kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

Zero History

Availability: Ready to download

Hollis Henry never intended to work for global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend again. But now she’s broke, and Bigend has just the thing to get her back in the game... Milgrim can disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic—so much so that he spoke it with his therapist in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of his add Hollis Henry never intended to work for global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend again. But now she’s broke, and Bigend has just the thing to get her back in the game... Milgrim can disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic—so much so that he spoke it with his therapist in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of his addiction... Garreth doesn't owe Bigend a thing. But he does have friends from whom he can call in the kinds of favors powerful people need when things go sideways... They all have something Bigend wants as he finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift, after a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy they can out-Bigend Bigend himself (source: amazon)


Compare
kode adsense disini

Hollis Henry never intended to work for global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend again. But now she’s broke, and Bigend has just the thing to get her back in the game... Milgrim can disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic—so much so that he spoke it with his therapist in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of his add Hollis Henry never intended to work for global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend again. But now she’s broke, and Bigend has just the thing to get her back in the game... Milgrim can disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic—so much so that he spoke it with his therapist in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of his addiction... Garreth doesn't owe Bigend a thing. But he does have friends from whom he can call in the kinds of favors powerful people need when things go sideways... They all have something Bigend wants as he finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift, after a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy they can out-Bigend Bigend himself (source: amazon)

30 review for Zero History

  1. 4 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    William Gibson is the Jay-Z of his genre. I think. I can’t be sure, as I don’t listen to much rap (few 41 year-old men should say “hip-hop”) anymore. Let me explain. I have long admired Jay-Z’s effortless delivery and the joy with which he seems to embrace his talents; he sounds like he knows he’s good, values his craft, and enjoys the hell out of what he does. And although William Gibson is quieter and, uh, more Canadian, I felt the same way about the author while reading Zero History. After the William Gibson is the Jay-Z of his genre. I think. I can’t be sure, as I don’t listen to much rap (few 41 year-old men should say “hip-hop”) anymore. Let me explain. I have long admired Jay-Z’s effortless delivery and the joy with which he seems to embrace his talents; he sounds like he knows he’s good, values his craft, and enjoys the hell out of what he does. And although William Gibson is quieter and, uh, more Canadian, I felt the same way about the author while reading Zero History. After the have-to-admit-it-was-kind-of-a-letdown Spook Country, Gibson proceeds with Zero History as if he has a (nerdy) chip on his shoulder. He sparkles in detail and rhythm, interspersing long, wraparound sentences with short, noiresque dialogue. The characterizations are taut and durable. This book’s natural partner, both in theme and quality, is Pattern Recognition. In both novels Gibson scythes through cultural static and creates a present that, while swirling all around us, seems just beyond our comprehension. I don’t want to make this novel sound like homework. Reading Gibson, when he’s on point, or anywhere close to on point, is exhilarating. Throughout Zero History he blends thematic depth with intricate industrial espionage and, thank God, reads as if he’s locking in on whatever it is that makes him so excellent. He, like the self-proclaimed greatest rapper alive, makes it look easy. I don’t know from what roborant Gibson’s been drinking, but more, please, don’t stop now. The flow between the three “Bigend” books (Zero History is the third of a trilogy) troubled me. I read both Pattern Recognition and Spook Country so long ago that I felt as if I were missing, from faulty memory, subtle links between the novels. Listen. You’ve probably already formed an opinion on Mr. Gibson. If you like his work you’ll understand when I say Zero History is one of his best. If you’ve never read Gibson start with Pattern Recogition and work your way through the trilogy. Although I doubt he’d be so bold as to speak up on his own, he’s one of the greatest writers alive. Also, Tad RULES for getting me an autographed copy (inscribed to me!) of Zero History. I am forever in your debt, sir.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    The Devil Wears Prada meets James Bond. The third in his Blue Ant series, published in 2010, William Gibson’s Zero History is not really a part of a trilogy, the three books all being only loosely connected, and yet this is the one in which he most completely defines his subject. More about keeping secrets than advertising, Huburtus Bigend is the artful dodger of Gibson’s man-behind-the-man-behind-the-man fashionable psychological thriller. Gibson is able to intricately describe how drug value is The Devil Wears Prada meets James Bond. The third in his Blue Ant series, published in 2010, William Gibson’s Zero History is not really a part of a trilogy, the three books all being only loosely connected, and yet this is the one in which he most completely defines his subject. More about keeping secrets than advertising, Huburtus Bigend is the artful dodger of Gibson’s man-behind-the-man-behind-the-man fashionable psychological thriller. Gibson is able to intricately describe how drug value is as much about prohibition as about the effect. The cant of making something valuable is as simple as Economics 101 supply versus demand and yet Gibson is able to focus our attention into a narrow, laser like forced perspective of the psychic roots of international cool. Gibson’s narrative style is tightly wound yet exhibiting laid back sophistication. The real key to his successful story telling is his unique ability to describe great detail with a minimum of narration. His attention to detail is impeccable and this adds to the quality of his storyline. William Gibson shares his backstreet London bacon and eggs brunch with the world’s most interesting man and he was wearing Klein blue.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris Herdt

    After about page 100, I told Nicola that this book was about an insane search for awesome jeans, but that Gibson is clearly out-of-the-loop because he thinks exclusive jeans might sell for 200 Australian dollars. Yesterday, she tells me what she thinks happens in the book (without having read any of it): "A designer decides to make a pair of jeans out of a magic carpet. They are one-of-a-kind, and priced accordingly: $250. Obviously they only appeal to multi-millionairesses. "One day, such a multi After about page 100, I told Nicola that this book was about an insane search for awesome jeans, but that Gibson is clearly out-of-the-loop because he thinks exclusive jeans might sell for 200 Australian dollars. Yesterday, she tells me what she thinks happens in the book (without having read any of it): "A designer decides to make a pair of jeans out of a magic carpet. They are one-of-a-kind, and priced accordingly: $250. Obviously they only appeal to multi-millionairesses. "One day, such a multi-millionairess walks into the shop and falls in love with the jeans! However, the jeans are a size 6 and she wears a size 12. She buys them anyway, in spite of the exorbitant price, but then succumbs to bulimia while trying to slim down to fit them. "The jeans are willed to the woman's niece, played by Anne Hathaway. Hathaway is a size zero or something, but she really wants to wear the magic flying carpet flying jeans, so she starts bulking up. Once she's finally a size 6, she discovers that she's gained too much weight in the hips and not enough in the waist--they just don't fit right! Also, her boyfriend dumps her and her career is ruined because she's now a fatty. "Her agent organizes a reality TV show, with Anne as the host, called 'Who Fits Size 6?' The winner gets to keep the magical magic flying jeans! Women from all over the country go on the show to try on the jeans, but discover to their chagrin that the jeans are too small! They are all size 8 women who have been fooled by America's vanity sizing, and the magical magic flying carpet magic flying magic jeans are a true size 6. The end." Not bad, really.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Hollis Henry, an ex-punk rockstar, is called in to do another job for Hubertus Bigend and his PR company Blue Ant. This time, he wants her find out who designs a particularly underground clothing label. Assisting her will be Milgrim, the ex-junkie who can translate Russian (this is seriously his only skill, but given that Hollis has no skills at all, it's a step up). They wander Europe on Blue Ant's obscenely expansive expense account asking people about the clothing label. This is literally the Hollis Henry, an ex-punk rockstar, is called in to do another job for Hubertus Bigend and his PR company Blue Ant. This time, he wants her find out who designs a particularly underground clothing label. Assisting her will be Milgrim, the ex-junkie who can translate Russian (this is seriously his only skill, but given that Hollis has no skills at all, it's a step up). They wander Europe on Blue Ant's obscenely expansive expense account asking people about the clothing label. This is literally the entirety of their plan: to walk up to other clothing designers and ask them if they know about this underground label. Over and over again. It doesn't result in much plot or dialog, but it does give Gibson an excuse to describe, ad nauseum, the outfit of every single character in every single scene. Around page 300 Gibson seems to recollect that books require plots, and randomly there's a kidnapping. Hollis and Milgrim are, as in everything, useless in getting their kidnapped colleague back. Somehow, Hollis's boyfriend turns up with a plan. Random coincidences occur, everyone speaks in clipped non-sequitors, and the kidnapped colleague gets free. I never knew what was happening or why I should care, nor did I like any of the characters*, no matter how cool their haircuts and boots (although apparently their hair and boots are very cool indeed. Gibson expends a great deal of effort and page space reminding us of this). It's a terrible, dull book. Gibson was known for his prescient views of the future, but given that every page is a list of brandnames, his current stories will seem dated very quickly. Skip this series. *Actually, I quite enjoyed Heidi, Hollis's former drummer and a physically fearless bad-ass.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    AllI can say is that this review written by someone else, is spot on! By Viking (Los Angeles USA) - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Zero History (Hardcover) ZERO GRAVITAS: The Play Bigend: "Hollis!....I need to spend insane amounts of money on vague nothingness!....and you, being a woman of dubious talents and with no grasp of finances, need a job!" Hollis: "I know.....it's true....(pouts)" Milgrim: "Who?......what?........oh" Hollis: "I'm being follo AllI can say is that this review written by someone else, is spot on! By Viking (Los Angeles USA) - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Zero History (Hardcover) ZERO GRAVITAS: The Play Bigend: "Hollis!....I need to spend insane amounts of money on vague nothingness!....and you, being a woman of dubious talents and with no grasp of finances, need a job!" Hollis: "I know.....it's true....(pouts)" Milgrim: "Who?......what?........oh" Hollis: "I'm being followed...or maybe not...oooo weird wallpaper......why hasn't my boyfriend called?" Milgrim: "...iPhone..." Bigend: "Peel me a grape!...here's $10,0000!...I need you in Ulan Bator at 25:00 hours!...Something may or may not occur!" Milgrim: "Who?......what?....will there be snacks?" Hollis: "He's talking to me.....well, will there?......I mean, okay...(pouts)" Fiona: "You may be under surveillance....motorcycles are cool" Garreth: "I know a very interesting rich guy....No, you don't get to meet him.....oh, and I watched 2 seasons of The Unit" Evil Spec Ops Villain (off screen): "I killed an entire Afghani village with a dead parrot...now I steal fashion designs and forgot everything I ever learned in sniper school" Secret Clothing Designer: "I am too cool, to...you know...like, sell OUT?..you know....oh my god..." Everyone: "Aren't we PRECIOUS!!!.....Hugs all around!" FIN

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    Like a lot of people the first book I ever read by William Gibson was Neuromancer and I still look back on that experience 25 years ago with relish and fondness. It was the hippest book I'd read up to that point and continued to be the hippest book I'd ever read until Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson appeared out of the publishing matrix. There is a rawness to early books by great writers that sizzles and marinates the brain in beautiful technicolors. I can feel the energy and excitement that the w Like a lot of people the first book I ever read by William Gibson was Neuromancer and I still look back on that experience 25 years ago with relish and fondness. It was the hippest book I'd read up to that point and continued to be the hippest book I'd ever read until Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson appeared out of the publishing matrix. There is a rawness to early books by great writers that sizzles and marinates the brain in beautiful technicolors. I can feel the energy and excitement that the writer is conveying through his exploration of our language to express himself. As a writer gets older and becomes a craftsman the writing becomes so much more exquisite, crisp and clinical. Gibson is confident with where he is going and how he is going to take the reader there, but that does create a victim. The raw energy that drove his early books has been harnessed and the energy that used to be expended running hither and yon is now being held to the plow line. What we miss now is seeing that greener pasture or glimpsing that mountain stream that is just over the next hill. Zero History is really about clothes and the characters populating the novel are cutting edge cool. The type of people that when they walk in somewhere everybody thinks I want to look like that. I want TO BE that person and I'm really only the right pair of boots or an ultra cool haircut away from being one of those people. Gibson is a great writer and from reading the afterward he had some really talented manuscript readers. This book is almost too precise. The conversations are all short and perfect. The plot pulls you along without a bump. I never had to stop and think about anything. The characters were all so calm that I would swear they all just graduated from a Zen monastery. I felt no tension, no anxiety for the characters because everything always seemed like it was perfectly under control. I enjoyed reading this book because I like hanging out with hip, smart people. I won't remember much about this book in five years and probably little or nothing after ten, but if I decided to pull it off the shelf and read it again I would enjoy it for all the same reasons as I did this time. What I want from William Gibson is another vision of the future. I don't want a rehash of Neuromancer. I want the raw fever that conjurers up a future that I can barely wrap my head around. I want to have to stop reading and take a nap so my brain can catch up and process where he is taking me. I want the NEXT BEST THING and that is something that I believe Gibson is capable of giving us if only he would push himself and let that raw energy burn him up again. Let the horse go Mr. Gibson let the reins out and let him run.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Max Renn

    William Gibson builds his novels the way the way a sushi chef would build grand complications. Here, in the third volume of what might be called his 'Blue Ant' trilogy, he continues the process of refining and stripping story down to its essential elements, leaving more room for the seductive arcana of his finely tuned obsessions. The edgeworld fetishes that have always been the materia of true import in Gibson's work. The extra space in the narrative also allows for a stronger showing, than we'v William Gibson builds his novels the way the way a sushi chef would build grand complications. Here, in the third volume of what might be called his 'Blue Ant' trilogy, he continues the process of refining and stripping story down to its essential elements, leaving more room for the seductive arcana of his finely tuned obsessions. The edgeworld fetishes that have always been the materia of true import in Gibson's work. The extra space in the narrative also allows for a stronger showing, than we've seen in his recent novels, of the dense machine language poetry disguised as prose that made such an impact in Neuromancer. Deeper excursions into commodity theory are given a free rein as well. What we end up with is a boutique novel. Highly stylized and seemingly narrowcasted but unmistakably well-made from the finest materials available.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robert J. Sullivan

    Warning - spoilers Hollis Henry (female), ex-rock singer, recent author of an art book, and Milgrim (male), recovering drug addict, are recruited by Hubertus Bigend (male), powerful marketer and financier, to locate the designer of a secret brand of jeans. Gracie (male), Special Forces pretender, second rate arms dealer, and military supplier wannabe, is also interested in the brand and sends his men to follow Henry and Milgrim to Paris (from London). Milgrim finds the bug they're using to follow Warning - spoilers Hollis Henry (female), ex-rock singer, recent author of an art book, and Milgrim (male), recovering drug addict, are recruited by Hubertus Bigend (male), powerful marketer and financier, to locate the designer of a secret brand of jeans. Gracie (male), Special Forces pretender, second rate arms dealer, and military supplier wannabe, is also interested in the brand and sends his men to follow Henry and Milgrim to Paris (from London). Milgrim finds the bug they're using to follow him and plants it in the baby carriage of a Russian mobster. The mother's bodyguard beats up Foley, Gracie's man, who blames Milgrim, and tries to kidnap him. The kidnapping fails and a companion of Milgrim's injures Foley. Foley blames Milgrim again and kidnaps Chombo, a key member of Bigend's team, then offers to trade Chombo for Milgrim. Garreth, Henry's daredevil ex-boyfriend, shows up and organizes a wildly hi-tech rescue for Chombo. Gracie and his associates are carted off by government men, Henry and Garreth decide to get married, and Milgrim becomes a member of Bigend's inner circle. Bigend takes his team to Iceland, which he owns most of, due to Chombo's work. This is the second Gibson book I've read and I don't get him. Either he's a lot more subtle than he seems or he missed out on some of the basics of storytelling, like plots, character motivation, and McGuffins, the object that starts things in motion, in this case, clothing design. Really? Jeans? That's it? I'm a collector of McGuffins, in my own way, and I love a good one: the Ark of the Covenant, a couple of stolen nuclear weapons, all the gold in Fort Knox. This doesn't cut it. Oh, there's some talk about a cutting edge marketing techniques and the possibility of a sale to the military that failed to lift my interest. The central characters, Henry and Milgrim, fall into what I consider the Jimmy Olsen School of Protagonists - no special skills, no strong motivation, no particular reason for the author to pick them as the Point of View. I seem to see more and more of that in my reading. Why focus on Alfred the butler when the goddamn Batman is standing right there? Personally, I like Milgrim, who's out of Swiss rehab and reassembling his personality after ten years as an addict. Bigend puts him on the problem because he "notices things." I wouldn't send a newly-recovered addict for coffee without a backup plan. As far as a tightly woven plot goes, this thing is macrame. No one will talk about the clothing designer including Henry's friend, Heidi. Why? They once bonded over a pair of shoes. Henry finds the designer and doesn't tell Bigend because of their shared love of fabric (or something). Gracie decides to interrupt a major business deal and help his subordinate with a kidnapping because it's exciting. Bigend doesn't call the cops when Chombo is kidnapped because it would spoil the hi-tech rescue. Bigend provides all sorts of tracking and safety for the jeans crew and nothing to watch or protect his most critical asset, Chombo. There's a rule in theater that if you show a gun in the first act, you have to use it by the third act. Heidi, Henry's friend, suddenly produces a set of hi-tech darts on page 232, demonstrates world-class skill, and starts carrying them. Just in time, too, because she rescues Milgrim from Foley with them on page 257. Perhaps Gibson should consider introducing critical elements a little farther apart. There are some cute toys in the book: the world's ugliest tee shirt, a flying penguin, a rattan thighbone. So let's recap: Bigend is engineering a major financial coup that will move him into the "too-big-to-fail" category and Chombo, a key player, is kidnapped because of a small peripheral deal that Bigend has going that ultimately fails. Gibson focuses us on the insignificant deal. We get to watch a game of hopscotch while the Super Bowl plays just out of sight. One note. Iceland, which isn't mentioned that I remember before page 393, used to be a major player in world finances, but cratered in 2008. People who worked in finance are trying to get jobs as fisherman. Only outside intervention prevented their banking system from failing completely. Gibson doesn't mention any of this. The book was published in 2010. He might as well have picked Haiti as his go-to paradise. Okay, you tell me. Is Gibson subtle or is he f***ing with his readers? Or is he incompetent? I lean toward the last two.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    I wish Gibson's books came with footnotes. Each book in this series is structured around some sort of macguffin. Zero History actually has a few, each fascinating. The main one involves fashion, an area of interest I usually do my best to ignore. Here, I hung on every word. Gibson has a knack for picking out the sci-fi that's already present in our world, and then making it seem even more fantastic. Every time I thought he'd made something up, a quick search revealed that it actually exists. This I wish Gibson's books came with footnotes. Each book in this series is structured around some sort of macguffin. Zero History actually has a few, each fascinating. The main one involves fashion, an area of interest I usually do my best to ignore. Here, I hung on every word. Gibson has a knack for picking out the sci-fi that's already present in our world, and then making it seem even more fantastic. Every time I thought he'd made something up, a quick search revealed that it actually exists. This trilogy is a series. That probably seems like a redundant statement, but I had my doubts after Spook Country. I figured that these were merely books sharing a character or two - not directly related to each other. But Zero History knits everything together in a satisfying bundle. You could read this book by itself, but you'd miss out on character growth and many thematic arcs. And without reading Pattern Recognition, a central payoff would carry far less weight. Above all, I'm going to miss these characters. Milgrim, who failed to catch any of my interest in Spook Country, here emerges from his drug-addled decade to provide an interesting perspective on the contemporary world. And not in a shallow "wow, look at the tiny phones!" way, but much more subtle. From also-ran to favorite character, quite a change. I can't say too much more without spoiling a major revelation later in the book. Final word: I'll be reading this trilogy again, and probably before too long. I don't re-read books a lot, but will make an exception here. (P.S. Any time Gibson describes London - which he does a lot in Zero History - it just makes me want to go back there. sigh.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anni

    Gibson keeps his finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist in this third instalment of the Blue Ant trilogy delivering a high tech, internet-dominated present which seems as futuristic as his cyberpunk SF novels. In a world of industrial espionage, iconic fashion and branding, he highlights the amoral, darker side of marketing. Can be read stand-alone, but I would advise readers new to Gibson's style to read it in sequence. Extract:- 'Brand vision transmission' he said. 'Yes?' She raised an eyebrow. 'Nar Gibson keeps his finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist in this third instalment of the Blue Ant trilogy delivering a high tech, internet-dominated present which seems as futuristic as his cyberpunk SF novels. In a world of industrial espionage, iconic fashion and branding, he highlights the amoral, darker side of marketing. Can be read stand-alone, but I would advise readers new to Gibson's style to read it in sequence. Extract:- 'Brand vision transmission' he said. 'Yes?' She raised an eyebrow. 'Narrative. Consumers don't buy products, so much as narratives.' 'That's old,' she said. 'It must be, because I've heard it before.' She took a sip of cooled coffee. 'To some extent, an idea like that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Designers are taught to invent characters, with narratives, who they then design products for, or around. Standard procedure. There are similar procedures for branding generally, in the invention of new products, new companies of all kinds.' 'So it works?' 'Oh, it works,' he said, 'but because it does, it's become de facto. Once you have a way in which things are done, the edge migrates. Goes elsewhere.' 'Where?' 'That's where you come in,' he said. Reviewed on www.whichbook.net

  11. 4 out of 5

    Max Renn

    William Gibson builds his novels the way the way a sushi chef would build grand complications. Here, in the third volume of what might be called his 'Blue Ant' trilogy, he continues the process of refining and stripping story down to its essential elements, leaving more room for the seductive arcana of his finely tuned obsessions. The edgeworld fetishes that have always been the materia of true import in Gibson's work. The extra space in the narrative also allows for a stronger showing, than we'v William Gibson builds his novels the way the way a sushi chef would build grand complications. Here, in the third volume of what might be called his 'Blue Ant' trilogy, he continues the process of refining and stripping story down to its essential elements, leaving more room for the seductive arcana of his finely tuned obsessions. The edgeworld fetishes that have always been the materia of true import in Gibson's work. The extra space in the narrative also allows for a stronger showing, than we've seen in his recent novels, of the dense machine language poetry disguised as prose that made such an impact in Neuromancer. Deeper excursions into commodity theory are given a free rein as well. What we end up with is a boutique novel. Highly stylized and seemingly narrowcasted but unmistakably well-made from the finest materials available.

  12. 5 out of 5

    RJ

    Gibson has really polished his prose over the last 30 years or so although to his detriment he favors long run-on sentences and he seems to have developed an unhealthy obsession with lavish descriptions of hotel furnishings. He still hasn't figured out how to tell a decent story and his endings are getting worse not better. My suggestion for improving his more recent work: "needs more ninjas" (which would actually improve most books, now that I think about it). Molly, where are you when we need Gibson has really polished his prose over the last 30 years or so although to his detriment he favors long run-on sentences and he seems to have developed an unhealthy obsession with lavish descriptions of hotel furnishings. He still hasn't figured out how to tell a decent story and his endings are getting worse not better. My suggestion for improving his more recent work: "needs more ninjas" (which would actually improve most books, now that I think about it). Molly, where are you when we need you?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Zero History provides a big end to the Bigend books. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I find the development of Gibson's storytelling fascinating. His first three novels, the trilogy started by Neuromancer, took place in a world in which people could jack in to a vast network on which information was represented visually. It was a visionary concept, and Gibson used it beautifully--those books were never, first and foremost, about cyberspace, but about how the its human characters interfaced with cybe Zero History provides a big end to the Bigend books. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I find the development of Gibson's storytelling fascinating. His first three novels, the trilogy started by Neuromancer, took place in a world in which people could jack in to a vast network on which information was represented visually. It was a visionary concept, and Gibson used it beautifully--those books were never, first and foremost, about cyberspace, but about how the its human characters interfaced with cyberspace, how technology shapes lives. His most recent trilogy (assuming Gibson doesn't continue with these characters in whatever he writes next--I don't think he will) takes place in our world. The characters use iPhones and laptops and Google. Gibson no longer needs to envision technology that doesn't exist to explore the thematic territory he likes to inhabit. We're there now. I thought at least the Festo Air Penguin which figures importantly in Zero History was an invention of Gibson's, but go to Youtube and sure enough, there it is, floating beautifully around in the well-lit lobby of an office building--its natural habitat? Gibson writes in high definition. A huge percentage of Zero History is spent describing things in sometimes minute detail. As a result I sometimes find, reading his books, that I start to lose the forest amidst all the intricately detailed trees. I don't always mind--I often find myself coming back to his books a second time, when the pieces of the plot fall more clearly into place for me. Certainly Zero History has no shortage of almost absurdly precise details, but I felt more immediately engaged with the characters here than I did in Spook Country. This is probably as much due to the key players here being people I felt I'd come to know from the earlier books as from Gibson telling a story with more emotional weight than his last novel carried. (Milgrim, in particular, really comes into his own here as a likable character of surprising nuance and a frequent source of humor.) Zero History is deeply connected to Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, and I can't imagine anyone going in not having read those earlier novels getting the full impact of this novel's best moments, which bring the trilogy full circle and take the themes of Pattern Recognition in some surprising and rather brilliant new directions. Hubertus Bigend may not be a real figure, but he certainly represents something real. Something both dangerous and exciting. He sets things in motion, and he may arrive at a point where he is going to dramatically, irrevocably change the world. The characters of this trilogy constantly find themselves being caught up in his machinations, or reacting to having been previously caught up in them. They usually seem to dislike it. I don't know that I would like it any more than they do, but I've definitely enjoyed riding along with them on these adventures. The future is now.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan Annand

    If either the author or his publisher had subscribed to truth in advertising, this book should have been titled Zero Story. Once upon a time, after reading Neuromancer a couple of decades ago, I thought William Gibson was a SF genius for the brilliance with which he’d described a wired world of the future. A couple of years ago I read Spook County and was horribly disappointed with a vaguely-futuristic novel that appeared to have no plot. Since then, Gibson has apparently been pushing the limits o If either the author or his publisher had subscribed to truth in advertising, this book should have been titled Zero Story. Once upon a time, after reading Neuromancer a couple of decades ago, I thought William Gibson was a SF genius for the brilliance with which he’d described a wired world of the future. A couple of years ago I read Spook County and was horribly disappointed with a vaguely-futuristic novel that appeared to have no plot. Since then, Gibson has apparently been pushing the limits of his ability to anesthetize unsuspecting readers with more of the same. In all fairness, Gibson is a fine craftsman of prose. It was pleasurable and effortless to read Zero History, at least insomuch as I could feign an interest in the latest fashions in clothing, architecture, vehicles and interior design, to which he devoted an inordinate percentage of word count in this tiresome excuse for a novel. For the life of me, I struggle to recount what Zero History was all about. Essentially, a bunch of characterless nerds trying to determine the identity of a designer of leading edge military clothing. But if I looked for a plot, I was out of luck. I felt like I was downtown on a Saturday night, endlessly circling the block in front of a popular restaurant, looking for a parking spot that never materialized. I was fed up with this novel in less than 40 pages. I persisted to the end (400 pp) only in the vain hope that perhaps this once-esteemed writer would show some purpose and redeem himself in the next chapter… or maybe the next… or maybe the last. Never happened. In the acknowledgements section, Gibson went to great pains to thank his wife and daughter, editor and literary agent, and a dozen others who supposedly helped to midwife this bastard. Of those, shame on his agent and editor, who didn’t have the stones to tell him, this is an insubstantial piece of crap and you can do better. If ever I reach this stage in my writing, I can only pray I have more honest people in my life to counsel me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mommalibrarian

    This is not science fiction. I only discovered it was the third in a series (Blue Ant) when I came here to write my review. No way to know if reading them in order over a short time interval would improve the experience. In the beginning of the story Gibson uses a fair number of $5 words which I always enjoy. He also comes up with great snapshots. "She hung up before he could say goodbye. Stood there with her arm cocked, phone at ear-level, suddenly aware of the iconic nature of her unconscious p This is not science fiction. I only discovered it was the third in a series (Blue Ant) when I came here to write my review. No way to know if reading them in order over a short time interval would improve the experience. In the beginning of the story Gibson uses a fair number of $5 words which I always enjoy. He also comes up with great snapshots. "She hung up before he could say goodbye. Stood there with her arm cocked, phone at ear-level, suddenly aware of the iconic nature of her unconscious pose. Some very considerable part of the gestural language of public places, that had once belonged to cigarettes, now belonged to phones. Human figures a block down the street, in postures utterly familiar, were no longer smoking." That was a brilliant observation when the book was written (published in 2010). Now the pose would have the phone device clasped in front with whirling thumbs - texting. The entire narrative is studded with amazing facts. They are so weird that I thought many were fiction until I Googled them. In the credits in the back it turns out many were donated to him by friends. The story is told in staccato, disconnected, unexplained speech fragments. Words are dropped in conversation without context or explanation. Strangely, the title, which I thought quite powerful, is only weakly connected with the story. The number of characters balloons as the story continues and from other reviews I am told these are cameo appearances from the previous books. The whole story gets tied up in a neat bundle so quickly in a handful of pages at the end that I was left wondering what the story was about: military clothing contracts, rock album production, brandless high-end fashion, people with more money and power than sense and why the villain decides to be the villain.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved all three of the Blue Ant books, although Pattern Recognition was my favorite. This shouldn't be worth noting, but I kept stopping to wonder & try to pick apart why his women characters felt so real to me. Best I can come up with is a) they remind me of myself (so ymm) and b) he writes them as people who happen to be women. I kept finding myself stopping reading to figure out how, exactly, Gibson accomplished (b) but I still don't have a good example or explanation. The best I can do I loved all three of the Blue Ant books, although Pattern Recognition was my favorite. This shouldn't be worth noting, but I kept stopping to wonder & try to pick apart why his women characters felt so real to me. Best I can come up with is a) they remind me of myself (so ymm) and b) he writes them as people who happen to be women. I kept finding myself stopping reading to figure out how, exactly, Gibson accomplished (b) but I still don't have a good example or explanation. The best I can do is how Cayce & Hollis get ready for their meetings with Bigend -- they actually put thought into what they wear & how they look, but Gibson doesn't sexualize the process or make them fret over anything. Most of this is his style, which I love anyway, but I especially love how it keeps the characters all feeling like people rather than characters in Scene A or Standard Romance Plot 47. I'm not explaining this well, but suffice to say that a large part of the reason in love Gibson's books is because of what his style does to his women characters -- it strips away the conventions and annoying tricks that other male authors use to convey what they think is an authentic women's experience and forces readers to meet these characters as logical, thinking, flawed, people.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    The second best novel about jeans that I've ever read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    What to say about a book from the author who coined the term "cyberspace"? First off, I'm used to Gibson's style by now, after 15+ years of reading his stuff, starting in high school with the ever-cited Neuromancer. I then read the others in that "trilogy", Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive. Then with his second set of stories, starting with Virtual Light and going from there. There is a certain bit of acclimation that one has to do in order to read and "get" a Gibson novel, in my opinion. The What to say about a book from the author who coined the term "cyberspace"? First off, I'm used to Gibson's style by now, after 15+ years of reading his stuff, starting in high school with the ever-cited Neuromancer. I then read the others in that "trilogy", Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive. Then with his second set of stories, starting with Virtual Light and going from there. There is a certain bit of acclimation that one has to do in order to read and "get" a Gibson novel, in my opinion. The dialogue between the characters isn't explicit, meaning that one will say something that doesn't explain everything unless you've been wholly immersed in the story thus far. Short, clipped dialogue, the way good friends might talk to each other, reading one another's thoughts from knowing each other for so long. This can be a good or bad thing. Basically, in this story, he brings together (much like he has in the past) characters from past novels into one grand drama. The main mover in the story is basically a kind of "cool-hunter", and the entire book revolves around him trying to find answers to questions that help promote his business interests, using a cast of characters (Hollis and Milgrim being major ones) that show the multi-leveled approach used. The familiar thing about this book is how elaborate the "discovery process" (plot) is, a pattern he's used before in previous novels. It did keep me up at night at times, and the constant wondering of who is who can be entertaining. The amazing thing about this book, however, is how Gibson is able to be, with a book (books usually taking a decent amount of time to write, good ones at least) so on the cutting edge of certain things in our modern day world, at least with his last trilogy (Pattern Recognition, Spook Country). The main thing in this story is about finding the epitome of "cool", of exclusive, so exclusive that it is mythical in a sense, to where if one sees an item from this ultra-hard-to-find-brand, one has to wonder if you were hallucinating or not. I once read an interview with Gibson, where he describes his writing process (at least back then), and how he gathers a plethora of magazines and just essentially sifts through them, looking for the things that are the outliers in our culture, that are about to reach the tipping point and land on the mainstream culture's consciousness. One can totally see that with this last book, even the last trilogy. Of course, some things he misses on (I still haven't heard a lot about locative art, something introduced in Spook Country), but nowadays on something like Google maps, people will tag a location and give pictures, audio, video, so other people can know about it, experience it, and share it. Not quite the same, but using the same technology and ideas of location and people's associations with a given location. Gibson carefully constructs a world where people live really interesting lives always in search of something, everything and everyone is super-coordinated, money is no issue (for most characters), and the main thing is to find whatever it is that X character is looking for at the given moment. In a ways, a sort of mystery, but also with an element of science fiction, considering that almost all the time some sort of up and coming technology is being used. Back in '07, when Spook Country was released, GPS tech was only starting to really hit its stride into the mainstream (from what I recall). With this story, however, Gibson decides to take a new tack and go after something new: clothing. Suffice it to say that there IS more to the clothing world than what one sees on runways and in magazines, and Gibson takes us there. He takes us deep into the realm of clothing manufacturing, and without giving away significant details, he locks on to the next possible phase/craze of the clothing world, going beyond brand, the brand of "no brand" (which is something I suspect he got from the Japanese company Muji). After some musing, I can see why he chose the title for the book that he did, but to talk anymore about it would be to spoil things way too much. Overall, if you've read his work before, it will feel comfortable and familiar in certain ways. The mechanical aspects certainly (dialogue, setting, everything being ultra-cool and chic, and so on). It's an interesting story, and one that went into totally new ground for me (the clothing aspect), but the funny thing is that by the end of the book, the clothing isn't even that important anymore, but who makes it. The ending is a combination of "events" from the first two books, and I'd highly recommend reading those before diving into this one, just to familiarize yourself with the characters (Bigend being the most important to know about), especially since one makes an appearance after a long hiatus. This book is hard to "place" - there are elements of sci-fi, culture, mystery, and so many other things, and while the characterization isn't that deep, he's been building a few of these characters over time now in the preceding books. For the characters he does develop, like Milgrim, he does a good job of getting inside their head in a concise and succint way that shows their progress but also helps move the story along. If you want something that is different from the norm, that is "sci-fi" but isn't all hard tech, or something that reads like a good combination of a mystery/Tom Clancy novel (I make that reference to the fact that so many people seem to be "in the know" except for the main character and the reader, of course), with some tech mixed in and just looking at new and upcoming things that may/may not become cultural currency later, then this is for you. This isn't a book that will change your life (unless you're in clothing design/manufacture and are looking for a new idea), but it is one that will take you away for a while and place you into a story that really does get your attention and make you wonder, "What the hell is going on?" (in all sense of that question with regards to the book's characters and plot, but in a good way).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Books sometimes influence us in ways we don't expect. William Gibson is one of our most acclaimed science fiction authors, so I was surprised when I found myself buying a pea coat because of this book. Perhaps I should not have been surprised. Since Pattern Recognition, Gibson has spent as much time -- if not more -- writing about fashion trends as he has about Web 2.0 (here, it's Twitter). Hubertus Bigend is thinking about getting into military fashion, a "recession proof" industry. Although the Books sometimes influence us in ways we don't expect. William Gibson is one of our most acclaimed science fiction authors, so I was surprised when I found myself buying a pea coat because of this book. Perhaps I should not have been surprised. Since Pattern Recognition, Gibson has spent as much time -- if not more -- writing about fashion trends as he has about Web 2.0 (here, it's Twitter). Hubertus Bigend is thinking about getting into military fashion, a "recession proof" industry. Although the Belgian CEO can't legally manufacture for the American government, he and his advisers think they stand a good chance of designing clothing for the military. In fact, they think it's likely the military will beg them for help. Apparently, most men's street wear during the latter half of the 20th century was directly based on military designs. The bomber jacket, the trench coat, and the pea coat are iconic designs that we still see every day, and we still find these looks cool today. But what have they done lately? If anything, street wear has surpassed the military. Enter Gabriel Hounds. Hounds clothing isn't fad fashion. It's real. And it may be just the design that Bigend needs to secure his recession proof contract. The only problem is that it's a "very secret" brand. But if anyone can find it, it's Hollis Henry, the former lead singer of the Curfew. With her sidekick Milgrim, a recovering drug addict and translator of the Russian language, Hollis sets out to find the creator of Gabriel Hounds. Gibson's writing is as sharp as ever, and his plot here is both clever and thrilling. If Spook Country was all about atmosphere, Zero History is a more directly satisfying novel. Gibson has done a fine job shepherding his characters to a resolution that wraps up not only the novel but the entire series. And when I wasn't reading this book, I found myself interested enough in these military fashions to start doing some online digging. I ended up buying a pea coat, and I think I look pretty sharp in it. Even my wife says so.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Once again it was a really intriguing story the Gibson has woven, the return of Hubertus Bigend and his schemes at Blue ant, the hip designer label, the elusive designer, the ex band members and pill popper that give the story its depth and humour. I wish a hotel called Cabinet really existed, but most of all I am always excited to see another Gibson set in Soho and Paris - so that my walks in the area at lunchtime will have a new flavour to them and the people around me on the street given a 'z Once again it was a really intriguing story the Gibson has woven, the return of Hubertus Bigend and his schemes at Blue ant, the hip designer label, the elusive designer, the ex band members and pill popper that give the story its depth and humour. I wish a hotel called Cabinet really existed, but most of all I am always excited to see another Gibson set in Soho and Paris - so that my walks in the area at lunchtime will have a new flavour to them and the people around me on the street given a 'zero history' of their own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Zero History is the third in Gibson's so-called "Bigend" series. The others are Pattern Recognition and Spook Country. Pattern Recognition is where Gibson moved from being the SF novelist of Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive to a novelist of a somewhat contemporary world. Perhaps it's his SF sensibility that makes these novels so interesting. His keen eye for current trends and the always interesting characters, Hubertus Bigend, for example plus the strong female leads in the series all conspi Zero History is the third in Gibson's so-called "Bigend" series. The others are Pattern Recognition and Spook Country. Pattern Recognition is where Gibson moved from being the SF novelist of Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive to a novelist of a somewhat contemporary world. Perhaps it's his SF sensibility that makes these novels so interesting. His keen eye for current trends and the always interesting characters, Hubertus Bigend, for example plus the strong female leads in the series all conspire to make this an oddly affecting series. It's unfortunate that people who have no interest in SF might skip these three novels in which Gibson so compellingly reinvents himself as a modern novelist. Of course, the irony is that it is the SF experience that makes these books so immediately modern. Gibson's interest in technology and trends, from locative art, viral marketing and the culture of surveillance and paranoia are again on view here. This is a story that involves arms dealers, armored urban vehicles, federal agents and is, in the end, absurdly and hilariously about pants. The fact that the book references the Festo AirPenguin and the Ekranoplane is just one measure of his absurdist take on modern life . Google these, satisfaction guaranteed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann Littlewood

    Gibson writes about the weirdest things. Now he's into fashion. Whatever... the man is a brilliant stylist in my opinion. He can turn out a metaphor or a description that leaves me agape. I don't really care where he chooses to take us--I'm there for the glory of the ride. Ahem. Back to earth. Literally. This isn't science fiction (which he also writes) since it's set in the present and uses science that already exists, or close enough. You'll find characters from previous books Pattern Recogniti Gibson writes about the weirdest things. Now he's into fashion. Whatever... the man is a brilliant stylist in my opinion. He can turn out a metaphor or a description that leaves me agape. I don't really care where he chooses to take us--I'm there for the glory of the ride. Ahem. Back to earth. Literally. This isn't science fiction (which he also writes) since it's set in the present and uses science that already exists, or close enough. You'll find characters from previous books Pattern Recognition and Spook Country. Hollis Henry is working for Hubertus Bigend again, floundering around researching a pair of pants. Her companion is Milgrim, a lost soul who never expected to be alive this long. Garreth, Holly's exboyfriend, likes to jump off tall buildings. The Department of Defense is a player. Enough about plot. Gibson serves up plenty of suspense and villainy, but he also has a generous heart for his characters and, from time to time, he's really funny. Gibson expects you pay attention and trust him. If you need your narrative clear and coherent from the get-go, look elsewhere for your fun. Give this a try if you like staying on your toes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eloise Sunshine

    I grew to be so fond of mr BigEnd, that it made me very sad when the trilogy ended. I would have wanted to have more of him, just like there are never enough scenes with the DEATH in the Discworld books and you just hope that he makes another entrance and says something smart and/or funny :P (well, not Bigend, he's just a very interesting character, though I'm not sure there are people like him in the real life... though I would like to meet one very much). Zero History has sort of it's own story I grew to be so fond of mr BigEnd, that it made me very sad when the trilogy ended. I would have wanted to have more of him, just like there are never enough scenes with the DEATH in the Discworld books and you just hope that he makes another entrance and says something smart and/or funny :P (well, not Bigend, he's just a very interesting character, though I'm not sure there are people like him in the real life... though I would like to meet one very much). Zero History has sort of it's own storyline and at the same time ties together a lot of (not really loose) ends... or people and events from previous books. I like that, cause in the first two, there didn't seem to be any other connection between them besides mr Bigend himself. The main value of the story wasn't really the art or the jeans or whichever goal they were after at any poibt... but the way they were hunting for information, choosing the sources, what methods they used to solve their task, the decisions they made. I like to observe how people think and act, it's a very interesting process and this book (and this trilogy) gave enough satisfaction to my soul regarding that :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I picked this up on a whim and was pleasantly surprised by this one until about the last 100 pages. After three-fourths of the book was devoted to character development and thought-provoking commentary on branding and marketing, the book shifted gears into an action thriller with fortuitous coincidences accumulating at such a rate your suspension of disbelief becomes stretched to the breaking point. I suppose since this was the last book in a loosely connected trilogy, character arcs had to reac I picked this up on a whim and was pleasantly surprised by this one until about the last 100 pages. After three-fourths of the book was devoted to character development and thought-provoking commentary on branding and marketing, the book shifted gears into an action thriller with fortuitous coincidences accumulating at such a rate your suspension of disbelief becomes stretched to the breaking point. I suppose since this was the last book in a loosely connected trilogy, character arcs had to reach some conclusion. It seemed forced, and a bit of a betrayal of the possibilities that were explored in the meatier middle section of the text. Gibson's prose can be off-putting and for the first 25 pages or so I began to think he was deliberately attempting to tailor his book for a certain audience. The literary bloat subsides as the narrative gains steam. The book is worth the time for the issues that are raised regarding a corporate/military driven future economy/culture, but the Mission Impossible ending diverts your attention from these matters to the detriment of the novel's potential impact.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I'm as big a fan as anyone of the Sprawl series (Neuromancer, etc) but as time as gone on I have steadily been less impressed with the stuff Bill has turned out, and we've hit rock bottom with this one. It's terribly tedious, long-winded, and apart from a couple of marginally good ideas, contains nothing of any interest. The point seems to be to obsess about branding and detail and texture without actually providing any meat - the actual plot of the book, which i admit is optional as long as the I'm as big a fan as anyone of the Sprawl series (Neuromancer, etc) but as time as gone on I have steadily been less impressed with the stuff Bill has turned out, and we've hit rock bottom with this one. It's terribly tedious, long-winded, and apart from a couple of marginally good ideas, contains nothing of any interest. The point seems to be to obsess about branding and detail and texture without actually providing any meat - the actual plot of the book, which i admit is optional as long as the signature Gibson atmosphere is sorted, is completely indeterminate until the final few pages where it seems to be unrelated to anything else going on. Bill should take more drugs and focus his telescope on the future again. Don't tell us about the present, we know more than you do.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Page

    Completely enjoyed this novel, which I think is the first of Gibson's that I've read (it will not be the last). The story flowed easily, in part thanks to short chapters that easily hopped from one storyline to the next, and in part thanks to Gibson's relaxed storytelling writing style -- almost conversational. I think what I loved the most about the book is that Gibson didn't feel compelled to fill in every detail. He left a lot unsaid, so the reader can choose to fill it in, or just move on. D Completely enjoyed this novel, which I think is the first of Gibson's that I've read (it will not be the last). The story flowed easily, in part thanks to short chapters that easily hopped from one storyline to the next, and in part thanks to Gibson's relaxed storytelling writing style -- almost conversational. I think what I loved the most about the book is that Gibson didn't feel compelled to fill in every detail. He left a lot unsaid, so the reader can choose to fill it in, or just move on. Defying genre, it uses aspects of mysteries, espionage thrillers, hard sci-fi, and contemporary literature; not what I expected going in.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    A morality tale involving a hunt for pants (or the designer of pants)? I can almost imagine a Hollywood pitch for this book. Anyway, this is another of Gibson's 'Bigend' novels and as a novel it works. It isn't perfect, but it still works well. I think Gibson's writing is tight, his narrative in this one was stronger than 'Spook Country,' and the characters were more dynamic. The seams are still there and some of it is still a little forced-cool, but as a novel it works and as the last novel of A morality tale involving a hunt for pants (or the designer of pants)? I can almost imagine a Hollywood pitch for this book. Anyway, this is another of Gibson's 'Bigend' novels and as a novel it works. It isn't perfect, but it still works well. I think Gibson's writing is tight, his narrative in this one was stronger than 'Spook Country,' and the characters were more dynamic. The seams are still there and some of it is still a little forced-cool, but as a novel it works and as the last novel of a trilogy about advertising, fashion, power, and the hunt for the BIG next it also works. I liked it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    You know how some authors take special care with the opening line of their novel, making sure that it's catchy and well-crafted, giving it a 'hook'? Gibson's writing is like that all the way through. It's not just a veneer of style on top - nearly every single paragraph contains some adroit turn of phrase, some new and startlingly fresh way of looking at an ordinary detail, and/or a thought-provoking idea. I think Gibson could write about any topic at all and make it fascinating. I mean, if you'd You know how some authors take special care with the opening line of their novel, making sure that it's catchy and well-crafted, giving it a 'hook'? Gibson's writing is like that all the way through. It's not just a veneer of style on top - nearly every single paragraph contains some adroit turn of phrase, some new and startlingly fresh way of looking at an ordinary detail, and/or a thought-provoking idea. I think Gibson could write about any topic at all and make it fascinating. I mean, if you'd asked me if I'd be thrilled to read a book about fashion marketing it's doubtful that I'd say yes. But this is a fantastic book. Like all of Gibson's books.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    021117: if you do not pay close attention to the rapid, intense, constant collage of images- plot revealed almost as an afterthought- you might get the impression the story happens in a depopulated world, involving described clothes, cars, furniture, hotel rooms, weird weapons, layers of London history evident in every turn, walk, run, fly drones... and the reason: style... it is fast, easy read, but not my favourite Gibson...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This novel about fashion/nothing works for twenty pages. For all the wit and exotic words, the style is suffocating. Satire needs room to breathe. When every sentence draws attention to itself by using the same technique, the story splinters into ten-thousand sentences. The writing is just too pleased with itself.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.