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Zero History [Kindle Edition]

William Gibson
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Hollis Henry is broke.

Milgrim is owned.

Garreth can’t be bought.

 

And they all have something that global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend needs/wants, as he finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift, after a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy they can out-Bigend Bigend himself.




Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Another smartly scouted roadmap of alternate routes through today's global culture, applauded the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the other critics agreed. Gibson leads readers on a wild adventure that encompasses fashion, the military-industrial complex, viral marketing, behavioral anthropology, addiction, and even base jumping, weaving all of these distinctive threads into a satisfyingly cohesive whole. A couple reviewers cited some implausible plot twists and exaggerated characters, but most praised Gibson's increased focus on his characters, his razor-sharp prose, and his incisive observations on modern culture. Hailed as the funniest and lightest of Gibson's books to date, Zero History stands well alone, but readers already familiar with the series' previous titles will find this last installment much more rewarding.

From Booklist

After a gig investigating “locative art” for the “overly wealthy and dangerously curious” Hubertus Bigend, founder of the trend-forecasting firm Blue Ant (Spook Country, 2007), Hollis Henry finds herself once again under Bigend's employ. This time she is hired to discover the identity of the designer of a secret brand of clothing called Gabriel Hounds, whom Bigend hopes to enlist in his bid to get into the design, contracting, and manufacture of U.S. military clothing (and its inevitable spin-off into the mainstream consumer market). Military contracting, according to Bigend, is essentially recession proof. Meanwhile, the translator and cryptologist Milgrim (also returning from Spook Country), a former Ativan addict (now in recovery on Bigend's dime) with “zero history” (being off the grid, he has no credit or address history), is asked to assist Hollis in her investigation. What begins as a seemingly innocent apparel-related project takes on more sinister overtones when the two are followed from London to Paris by a competitor with shady dealings in the arms trade and a personal ax to grind with Milgrim. Gibson, who made a name with Neuromancer (1984) and other speculative takes on new technologies, returns to his familiar concerns with hacker culture, surveillance, paranoia, and viral marketing, with occasional digressions into the semiotics of fashion and celebrity and references to cosplay, base jumping, and the Festo AirPenguin (look it up). --Ben Segedin

Product Details

  • File Size: 675 KB
  • Print Length: 419 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425240770
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YL4AGC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,580 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak conclusion to the Bigend trilogy January 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover
I have been reading William Gibson for many years and read and enjoyed Pattern Recognition and Spook Country. I was looking forward to Zero History but have come away from it quite disappointed and with the feeling that Gibson missed a real opportunity with this novel. One of the great things about Pattern Recognition was how it capture the stunned, dispirited, paranoid zeitgeist of the world post-911. Zero History had the opportunity to do the same for the post-economic crash world. Instead it focuses exclusively on the meanderings of a few wealthy and privileged hipsters who wander around London and Paris talking on their iPhones. I found the Apple fetishism to really detract from the credibility of these characters as being on the cutting edge of cool, outside the ebb and flow of the normal trends followed by boring people like me. If these characters are going to fetishize some piece of technology couldn't it have been something cooler than an iPhone? I have an iPhone for Pete's sake.

The other big disappointment of this book was the very lazy plotting. The characters are incredibly passive with almost all the action occurring around them while they merely react. Because of this no one does anything to move the plot forward; developments just drop into their laps, primarily due to unlikely coincidences. And therein lies my biggest complaint. Many writers use coincidence to propel a narrative. But in Zero History coincidence is the only driver of the plot. The primary action (if you can call it that) is around Hollis and Milgrim's search for a super-secretive fashion designer.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No ideas - just descriptions February 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I've been an avid Gibson fan for years, but this novel was very disappointing. I want the old Gibson back - the Gibson who was a brilliant observer of life and culture and made me see things in ways I had not. In this book Gibson follows the path of science fiction hacks who think that description is everything and who add page after page of descriptive fill to their books. I do not care what the brass shower is like in the upscale London club and don't want to read a page of description of it. I do not care about the tea bar in Paris with the two halogen lights shining on a wall of narrow, thin, white shelves with one tea product in each depression and that they don't serve croissants but do serve mini Madelleins (in threes: one chocolate, one almond and one sugar coated). I don't care, I Don't Care, I DON"T CARE!

This book isn't a series of observations about society and how we are effected by it in subtle ways, but a series of detailed descriptions of roads, hotel bathrooms, tea shops, desert plates, armored cars and other uninteresting fill. Instead of a book of ideas, ideas, ideas, Gibson has written a book of descriptions, descriptions, descriptions.
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110 of 135 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zero Gravitas October 21, 2010
Format:Hardcover
With "Zero History", you get the feeling that William Gibson, finding the world has finally caught up with his Marshall McLuhan-meets-Timothy Leary vision of the future, has decided to escape instead into the world of fantasy.

This accentuates a trend in Mr Gibson's recent novels. Starting with 2003's "Pattern Recognition", the settings of his books have pulled closer and closer to the contemporary world, even as his storylines have pushed further into la-la land. You almost wonder if he's being deliberately perverse. How else to explain "Zero History's" bizarre concoction of macho military fashion designers, ninja rock drummers, Japanese tailors and base-jumping super-spies? And that Mission Impossible-as-done-by-the-A Team ending? Please dear God, let that be a joke.

Don't get me wrong, Mr Gibson remains one of the most effortlessly stylish and readable authors out there. It's his choice of subject matter. I feel like I'm watching Michelangelo doing potato painting.

Let me explain.

"Zero History" completes the trilogy begun with "Pattern Recognition" and continued in 2007's "Spook Country", though it is much more closely tied to the latter. Freelance journalist Hollis Henry returns, again in the employ of insatiably curious marketing bigwig Hubertus Bigend. So is Milgrim, the benzo-addicted translator from "Spook Country", now straight thanks to Bigend's largesse and a stint at a clinic in Switzerland.

Also making a reappearance is the style of "Spook Country", which ratcheted down the flowery language in favor of bare-bones structures, non-linear conversations and off-beat settings. When it works, and it usually does, the words glide effortlessly, supple as old-fashioned denim.
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192 of 241 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's at stake here? November 10, 2010
By Viking
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
ZERO GRAVITAS: The Play

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 know.....it's true....(pouts)"

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

Hollis: "I'm being followed...or maybe not...oooo weird wallpaper......why hasn't my boyfriend called?"

Milgrim: "...iPhone..."

Bigend: "Peel me a grape!...here's $10,0000!...I need you in Ulan Bator at 25:00 hours!...Something may or may not occur!"

Milgrim: "Who?......what?....will there be snacks?"

Hollis: "He's talking to me.....well, will there?......I mean, okay...(pouts)"

Fiona: "You may be under surveillance....motorcycles are cool"

Garreth: "I know a very interesting rich guy....No, you don't get to meet him.....oh, and I watched 2 seasons of The Unit"

Evil Spec Ops Villain (off screen): "I killed an entire Afghani village with a dead parrot...now I steal fashion designs and forgot everything I ever learned in sniper school"

Secret Clothing Designer: "I am too cool, to...you know...like, sell OUT?..you know....oh my god..."

Everyone: "Aren't we PRECIOUS!!!.....Hugs all around!"

FIN

PS: Huge William Gibson fan, just starting to wonder a bit ; )
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic style, observations
Let me prefix this by saying, I'm not familiar with the earlier parts of the trilogy,

Fantastic style, observations, writing talent. Read more
Published 12 days ago by M. E. Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story, Powerful Writing
I've been reading William Gibson since "Neuromancer" came out. Every time I pick up a new Gibson book, I am jolted by his writing style. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael Glaviano
2.0 out of 5 stars Zero Story
The structure of any novel is based on the feature of central characters and the idea that the central character(s) face terrible trouble. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tom Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally Good Book
Another fantastic book by an exceptional author.
Published 1 month ago by Dr. Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend rereading the prequel (Snoop Country) before starting this...
Not as gritty as earlier works. I recommend rereading the prequel (Spook Country) before starting this book as it has the usual Gibson interweaving of characters and whatnot as his... Read more
Published 2 months ago by kahnj57
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating conclusion to a fascinating trilogy
The ideas in this trilogy are intriguing, and while he explores similar ideas to his cyberpunk novels, he has taken this is a strong new direction. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laura J MacCary
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than ever
Awesome inspirational piece that puts Bigend's schemes in perspective
Published 2 months ago by Christian Givskov
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Excellent book. William Gibson still has it!
Published 3 months ago by Thomas Stearns
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Conclusion
Gibson returns to the world of cool hunting with Zero History, the final installment of what is being loosely called the Bigend Trilogy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by K.A.D.
4.0 out of 5 stars fun characters, fun scene
I enjoyed reading about each of the characters. The conflict and climax felt unnecessary and bolted on. The whole story with the 'shirt' seemed way overkill for the situation.
Published 4 months ago by DALE R
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More About the Author

William Gibson was born in the United States in 1948. In 1972 he moved to Vancouver, Canada, after four years spent in Toronto. He is married with two children.

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