cover of the peripheral

I first heard about William Gibson’s new(ish) Jackpot series through Amazon Prime’s adaptation of The Peripheral, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. I watched the series. It was good, but the book is better.

In the mid future, most of humanity is dead thanks to a series of wars plagues and other unfortunate events. What’s left is extremely technologically advance, and apart from China, is ruled by a kleptocracy (The Klept) of criminals.

Enthusiasts can use computers to reach back through time and touch the past, creating a branched continuum. Information can travel both ways.

The peripheral follows a family in early 21st century Texas as they interact with the future through peripherals - fully immerive, remote controlled human like bodies - and also follows the police and a publicist as they interact with the (a) past.

It’s amazing how quickly Gibson normalises this weirdness. There’s not really any explanation for how this works, but that doesn’t matter. After a few pages, you won’t even think about it. The world-building is (as always), fantastic and believable, and far more immersive than the TV adaptation. It’s weirder too - you don’t get to see a guy with two dicks on Amazon, for example.

Spanning two timelines and two continua(?), the central plot of The peripheral is a murder mystery. There’s violence, gangs, drugd, poverty, and the ever-looming jackpot apocalypse that our heroes may or may not be able to avert. It’s action all the time, and perfectly paced.

I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.