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Zero History

(Blue Ant #3)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  13,764 ratings  ·  1,110 reviews
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 ad
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Putnam Adult (first published 2010)
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Jason Mahoney "Need" to? No, probably not. But there is a payoff or two if you do. I recommend this entire series, highly.…more"Need" to? No, probably not. But there is a payoff or two if you do. I recommend this entire series, highly.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  13,764 ratings  ·  1,110 reviews

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May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Paul E. Morph
Well, here I am at the end of the Blue Ant trilogy and I'm left feeling about the same as I did throughout the entire thing. The books are undeniably intelligently written but that's about all they are, in my opinion.

At no point did Gibson make me care about the characters or their activities. Their goals were uninteresting, the world they inhabited was uninteresting and I just couldn't raise my interest level above a resounding 'meh'.

Perhaps it's just my disinterest in a lot of the themes explo
Angie Boyter
Jun 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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
Max Renn
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert J. Sullivan
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it

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.

'Brand vision transmission' he said.
'Yes?' She raised an eyebrow.
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Max Renn
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
RJ from the LBC
Sep 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Alan Annand
Jan 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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 ...more
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-library
The second best novel about jeans that I've ever read. ...more
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Ann Littlewood
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Althea Ann
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, london
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
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Did you know that William Gibson wrote a Thriller about fashion? Now you do. (Also he was, once again, prescient about quiet some of the trends, including the whole minimalism & timeless movement - Everlane & Co. anyone?)
Not his best work, but it has it's moments and it was a good one to keep my brain off what is happening around me in the world.
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2010
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Zero History 3 16 Sep 17, 2015 03:14PM  
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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

Blue Ant (3 books)
  • Pattern Recognition (Blue Ant, #1)
  • Spook Country (Blue Ant, #2)

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