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Zero History by William Gibson

Zero History (original 2010; edition 2010)

by William Gibson

Series: Blue Ant (3)

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1,510514,899 (3.86)46
Title:Zero History
Authors:William Gibson
Info:Putnam Adult (2010), Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, signed

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Zero History by William Gibson (2010)

  1. 40
    Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A new cycle of work from a master of future prediction.
  2. 10
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English (50)  French (1)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
The third book in a loose trilogy by cyberpunk legend Gibson, author of Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive, Zero History is set in the present, a snapshot of the world as it was last week, but with that sci-fi sheen of cutting-edge cool that only Gibson ‘s unique vision can impart. Advertising agencies, fashion shows, motor-cycle couriers, military fashion and industrial espionage are all combined in a book that’s as much a sly comedy as a clever thriller.

Hollis Henry, an ex-drummer who lost most of her money in the crash and hasn’t seen her boyfriend since he jumped off the world’s tallest building in Dubai, finds herself grudgingly working for Hubertus Bigend, the brilliantly-named zeitgeist-surfing millionaire with his fingers in many pies. Now he has has eye designing uniforms for the military and the lucrative streetwear market that goes with it. Milgrim is also working for Bigend too. He lost ten years of his life to prescription drugs. Detoxed and reinvented, he translates and runs errands and never asks questions.

Hollis and Milgrim are set the task of tracking down the designer of a mysterious line of denim clothing. Bigend is curious about the secretive tactics of ‘anti-branding.’ Hollis is having second thoughts about the whole thing, and Milgrim is wondering why he’s being followed by a US agent who is sending him messages over a Twitter account. Rival designers with ex-military connections are unimpressed with Bigend’s end run for military contracts and set out to remove the competition, and Milgrim and Hollis soon find themselves embroiled in a tense, dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Set mostly in London,with quick trips to Paris and the US, Zero History is a novel of slick, clean surfaces, ubiquitous brand-names and evolving technologies. It is a comedy, a thriller, and a portrait of the utter strangeness of the modern world. And it’s a damn good read. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Fun. The junkie becomes the most important character. Another Gibson tale in which the weedy guy gets the cool girl who can do the masculine things, e.g., kill people, ride a motorcycle. A more typical romance as well, which was a little off-putting in a Gibson novel. ( )
1 vote themulhern | Sep 27, 2015 |
Good read - a continuation of the new series by Gibson. Love the new tech and ideas he generates and Bigend is such a mad character. ( )
  Ben_Harnwell | Apr 26, 2015 |
I find this a rather hard book to talk about because not very much happens. This is certainly not a plot-driven book, ironic when you consider the closest genre for placement would probably be thriller. And I can't call a character-driven book. In fact, it took me a while to get into it as the rapid switching of viewpoint between the two main characters held them at arm's length for a while (although I eventually became quite heavily invested in them).

I think I'd describe it as an idea-driven book, touching on cultural trends, memes and behaviors. When you look at Gibson's work as a whole, this isn't a departure. While his stories range from cyberpunk to steampunk to action, there's an underlying awareness and perspective on our culture that is very dominant.

I think the best description of what it felt like to read this book is the blurb on the back from Time: "...writing about the present as if it were the future." That's exactly the sense I had. It felt like speculative fiction but, when I stopped to think about it, everything in the story could exist today. ( )
1 vote TadAD | Feb 22, 2015 |
omg, what the hell? This book is the result of William Gibson getting interested in the concept of fashion, I think. I dunno, probably his most accessible in terms of the way his main character is written but pretty much no substantial plot/good ideas....
  bianca.sayan | Sep 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
This flatness is the strangest feature of the world of Zero History, and more generally of the trilogy it completes. There's no question that, taken together, these three books represent one of the first great novels of 21st-century data culture. But there's no dirt in view – no muss. The cities of Neuromancer were crumbling into a kipple of obsolete technology, litter and grime. Cyberspace – clean, rational, clutterless – offered an alternative reality for those with the skills and the technology to gain access, while the wealthy could escape to exclusive orbital country-club cantons. Now that the future is here, Gibson's readers, like his protagonists, seem condemned to cities that are all surface, while yearning for a glimpse of something seedier, stickier, more troubling.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Gibsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
LaRoche, NicoleCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Susan Allison, my editor.
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Inchmale hailed a cab for her, the kind that had always been black, when she'd first known this city.
"But that's exactly it. Because they 'understand all that', they won't find the edge. They won't find the new. And worse, they'll trample on it, inadvertently crush it, beneath a certain mediocrity inherent in professional competence." [Hubertus Bigend: 24]
Reading, his therapist had suggested, had likely been his first drug. [Milgrim: 93]
She always found it peculiar to encounter a time she had actually lived through rendered as a period. It made her wonder whether she was living through another one, and if so, what it would be called. [Hollis Henry: 102]
There was something inherently cheerful about the buoyancy of a balloon, he thought. It must have been a wonderful day when they first discovered buoyant gases. He wondered what they'd put them in. Varnished silk, he guessed, for some reason picturing the courtyard at the Salon du Vintage. [Milgrim: 376]
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Former rock singer Hollis Henry and ex-addict Milgrim, an accomplished linguist, are at the front line of a sinister proprietor's attempts to get a slice of the military budget. When a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers, they gradually realize their employer has some very dangerous competitors--including Garreth, a ruthless ex-military officer with lots of friends. Set largely in London after our post-Crash times.… (more)

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