William Gibson’s Novel Comes to Vivid Life in First Teaser for “The Peripheral”

Prime Video’s The Peripheral premieres on October 21, 2022. A second season is purportedly already in active development.

The novel is in many ways vintage Gibson: a bleak, dystopian future world chock-full of big thematic ideas, visionary technology, and its own slang terminology. The reader is plunged into this setting and must acclimate accordingly; Gibson isn’t interested in presenting everything to us on a silver platter. But that initial effort pays off as the novel evolves into an action-packed cyberpunk thriller.

There are two plot lines that eventually begin to converge. The first arc takes place in our near-term future and is centered on a young woman named Flynne. Flynne works at the local 3D printing shop in a small town; the store is the sole source of goods for the population, along with Walmart’s fictional future offspring, Hefty Mart. Flynne’s brother Burton is a veteran of the US Marine Corps’s elite Haptic Recon force and suffers from brain trauma resulting from his cybernetic implants.

Burton works security for a video game/virtual world maintained by a company called Milagros Coldiron. When Flynne agrees to substitute for Burton one day on the job, she witnesses a woman being gruesomely killed by a swarm of nanobots. But is it an actual murder, or is it merely part of the game? (This is a Gibson novel, so the boundaries can get a bit fuzzy.)

The second arc takes place in a futuristic and desolate London in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event dubbed “the Jackpot,” which wiped out 80 percent of the population. This world is essentially ruled by Russian oligarchs (“klepts”). Here, our main protagonist is a corporate PR guy named Wilf Netherton, who sets up a publicity stunt for Daedra West, this world’s version of an influencer. The stunt goes horribly wrong, and Wilf is fired.

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