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Count Zero Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1987
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Turner, 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: Maas-Neotek's chief of R&D is defecting. Turner is the one assigned to get him out intact, along with the biochip he's perfected. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties--some of whom aren't remotely human.
Bobby Newmark is entirely human: a rustbelt data-hustler totally unprepared for what comes his way when the defection triggers war in cyberspace. With voodoo on the Net and a price on his head, Newmark thinks he's only trying to get out alive. A stylish, streetsmart, frighteningly probable parable of the future and sequel to Neuromancer
From Publishers Weekly
Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer, was greeted with hosannas and showered with awards. This second book, set in the same universe, again offers a faddish, glitzy surface not unlike that of Miami Vice. Gibson's central image is the shadow boxes constructed by the artist Joseph Cornell, collections of seemingly unrelated objects whose juxtaposition creates a new impression. In the same fashion, the novel has three protagonists, each of whom is putting together jigsaw clues in pursuit of his separate goal. The corporate headhunter, the art dealer and the computer hacker all find themselves being manipulatedjust as the author contrives to have their paths converge. This book is less appealing and less verbally skillful than Gibson's first novel, dense and dour as that was, but readers who liked that one will want to see this as well.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is the second of the Sprawl trilogy with Neuromancer preceding Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive coming after. You don't have to read Neuromancer first, but it definitely helps set the stage for the type of world that Gibson immerses you in. Very much looking forward to reading Mona Lisa Overdrive next.
Also, if you're deciding between this and Neal Stephenson (Snowcrash) I'd highly recommend the Sprawl trilogy instead.
Be warned: you will spend no time following a netrunner through cyberspace. Instead, you will follow a suave mercenary in a high-stakes chase, you will follow Jersey punk through the Sprawl underworld, and an art-dealer into Orbit on a quest to solve a mystery. Yes, awesome. Loved every minute. Read it now.
My one complaint is this, Gibson makes many assumptions about your knowledge of his universe. For example the first sentence of the book is "They set a Slamhound on Turner's trail in New Delhi , slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair." (1) Literally within 5 words of the start of the book I have to do a web search to learn a new (to me) piece of Gibson's jargon, and that is not the only use of his jargon in the first sentence. Gibson assumes the reader knows what a slamhound is and what "Slotted" means in this context.
If you read the sprawl trilogy I recommend you read it in order as one long piece. The story is very well done and if you can get an understanding of the jargon it makes a good read.
1. Gibson, William (1987-04-01). Count Zero (Kindle Locations 36-37). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.