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Just because William Gibson’s newest book, Pattern Recognition, is set in the present doesn’t exactly mean that he’s desperate to get out of the science-fiction ghetto. It’s just that our disconcertingly futuristic present of G4 Cubes, fetish newsgroups, and burrowing nukes has finally caught up to the cyberpunk vision of Gibson’s previous work. The protagonist of Pattern Recognition, Cayce Pollard, is a cynical freelance marketing consultant, or coolhunter. Her aversion to spin is precisely why she is the perfect litmus test for ad campaigns. And because this No Logo poster girl hates brands, Pattern gets away with more product placements than any book since American Psycho. Surely Gibson would be the first to admit his debt to Thomas Pynchon; some of his work looks essentially like Oedipa Maas posting on slashdot—or “The Crying of Error 404.” Gibson is in town at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads. Free. (703) 998-0404. (DD)