Ludo's Reviews > Zero History

Zero History by William Gibson
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's review
Mar 07, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in January, 2011

I first read 'Neuromancer' some 20+ years before and I was hooked. This was what new and exiting literature should be. The whole first wave of cyberpunk novels was a blast but Gibson was the best with his dark dystopian view of the world dominated by large conglomerates. I have read all his subsequent books and with each book he got further away form cyberpunk, from science fiction. Especially the last three books (the excellent 'pattern recognition', the exciting 'Spook country' and now the somewhat disappointing 'Zero History') are practically mainstream. But with the added Gibson weirdness and cutting edge concepts.

There are always some really thought provoking things going on. Once again this book has as a theme the impact and culture-shaping power of new ideas. This time it's about designer jeans (definitely NOT a mass product) and the heroine's quest for the designer and her simultaneous efforts in getting away from her employer: Bigend, an enigmatic character with a peculiar sartorial style. (He's from Belgium, by the way!)

There are numerous things happening, protagonists are rendered in 3D and as always Gibson has his finger on the pulse of contemporary society like no one else has. Combine this with his strict, concise and powerful style and you are in for some fun. The only let down is the sentiment that he could have chosen another more cutting edge topic as the vehicle for his ideas. He should have been more Gibson than Gibson...that is why we read him...also: why oh why does he shy away from the SF tropes...he was a master in it.

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