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Count Zero

(Sprawl #2)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  47,574 ratings  ·  1,235 reviews
A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he’s recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D—and the biochip he’s perfected—out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties—some of whom aren’t remotely human...
Paperback, 308 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Ace Books (first published 1986)
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Dan'l It is a different book. Neuromancer is essentially a classic noir heist story, and fills that role well.

Count Zero has deeper characterization, and a …more
It is a different book. Neuromancer is essentially a classic noir heist story, and fills that role well.

Count Zero has deeper characterization, and a broader and deeper look at the same world, shows us more various modes of living, and asks important questions that Neuromancer leaves unaddressed.

Count Zero is also a later novel, and Gibson writes with more confidence in his own voice, and a more practiced style. He has gotten better at sharing information usefully.

That said, the plot of Count Zero - really, three plots that converge - is more diffuse and less linear and coherent. With three leading point-of-view characters to Neuromancer's singular perspective, it allows a broader story at the cost of a more diffuse focus.

I would say it is a better book. If you want to inhabit the world of Neuromancer more deeply, in more places, from more perspectives, it is very good. If you want a tight, linear, noir thriller, this is not that book.(less)
Natalie “CJ” is tattooed on the back of Jones’ hand. (He’s the kid up there looking after the crazy guy.) So, no, I don’t think it’s a reference to Neuromance…more“CJ” is tattooed on the back of Jones’ hand. (He’s the kid up there looking after the crazy guy.) So, no, I don’t think it’s a reference to Neuromancer.(less)

Community Reviews

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May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
The coolest thing about reading Gibson is jacking in to his urbane and hip way of descriptive narration.

William Gibson, as prophet of cyber punk and also as the herald of his later Blue Ant works, returns to The Sprawl for a continuation of the setting he began in his masterwork, Neuromancer.

But like many of his books, this sequel is only that in regard to a return to the original setting, Count Zero works as a stand alone. The Sprawl, the megalopolis formed by the Eastern United States, from Bo
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
“it involved the idea that people who were genuinely dangerous might not need to exhibit the fact at all, and that the ability to conceal a threat made them even more dangerous.”
― William Gibson, Count Zero


I haven't read Sprawl # 3 (Mona Lisa Overdrive), but after reading Neuromancer and now 'Count Zero', I think I will start referring to the Sprawl trilogy as the Sprawl Dialectic. 'Neuromancer' = Thesis. 'Count Zero' = Antithesis, so I guess I have to wait to see if 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' = Sy
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I would perhaps complain that the ending was a bit to deus ex machina for my taste, but then the entire book is wound around the theme of god being in the machine. From the vodou loa who seemingly possess various characters and steer the entire plot; to the mad European trillionare who has reached near immortality through preservation vats and virtual reality; to the insane former net cowboy who now believes he has found god in the random yet deeply moving works of art created by long abandoned ...more

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go...

A quick look at the numbers...
Why is it tha
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans
This is a "sequel" to Neuromancer. I use the term loosely.

There's really 3 stories here that all tie together at the end.

Marly, an art specialist, her world wracked by scandal, is a approached by an incredibly rich man and offered obscene amounts of money to track the origins of some art pieces he's interested in. But what has she really gotten herself into?

Turner is a badass mercenary who does his job ruthlessly and efficiently. Now he's been hired by a man named Mitchell. But when it all goes
Oct 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, boring-futures
When I was maybe halfway through this book, I wrote this elsewhere:


It’s funny reading “classic” William Gibson now because he basically imagined a version of the internet that was much less life-changing than the actual internet.

"There will be instant electronic full VR communication but there will be no communities or subcultures in it, people will still just be friends in real life and then talk on the (video) phone sometimes. Using the internet is sort of like playing a vi
Kat  Hooper
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

"They plot with men, my other selves, and men imagine they are gods."

Several years have passed since Molly and Case freed the AI who calls himself Neuromancer. Neuromancer’s been busy and now his plots have widened to involve several people whom we meet in Count Zero:

Turner is a recently reconstructed mercenary who’s been hired by the Hosaka Corporation to extract Christopher Mitchell and his daughter Angie from Mitchell’s job at Maas Biolabs. Mitchell is
Ian "Marvin" Graye
A Modish Synopsis, A Modest Assemblage, A Little Looksee

It's a whole long story, and it's open to interpretation. Each chapter begins with a pronoun, or two. And then it's off like a robber's dog. I decided you and I might hit the matrix for a little looksee. You followed, forgetting your fears, forgetting the nausea and constant vertigo. You were there, and you understood this was our space, our construct. It came on, a flickering, non-linear flood of fact and sensory data, a kind of narrative
May 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
An interesting addition to the Sprawl trilogy started with Neuromancer, taking a look at similar themes from a different perspective. What makes us human? What effect is technology having on us as a species? What happens if technology develops beyond our understanding and of its own free will?

I wasn't blown away, in fact I found it quite difficult to read at times yet managed to read it what felt like no time at all. This sort of sums up the contradiction of my experience of this book. Bored yet
Simon Brading
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Barely made it to 3*s...
Parts of the book were good and made me want to keep reading, but then invariably the chapter changed and we went back to people whose story I wasn't interested in.
And in the end it just kinda all fizzles out... If it's going to do that I at least want it to make me think, like a Philip K Dick book, but this one almost just left me thinking that I was glad it was over because I can forget about it.
Anthony Ryan
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The second instalment in Gibson's sprawl series contains all the elements that made cyberpunk so much fun. The plot is a breakneck thrill ride complete with augmented humans, mercenaries, Rastafarian warriors and a tactical nuke. However, Gibson also finds room for plenty of brain food as we are forced to consider a future where government is irrelevant and information the only real currency. ...more
David Mcangus
May 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
With Count Zero, William Gibson employs the familiar device of fragmenting his narrative between multiple protagonists. On paper, this was a good idea. By utilising four characters and telling their stories separately, it had to the potential to go into greater detail with the world building and increase the complexity of the plot. The problem however, is that by incorporating four protagonists, his weakness in characterisation is made that more apparent. In Neuromancer, Molly was the linchpin. ...more
Graeme Rodaughan
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
There was a time in my life where cyberpunk was where it was at and this book really fitted the bill.
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who want Gibson's writing style without his imagination
Every time I re-read the Sprawl trilogy, I speed through "Neuromancer" and, when I get to it, "Mona Lisa Overdrive;" but "Count Zero" usually holds me up for a month at least. This time it held me up for about five months (granted, I've been busy with various personal projects, work, and wasting time online). Whatever. Gibson is one of my all-time favorite writers, I worship the keys he types on (be they computer or typewriter); but reading "Count Zero" is like trying to run through knee-high mu ...more
Kara Babcock
William Gibson can write. I keep exploring this in different ways and different words as I read through Gibson’s oeuvre, but in the end it comes down to two appropriately alliterative words: William Gibson has voice and vision. He has a way with language that not every writer, even really good ones, ever manages to master. He knows how to use and manipulate words and phrases to create cultures. With this talent, he creates novels that conjure up pocket universes of our future.

Count Zero is much
Oleksandr Zholud
This is the second volume of Sprawl trilogy. It was nominated for Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards. I read as a part of the Sprawl chalenge in Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group.

It is not a direct sequel, more a book set in the same world. The prose is still very dense and without clear ‘preparations’ before each big plot turn/reveal, which makes it a very bad book for audio – too often you have to look back to understand what’s going on.

The story starts with blowing up of a mercenary, Turner.
Nate D
My problem with a lot of genre fiction is that when not wholly unimaginative, it is often too restrained and quasi-literary to take full advantage of the opportunities open to it. Not so here. Gibson shows a rare willingness to plunge as far into his crazed techno-mythology as I could reasonably hope. Haitian gods manifesting (or seeming to manifest) in lost corners of the internet, megacorporations more powerful than nations which have all but ceased to exist, rewired brains and bodies, and pil ...more
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
With each review I write, I become increasingly daunted by a sense of infinite possibility. I have an entire book, this Count Zero, to write about – what in the world should I focus on? The question in turn gives rise to an equally haunting sense of relativism. Is this book good? Sure. Is this book bad? Sure. With few exceptions, a good book is not infallibly so nor a bad book insurmountably so. Rather, the goodness or badness is a choice I, the reader, must make.

Yet when I make that choice – to
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013

3 Stars

Well, just like with Neurmonancer, William Gibson’s amazing command of the English language, coupled with his incredible writing style was not enough for me to love Count Zero. It is very well written, fast paced, filled with cool sci-fi action scenes and gadgetry, and not overly long in length.

The problem with this book is that I really never cared one bit about any of the characters in this book, or in book one for that matter. As a result, all the world building, science, and cool gadg
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: lost-reviews, sci-fi
This review was written in the late nineties (for my eyes only), and it was buried in amongst my things until recently when I uncovered the journal in which it was written. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets may indicate some additional information for the sake of readability or some sort of commentary from now). This is one of my lost reviews.

"She's gone and the present is trivia." That line from Memento scrawled in my handwriting at the back of Co
Salman Mehedy Titas
Count Zero is the sequel to Neuromancer in the sense that Neuromancer was the sequel to Burning Chrome. It takes place seven years after the events of Neuromancer. The book was written two years after the publication of its prequel. If you're thinking that Gibson decided to take pity on his readers, you're wrong. Count Zero makes Neuromancer seem like an easy book to read.

Turner, a mercenary, who had been severely injured, had his body reconstructed. He is allowed him a period of time to rest, b
This is my second read of Count Zero, the first read shortly after publishing as a paperback.

I read it again, and like Neuromancer, what I thought I read back then (1986/87), and what I re-read was two different things. I will be reading Mona Lisa Overdrive next, and hope that my recall of what I read in that book more lines up with my next reread.

Three different main stories that end up being threaded into a grand finale. There is the story of Bobby (Count Zero). This reading, I realized that C
Edward  Goetz
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding sequel to Neuromancer. The Sprawl is one of the great mythologies in literature. I wish I had read Gibson as a teenager.
Executive Summary: A fast-paced thriller from the master of cyberpunk.

Full Review
I've had this book and Mona Lisa Overdrive sitting unread on my shelves for far too long. I kept finding other books to grab my attention.

I finally got around to reading this, and I wish I had sooner. I wanted something short and fun and this fit the bill nicely.

The book opens with Turner, a mercenary for hire, who specializes in aggressive corporate recruiting, of a sort. His job involves extracting high value
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not the blinding, genre-defining supernova of Neuromancer -- that pretty much only happens once per author or once per series -- but a stronger book in pretty much every way that matters, and proof positive (not needed now, certainly, but probably much more welcome back in the heady days of the late 1980s) that Gibson was not a one-hit wonder.

Events pick up about seven years after the close of Neuromancer, with an entirely new cast of characters (although there are a few Neuromancer cameos and/o
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it

“Are you - are you sad?"
- No.
"But your - your songs are sad."
- My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.”

As one who has watched The Matrix trilogy countless times, and considers it my favorite, and has novelized the piece frame by frame, I'm ecstatic to know the movie belongs in an entire mainstream sub-genre of science fiction. Unfortunately, I will admit, telling the younger generation about cyberpun
Daniel Polansky
He’s not really trying on the plot, and probably you could shave off say…20-30% of the fake proper nouns and you’d maintain the same effect, but it’s weird and original and Gibson warrants his spot. That said, it’s pretty damn similar to Neuromancer which likewise does not include plot as a great strength but is cleaner and more coherent. Will I Keep It: Uhhhh…yeah, I will, for the moment, but I think I probably the day will come when I feel like I need to own one William Gibson book and when it ...more
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say that teachers steadily develop during their first ten years. After that, some teachers continue to grow and others plateau. Sometimes I get the feeling that there's a similar arc of development for authors, one that means authors become less interesting as they get older.

I first noticed this back in my university days, when I read quite a bit of John Steinbeck. I really liked the earlier works that I read, but as I began to read his later works, I found that something was missing. Over
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is the middle book of the Sprawl Trilogy by Gibson (in between Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive), and my absolute favorite. The other two are largely action-based, and this one had a lot of that but also a lot of beautiful descriptions, somewhat mystically-oriented plotlines, and it really drew me in, probably because I'm no stranger to cyberspace myself. I really loved the ending, so much that I re-read it twice before moving on.

"Bobby had been trying to chart a way out of this landscap
Chaunceton Bird
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-hi-fi
Plenty of great cyberpunk going on here, with cinematic writing and a classically complex Gibson plot.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Add Page Number 2 9 Mar 16, 2021 09:31PM  
Goodreads Librari...: wrong format: listed as Spanish kindle but is ebook 2 88 Jan 26, 2021 12:14PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correction 5 23 Sep 19, 2019 02:33AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please add cover 2 18 Oct 18, 2018 12:11AM  
Favorite Characters? 3 9 Jun 25, 2018 09:57PM  
The final dialogue exchange...(spoilers) 7 108 Jun 14, 2017 05:59PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Sprawl (3 books)
  • Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3)

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“Are you - are you sad?"
- No.
"But your - your songs are sad."
- My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.”
More quotes…