(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Virtual Light develops a wide range V of eccentric and interesting characters. One of the two primary figures is Berry Rydell, the ex-cop, ex-IntenSecure guard with good intentions but bad luck. He is a typical Gibson antihero except that he strives mightily always to do the right thing. He is often bumbling, however, and prone to manipulation. He is another of Gibson's unwashed, shaggy dog young men who appear inept but who, through some accident of fate, and usually through the help of a strong woman, finally succeed.

The strong woman of Virtual Light is the young bike messenger Chevette Washington. She is a spike-haired runaway waif from a city on the fringe who comes to the city to make something of herself. In this case, she finds friends such as the charismatic Sammy Sal and the fatherly Skinner who teach her the ropes and help her get started. Sammy Sal is reminiscent of the Angie Mitchell's hairdresser/friend Porphyre in Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988). Gibson flirts with killing off both Sammy Sal and Porphyre but in the end does not have the heart to kill either one. With the help of both Sammy Sal and Skinner, Chevette has learned enough to initiate Berry into the intricacies of life in NoCal and on the Bridge. She is also the one who outsmarts the assassin Loveless when he takes them hostage.

If Chevette has a sidekick in Sammy Sal, Berry has his in Joel Sublett, the IntenSecure guard with mirrored eyes and...

(The entire section is 426 words.)