A book that has ‘Agency‘ as its title, and is written by William Gibson, as Boris already intuited, is a book that I must read. So I did, in the past few days after it got published on January 23rd.

It was disappointing I thought.
Except for its definition of personal agency by a rogue AI as personhood, financial independence, and global citizenship, plus transparency about that towards others. And except for introducing the concept of Competitive Control Areas (described more theoretically here) to overcome failed states (in this case by installing Russian oligarchs/gangs, aptly named the ‘klept’. We probably should use that term more widely)

The playing with alternate time paths (stubs) I disliked as it seems a cop-out (leave the timey wimey stuff to The Doctor, where it’s all just a bit of good fun). Other than that the entire book is merely a long chase through a USA where Trump never got elected and Brexit didn’t happen (but Syria might become a nuclear war zone). A high speed chase with AI glasses, and coolio drones remotely controlled by people from the future who lived through the ‘Jackpot’ (the crunch where 80% of humanity died from the climate emergency, but somehow the tech level never collapsed) and now seem rather relaxed about it all as they interfere in other timepaths for fun mostly.

William Gibson, father of 'cyberpunk'William Gibson, image by Frédéric Poirot, license CC BY SA

I read the first book Children of Time, in which spiders inherit the earth, or rather a terraformed planet, late last year. This is the second episode, Children of Ruin, this time with very emotional octopuses (yet with rational tentacles) and with alien self-aware slime mould. We’re going to have an adventure, the mould makes the last remaining humans say.

The weird thing was I kept thinking I read it before, although it was first published last May. Maybe there were a few sample chapters appended to the first part.