rescue porn couch.
The early November sky looked almost normal, Napa-Sonoma particulates having mostly blown inland, though the light still held a hint of that scorched edge. She no longer started awake to the smell of burning, only to remember what it was. She'd kept the kitchen window closed, this past week, the only one Joe-Eddy ever opened. She'd give the place a good airing soon, maybe try cracking one of the windows overlooking Valencia.
Once back at his apartment, she ate hungrily from the black plastic take-out tray, ignoring the lingering reek of the uncut Mr. Clean she'd used to scour the wooden tabletop, prior to Gavin's call. If Joe-Eddy's Frankfurt job lasted, she remembered having thought as she'd wielded a medium-grit 3M foam sanding block, she might scrub the kitchen floor as well, for the second time in a little under a year. Now, though, with Tulpagenics' contract signed, she might be giving notice to the couple renting her condo, middle managers at Twitter, who hadn't reported a paparazzi sighting for over three months. In the meantime, for however many more nights on white pleather, she had her silk mummy-bag liner, its thread-count proof against the porn-cooties of persistent imagination.
Covering what remained of her order with its admirably compostable translucent lid, she stood, took her leftovers to the fridge, rinsed her couch-surfing chopsticks at the sink, and returned to the table.
When Gavin had been packing the bag, the glasses were all she'd paid any real attention to. They'd involved a personal style decision: tortoiseshell plastic, with gold-tone trim, or an aspirationally Scandinavian gray. Now she took their generic black case from the bag, opened it, removed them, and spread the pale gray minimalist temples. The lenses were untinted. She looked for a trademark, country of origin, model number. Finding none, she placed them on the table.
Next, a flat white cardboard box, in which a flimsy vacuum-formed tray, also white, hugged a nondescript black phone. Likewise no-name, she found, having freed it from the tray. She turned it on and placed it beside the glasses. A smaller white box revealed a generic-looking black headset with a single earbud. In another, three black chargers, one each for the glasses, phone, and headset, commonest of consumer fruit, their thin black cables still factory-coiled, secured with miniature black twist-ties. All
William Gibson is credited with having coined the term "cyberspace" and having envisioned both the Internet and virtual reality before either existed. He is the author of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Burning Chrome, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History, Distrust That Particular Flavor, and The Peripheral. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.
Superb... Each sentence is a hand-turned marvel of compact characterization, world-building and sardonic wit, all used to illuminate his vivid milieus Gibson has an inexhaustible supply of tricks, new stories and new ways of telling them that make him the most consistent predictor of our present, contextualizer of our pasts and presager of our possible futures. Los Angeles Times
An immersive thriller, fueled by an intelligent, empathetic imagination. The Boston Globe
A sensual, remarkably visual ride, vigorous with displays of conceptual imagination and humour. The Guardian (UK)
Gibson blurs the line between real and speculative technology in a fast-paced thriller that will affirm to readers that it was well worth the wait. Booklist
His language (half Appalachian economy, half leather-jacket poet of neon and decay) is all about friction and the gray spaces where disparate ideas intersect. His game is living in those spaces, checking out the view, telling us about it. NPR.org
In Agency Gibson offers another of his uncannily plausible imaginings of near-future life and technology with Gibson s trademark panache, the story rattles along with great pace and suspense. The Sunday Times (UK)