Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > Zero History

Zero History by William Gibson
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's review
Oct 05, 2010

bookshelves: science-fiction, staff-picks-blog, fiction, john
Read in October, 2010

On the first page of William Gibson’s latest book, he describes a character’s clothing this way: “wrapped in Japanese herringbone Gore-Tex, multiply flapped and counter-intuitively buckled.”

On the same page, Gibson describes a taxi: “Pearlescent silver, this one. Glyphed in Prussian blue, advertising something German, banking services or business software; a smoother simulacrum of its black ancestors, its faux-leather upholstery a shade of orthopedic fawn.”

Folks, this is TMI, not in the sense of being embarrassingly personal, but in that it impedes the flow of the story. OTOH, the actual plot is maybe the least interesting aspect of Zero History. Did you know there are secret brands? Know what aubergine is? Piblokto? An Ekranoplan? The Wild Hunt? International Klein Blue? Keep a line open to Google, and you can learn some fascinating stuff.

Most of the characters return from 2008′s Spook Country. Former rock star Hollis Henry once again finds herself roped into working for Hubertus Bigend, a marketing genius, who suspects the cutting edge has moved away from him again. Former addict Milgrim, after extensive and expensive treatment financed by Bigend, finds himself coming back to life after a lost decade.

The story itself boils down to a generic industrial espionage yarn with a kidnapping twist, but the characters are pretty cool. If you read this tho, read it for Gibson’s laser prose and arcane knowledge. Orthopedic fawn, huh? --John

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog

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