cover image The Peripheral

The Peripheral

William Gibson, read by Lorelei King. Penguin Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 14 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-1-61176-335-5

Reader King does a fine job presenting this complex tale of alternate futures, nefarious plots, time travel, and gruesome crimes. In the not-so-distant-future, gamer Flynne Fisher is covering a beta-testing shift for her ex-Marine brother when she witnesses what she thinks is a murder—“some kind of nanotech chainsaw fantasy.” This new game connects Flynne, her brother, and their friends to a fantastical future world, where Flynne learns that her life in the present is in danger. King is handed a lot in this reading—shifting time periods, different points of view, tons of sci-fi speak, and a multitude of characters—and she handles it all with consummate skill. Her characters, especially the smart and sardonic Flynne, are nicely portrayed with precise individual personalities that fit perfectly. Her pacing is spot-on, never bogging down even when the story calls for a lot of exposition. In lesser hands such expository passages would grind this book to a mind-numbing halt, but King’s intelligent and engaging reading holds the listener solidly from one disc to the next. A Putnam hardcover. (Nov.)