William Gibson. Virtual Light (1993) 325 pp.
2005: The millennium has come and gone and California has been divided
into the uneasy sister-states of NoCal and SoCal. In San Francisco, Golden
Gate Park has been renamed Skywalker Park, the Bay Bridge (irreparably
damaged in the “Little Grande”) is now used for housing, and all of the
homicide cops are Russians. Chevette Washington, a bicycle messenger who
lives on the bridge, impulsively steals a pair of sunglasses from an “asshole”
at a party that she crashes while “pulling a tag.” But these are no ordinary
shades. What you can see through these high-tech specs can make you rich—or
get you killed. When the asshole turns up dead, the cops bring in a bounty
hunter to track down the thief—and, presumably, the killer. Berry Rydell,
a former armed-response rent-a-cop from Los Angeles, is working as the
bounty hunter’s driver when they catch up to Chevette. Rydell doesn’t like
the way things are going down so he snatches Chevette, and the glasses,
and they make a run for it—trying to prevent the virtual reality seen in
the sunglasses from becoming actual reality.