But, the blue ant books are so boring! I am so genuinely perplexed whenever anybody recommends them. Honestly I can't say anything after Pattern Recognition is any good or not as I never gave it a shot.
I guess I just struggle with what exactly and who exactly I'm supposed to be paying attention to in Pattern Recognition. Too many asides that I only found distracting and not amusing or even interesting.
But I loved the sprawl series so much, I keep trying to pick up Gibson again. I'm just left mystified what anyone sees in his recent 5 or 6 books.
I did read the Sprawl books pretty much as they were published, or within a couple years. I think I was in 6th grade when I read Neuromancer the first time.
Going back to Sprawl after reading Blue Ant, new layers of detail became apparent to me. There is a lot more than just an AI-driven singularity story going on. If anything, the [Spoiler!] Neuromancer-Wintermute union is a McGuffin made too explicit, distracting many readers from the rest of the interesting content. Like Space Rastas. How awesome are Space Rastas?!
I found it easy to follow the Cayce Pollard thread in Pattern Recognition. Everything seems to develop around her or eventually relate back to her. In some sense, Cayce is a hybrid of Case from Neuromancer and Marly Krushkova in Count Zero. Bigend is a hybrid of Josef Virek (Count Zero) and perhaps the physical aspects of Armitage (Neuromancer).
All of Gibson's books deal with characters that operate with relatively little wealth and power on the fringe of society and their interactions with figures of extraordinary wealth and power who have ambiguous locations within society. But these characters aren't just computer hackers / programmers. They can be marketing advisors, children, fashion designers, linguists, artists or mercenaries.
It is worth giving the Blue Ant* series a second change, there is more in common with Sprawl than first appears.