ZERO HISTORY by William Gibson

Book Quote:

“Above him, near the room’s high ceiling, illuminated by the large Italian floor lamp with its silver umbrella, the matt-black manta ray was turning slow forward somersaults, almost silently, the only sound the soft crinkling of its helium-filled membrane. He wasn’t watching it. Instead he was focused on the screen of the iPhone, watching the feed from the ray’s camera as it rolled…It was hypnotic, and all the more so because he was causing the roll, maintaining it, executing it each time, with the same sequence of thumb movements on the phone’s horizontal screen.”

Book Review:

Review by Bill Brody  AUG 21, 2011)

 Zero History by William Gibson continues his critique of contemporary civilization through a window of technology that renders the everyday into science fiction.

We follow a complex and sophisticated plot revolving about shadowy, powerful and unscrupulous figures that use the more sympathetic protagonists to further their financial and political ends. Think something like a James Bond story told by a cyberpunk sophisticate. There is adventure aplenty and lots of action. Cutting edge technologies and their implications further the action that is intense and unrelenting.

Hubertus Bigend, the Belgian entrepreneur, shadow figure par excellence who sports a Klein Blue suit (after the artist, Yves Klein who famously had nude women covered with his signature color of blue paint writhe about on bare canvas, painting it with their naked selves) entices ex-rocker, Hollis, and Milgrim, recovering addict, to find the designer behind Gabriel Hounds, a line of clothing that appears to echo and perhaps anticipate U.S. military design. Bigend wants to be in the recession-proof business of designing U.S. military clothing. Bigend’s enterprise is under attack by an American competitor.

In the course of the story, Hollis and her feisty rocker friend Heidi call on Hollis’ old boyfriend, Garreth, a performance artist who jumps from extremely high buildings wearing what is essentially a flying squirrel suit, for some high tech action to save the day. Garreth is able to call upon some really shadowy and powerful friends. We enjoy a very active and twisting ride featuring, among other novelties, a flying manta ray made of mylar that is controlled by an iPhone and sports a surveillance camera and a taser.

Gibson’s focus on fashion, taste, marketing and manipulation by those privy to the newest of the new and savvy to the implications of cyber-technology is so clearly exact as to appear prescient. His work only appears to be science fiction to those of us who are out of touch with the new. If you are up to date or think you are up to date, just blink your eyes and you are as out of touch as the rest of us. To remedy this situation, read Gibson, master of cyberpunk. He is a must-read for anyone who hopes to have a clue as to where the contemporary world is headed.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-0from 97 readers
PUBLISHER: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (August 2, 2011)
REVIEWER: Bill Brody
AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK? YES! Start Reading Now!
AUTHOR WEBSITE: William Gibson
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
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August 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Reading Guide, Scifi

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