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Zero History (Blue Ant #3)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  9,252 ratings  ·  893 reviews
The iconic visionary returns with his first new novel since the New York Times bestseller Spook Country.

Whatever you do, because you are an artist, will bring you to the next thing of your own...

When she sang for The Curfew, Hollis Henry's face was known worldwide. She still runs into people who remember the poster. Unfortunately, in the post-crash economy, cult memorabil
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Putnam Adult (first published 2010)
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Neuromancer by William GibsonSnow Crash by Neal StephensonThe Diamond Age by Neal StephensonAltered Carbon by Richard K. MorganDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Best of Cyberpunk
71st out of 203 books — 835 voters
Theocracide by James WymorePattern Recognition by William GibsonZero History by William GibsonThe Diamond Age by Neal StephensonGrey by Jon Armstrong
Sci-fi Fashion Fiction
3rd out of 26 books — 19 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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 ...more
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
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)


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's true....(pouts)"

Milgrim: "Who?......what?........oh"

Hollis: "I'm being follo
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.

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
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
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
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
Alan Annand
Jan 19, 2014 Alan Annand rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: insomniacs
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
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
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
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
The second best novel about jeans that I've ever read.
I normally love William Gibson's writing and I suppose here I still do, but even Gibson isn't good enough to cover this story's utter lack of a meaningful plot, developed characters, or an integrated narrative. For the first time, I feel let down by Gibson.

Zero History follows characters previously established in Spook Country but reading this book first is by no means necessary. There are one or two bones to the aware reader to call back to Spook Country as well but they aren't sufficiently app
I pick up Gibson when I'm looking for a light read. That's meant to be complimentary rather than a knock on his effort, because I know that he'll string me along with suspense and action, keeping it well engaging without requiring too much mental effort, until the end where he lays out some massively thought-provoking tie-in, leaving me in wonder about the future.

This book had the suspense, the action, but missed out completely on the thought-provoking tie-in. I read it in such a frenzy wonderin
Any accurate synopsis of William Gibson's Zero History is going to portray the book as an absurd satire about contemporary consumer culture, Pynchon by way of Paluhniak. In reality, it's much more grounded in the familiar than its absurd premise -- "an aging rock star and a recovering junkie are hired by an eccentric billionaire to track down an obscure brand of jeans" -- would suggest.

What Zero History purports to be about is the intersection between the fashion industry and the military indus
I have been a fan of William Gibson's writing since 'Neuromancer'. His ability to illustrate a world comprised by the best and worst of what the possible future will look like has always been entertaining. This book is a further extension of an idea and story line the last two books of his have established. Which is his work, which was once considered science fiction, set decades in the future, is now set in contemporary times but is still just as entertaining as his earlier works because his pe ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Coolhunters and other style-conscious individuals--you know who you are
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
You don't have to have read its predecessors to get into Zero History, Gibson's something-like-a-conclusion to his something-like-a-trilogy, as begun in Pattern Recognition and continued in Spook Country. (How considerate of him, to title these novels alphabetically!) In a sense, this novel starts afresh, with... zero history.

Or so it seems to me. When the vast and enigmatic Hubertus Bigend, that Hitchcockian character whose mostly-offstage presence unifies this series, observes, "Once you have
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I enjoyed this, but apart from the simple and obvious pleasure of reading Gibson's lyrical words (the phrase "sky the color of television tuned to a dead channel" has always stuck with me) I'd have a hard time saying *why*. Gibson doesn't really write anything that could be called SF anymore, and while there are interesting little tech ideas here and there like the Ugly Shirt and the penguin, "Zero History" didn't scratch that itch either (Gibson notes in the afterword that both ideas originated ...more
neither of the followups to Pattern Recognition speak to me in the way that book did ... it's become one of those books i periodically reread and never get tired of.

the first few chapters of this book had me wondering if i could finish it; gibson's usual glib, hip and clever prose got positively rococo, his sentences were tying themselves up in knots of self-consciousness. i stuck with it, and then it loosened up and got entertaining, but it lacked the layers that PR has, where you feel that th
Zero History follows from Spook Country and wraps up (probably) the "Big End" or "Blue Ant" trilogy that started with Pattern Recognition. I found this novel as tepid as I did Spook Country.

Most of the cast and crew of Spook Country is back in this one; Hollis and Milgrim and of course Bigend. William Gibson starts with a conceit that seems just absurd enough to work -- fashion industry espionage and the search for the designer of some mystery jeans. Throw in some macguffins, a coup at Blue Ant,
Zero History by William Gibson was one of the emergency books I picked up on my trip to Amsterdam and what a lifesaver! It kept me from going crazy on the flight over, although it almost kept me from getting any sleep! It’s a wild ride through secret territory that kept my attention every second.

Zero History is about fashion…sort of. It’s about underground fashion — so secret that there are no stores, no catalogs, no websites. There is only a mailing list and if you’re lucky enough to be on it,
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies wor
More about William Gibson...

Other Books in the Series

Blue Ant (3 books)
  • Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant, #1)
  • Spook Country (Blue Ant, #2)
Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1) Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant, #1) Count Zero (Sprawl, #2) Burning Chrome Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3)

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