In The Peripheral, the first installment in William Gibson's Jackpot Trilogy, readers toggle between two intricately woven timelines, one a bleak near-future rural America, grappling with socioeconomic hardships, and the other, a post-apocalyptic 22nd century, where the ultra-wealthy indulge in tampering with the past as a dark form of entertainment. The narrative, weaving together elements of alternate realities, a murder mystery, corporate espionage, power struggles, and technological advancements, offers a deep foray into the intricacies of human nature and morality in a digitally saturated landscape that one comes to expect in a work by Gibson. Amazon adapted the novel into a streaming series in 2022.
Signed by Gibson on a special page bound-in by the publisher with gold "signed copy" on the jacket.
Hardcover. First Edition, First Printing. Octavo, cloth backed boards. New York: Putnam, 2014. Locus Award nominee (2015). John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalist (2015). ISBN: 9780399158445. #10174.
Fine in fine dust jacket.
In The Peripheral, the first entry in William Gibson's Jackpot Trilogy, the narrative transitions between two intertwined timelines. In near-future rural America, job opportunities are scarce, with many resorting to the illegal drug trade as a primary source of income. Flynne Fisher makes ends meet working at a local 3-D printing shop and lives with her mother and her brother, Burton. Burton grapples with neurological damage sustained during his service in the Marines' elite Haptic Recon unit. He has taken to moonlighting for a dubious international corporation, overseeing security for what seems to be a prototype online game situated in a virtual realm bearing a resemblance to London. When Flynne takes over her brother's shift, she witnesses a gruesome murder within this game, which unsettlingly doesn't feel much like a game at all.
The story toggles between Flynne's ordeal and the life of Wilf Netherton, a prominent publicist living in the early 22nd century. Wilf's time, seventy years beyond Flynne's, is recovering from the devastating "Jackpot," an apocalyptic period where climate change coupled with various catastrophes resulted in famine, pandemic, and the loss of 80% of the global population. The world now leans on advanced nano-technology called Assemblers to slowly rebuild society.
In this world, the uber-wealthy can indulge in a dangerous pastime, utilizing a mysterious quantum server to transmit data back in time, creating "stubs," which are alternate timelines that diverge from history at the point of contact. These affluent enthusiasts toy with these newly created worlds, manipulating them for personal amusement or experimental ventures.
As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that Flynne resides in one such stub. Wilf and his associates enlist her assistance to identify a murderer she seemingly encountered during her stint in the virtual realm, initially perceived as a game but actually a projection of Wilf's futuristic London. The term "Peripherals" refers to remotely operated cyborg bodies or robots, a mechanism that facilitates Flynne's journey into Wilf's time.
With the narratives of Flynne and Wilf becoming inexorably entwined, they find themselves at the center of a high-stakes conspiracy entangled with corporate espionage and fierce battles for power. Once more, Gibson exhibits his mastery in crafting intricate worlds and exploring the profound complexities of the human condition in this techno-futuristic landscape. The Peripheral stands as a testament to Gibson's innovative prowess, arguably his most groundbreaking work since Neuromancer. In 2022, Amazon brought the novel to screens in a generally well-received yet short-lived television adaptation, marking only the second instance of Gibson's visionary narratives being adapted for the screen, following 1995's Johnny Mnemonic.