The Peripheral - William Gibson

I just finished reading this and quite enjoyed it even though the central premise which involved time travel seems too far-fetched for a William Gibson novel. The idea is that people two or three hundred years from now, known as 'Continua Enthusiasts' can access a mysterious secret server located in China that involves some kind of quantum tunneling. This in turn allows them to communicate with parts of the past, known as 'stubs'. These snapshots of history are apparently infinite so it doesn’t necessarily interfere with the future in any way. It’s the many worlds theory (which was also used recently in the movie 'Interstellar'). The idea that there are infinite futures all forever branching off each other.

The scenarios were nicely written and I enjoyed the two central characters of Flynne (a woman who plays on-line combat simulations for a living) and Wilf Netherton, who is a publicist living in a future somewhere ahead where nano-tech is extremely common place and people use tele-presence to project themselves into ‘Peripherals’ - basically androids. What divides the two characters chronologically is an apocalyptic event called ‘The Jackpot’. A confluence of social and environmental disasters that wipe out most of the world. What is left after this event is terrifying but perhaps not inevitable. For instance, London is mostly empty apart from the super-rich who don't seem to actually do anything at all. The rich indulge in things such as meddling with history via the aforementioned server.

If you have never read William Gibson, it’s a bit heavy for the first hundred pages but a thought provoking work that depicts a possible future that I found really quite disturbing in so many aspects. I’m assuming Gibson feels that way.