Count Zero (Sprawl, #2)
A 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: to get a defecting chief of R&D—and the biochip he’s perfected—out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties—some of whom aren’t remotely human...

Count Zero (Sprawl, #2) Details

TitleCount Zero (Sprawl, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 7th, 2006
PublisherAce Books
ISBN-139780441013678
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Cyberpunk, Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy, Novels, Dystopia, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Literature, American

Count Zero (Sprawl, #2) Review

  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    The coolest thing about reading Gibson is jacking in to his urbane and hip way of descriptive narration.William Gibson, as prophet of cyber punk and also as the herald of his later Blue Ant works, returns to The Sprawl for a continuation of the setting he began in his masterwork, Neuromancer.But like many of his books, this sequel is only that in regard to a return to the original setting, Count Zero works as a stand alone. The Sprawl, the megalopolis formed by the Eastern United States, from Bo The coolest thing about reading Gibson is jacking in to his urbane and hip way of descriptive narration.William Gibson, as prophet of cyber punk and also as the herald of his later Blue Ant works, returns to The Sprawl for a continuation of the setting he began in his masterwork, Neuromancer.But like many of his books, this sequel is only that in regard to a return to the original setting, Count Zero works as a stand alone. The Sprawl, the megalopolis formed by the Eastern United States, from Boston to Atlanta, is his futuristic, over population setting where artificial intelligence spooks the Matrix, where cowboy hackers can jack into cyberspace and where corporate mercenaries compete in clandestine adventures.Gibson also demonstrates his remarkable skill at depicting corporate espionage amidst an anarcho-capitalistic world dominated by multi-national corporations. Count Zero also explores the results of unrestrained individual wealth in a global economy and wealth as an analog for a new aristocracy as corporations melded into capitalistic clans. The super rich are not even human, so far removed from ordinary circumstances and from the constraints of mortality.Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy (completed in 1988 with Mona Lisa Overdrive) bridges the cyberpunk genre from the release of Bladerunner to the beginning of The Matrix films and is the cornerstone of this sub-genre.
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  • Darwin8u
    January 1, 1970
    “it involved the idea that people who were genuinely dangerous might not need to exhibit the fact at all, and that the ability to conceal a threat made them even more dangerous.” ― William Gibson, Count Zero I haven't read Sprawl # 3 (Mona Lisa Overdrive), but after reading Neuromancer and now 'Count Zero', I think I will start referring to the Sprawl trilogy as the Sprawl Dialectic. 'Neuromancer' = Thesis. 'Count Zero' = Antithesis, so I guess I have to wait to see if 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' = Sy “it involved the idea that people who were genuinely dangerous might not need to exhibit the fact at all, and that the ability to conceal a threat made them even more dangerous.” ― William Gibson, Count Zero I haven't read Sprawl # 3 (Mona Lisa Overdrive), but after reading Neuromancer and now 'Count Zero', I think I will start referring to the Sprawl trilogy as the Sprawl Dialectic. 'Neuromancer' = Thesis. 'Count Zero' = Antithesis, so I guess I have to wait to see if 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' = Synthesis. Gibson's warnings about cyberspace, the matrix, electronic hallucinations, corporate excess, etc., in 'Neuromancer' served only to codify/name the culture/future he was warning about. Instead of serving as a warning, Gibson ended up vibrating, slicking, sexing a whole webby nest of proto-cyberbabies into a real cyberpunk counter-culture. 'Count Zero' appears to be him trying again, but using a different tact. He spends less time with the easy, 'fun', matrix-fueled side of the future and instead spends more time examining the people, the fragments and residue of a dystopian future where corporations have become like people and computers and AI have become like gods.Gibson trademarks, however, are still swarming all over 'Count Zero'. It is hard to read a page without a sentence where Gibson waxes poetic about an article of clothing, a fabric type, a piece of art, or a stylized way of wearing one's hair. But still, 'Count Zero' appears to be Gibson saying, yeah, that 'Neuromancer' book you are all so turned on about is fine, but it was an adolescent idea. Let me tell you the story again, but from another way, so you can understand that it isn't sexy, it isn't beautiful, it isn't glorious. The future is dangerous, manipulative, and has the potential to completely change our relationships with with each other, with art, with our history and even with our future. Let's just slow it down a bit and think. I'm not sure if he changed the velocity of 'Neuromancer' or changed any minds, and I'm not sure 'Count Zero' was nearly as good a book (Not a 'Godfather, Part II'), but I'm glad he wrote it and it is interesting as a reader to see Gibson gain some real confidence in his art and his message.
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  • Chris Van Dyke
    January 1, 1970
    I would perhaps complain that the ending was a bit to deus ex machina for my taste, but then the entire book is wound around the theme of god being in the machine. From the vodou loa who seemingly possess various characters and steer the entire plot; to the mad European trillionare who has reached near immortality through preservation vats and virtual reality; to the insane former net cowboy who now believes he has found god in the random yet deeply moving works of art created by long abandoned I would perhaps complain that the ending was a bit to deus ex machina for my taste, but then the entire book is wound around the theme of god being in the machine. From the vodou loa who seemingly possess various characters and steer the entire plot; to the mad European trillionare who has reached near immortality through preservation vats and virtual reality; to the insane former net cowboy who now believes he has found god in the random yet deeply moving works of art created by long abandoned industrial robot; everything in Count Zero is about god, machines, and that perhaps the line between the two is not so clear.Then again, Neuromancer was largely about sentient AI, and how if computers and the net become omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, that is pretty much the definition of God. I personally enjoyed Neuromancer a bit more, simply because I like the question of god to remain fuzzy, for the factor of faith to blur the interpretation of what occurs -- both see the same bolt of lightening, but to the atheist the lightening is just a meteorological, to the believer, it is a sign from above. In Count Zero the loas seem to actually haunt the net and actually seem to sculpt the events in the book. It could be that they are merely highly advanced AI manifesting as African gods, but Gibson seems to lean a bit more towards the divine here.That said, Gibson is perhaps one of the best stylists writing sci-fi. I love the genre, but read less of it than I might like simply because the prose in most sci-fi is mediocre, if not down-right bad. There is this generic, functional "sci-fi voice" that the majority of "good" SF writers fall into, where the sentences and paragraphs are merely scaffolds to prop up their ideas: whatever intriguing plot they've devises, some moral or spiritual crisis explored through technology or alien species. As long as the ideas are good enough, I don't usually mind, and that's what SF tends to be about, both for the authors and their audience -- ideas. It doesn't matter that Canticle for Lebowitz, Anvil of Stars, or I, Robot all sound about the same, because the ideas are fascinating and hold you spell-bound.Gibson, on the other hand, has ideas that grab you and prose can make you pause and re-read a sentence. He can craft brilliant, even quotable lines, and shift his style to near stream-of-consciousness to show the mind-blowing effects of hitting black ice, being drugged, or having one's memory artificially restored. He throws around lingo and slang just to the edge of being pretentious without (usually) falling over, with the effect of having a living, breathing world whose dirt and grime are familiar enough to make it immediate and real, yet just alien enough to be the exotic future. Well, on to Mona Lisa Overdrive, then I can review the entire Sprawl Trilogy.
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  • Clouds
    January 1, 1970
    Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go...A quick look at the numbers...Why is it that Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go...A quick look at the numbers...Why is it that Neuromancer , the first book in Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, has 137,000 ratings on Goodreads - but Count Zero , the second book, has just 22,000 - and the third book, Mona Lisa Overdrive , just 17,000?That's roughly 16% of Neuromancer readers following on to the next book and just 12% making it to the end of the series.You have to ask - why the big drop-off?The series scores reasonably well - between 3.8/3.9 - so it's not as if everyone is reading Neuromancer and saying "that was horrible, no more, please!" - although, I'll admit it does spark a greater love/hate split than most books. From what investigations I've had time to do, the more common attitude seems to be along the lines of "Wow. That was quite something. I'm glad I've read it, but I don't need to read any more. Job done."A thought on character... Count Zero isn't a direct sequel - it doesn't pick-up the same characters - but it's set in the same world, orbiting the same scene, with some common threads - but each stands alone perfectly well. For most series it's the characters which act as the hook, pulling you on. You want to read the next instalment to find out how they fare in their next adventure. Not the case here. Which, again, explains some of that drop-off rate. But even if Gibson had rejoined Case and co, I don't think everyone would have read on because character empathy is not his strong suit. Gibson is a stylist; a poetic, lyrical, idiosyncratic and wildly imaginative dreamer. He sketches out his anti-heroes with the minimum amount of effective brush-strokes, and animates his stories with a kinetic energy and effervescence that I find enthralling.Why not so good?Everything I love about Neuromancer is still present in Count Zero - but the story type isn't quite as suited to highlighting those strengths. Neuromancer is a heist story - and I have a special fondness for those. Heist's make criminals likeable, so they're a common lens for antihero crime tales - especially in cinema. For a classic heist tale, you collect your gang of crooks together, each bringing their own specialist skills, and set them a seemingly impossible job, which can only by overcome through careful co-operation and the whole becoming greater than the sum of the parts. Exact same formula as the classic 'gang on a quest' fantasy - and it works for Neuromancer . Count Zero is almost a portmanteau. Several unrelated characters, each with their own smaller adventure, are tied together by the ending and some thematic resonance. While I was reading it, I kept thinking that it actually made an easier introduction to Gibson's Sprawl than Neuromancer did. The characters are mostly 'innocents' - a newbie hacker, a betrayed art dealer, a genius daughter on the run... they're all being introduced to the grimey world of corporate war, cybercrime, and god-like ghosts in the machines getting cosy with the mob. But the portmanteau is a more artsy format, and coupled with Gibson's approach, for me, it ends-up a little too dilute. No one thread packs enough of a punch to deliver the killer blow, and the resonance between the threads isn't strong enough to compensate. But still pretty damn good?Hell yeah! My personal highlight was the mash-up of fragmented AI personae with voodoo loa (such as Baron Samedi)! Made me wonder how much influence Simmons drew from Gibson. I love the idea of "god-like" technological entities interpreting themselves as spiritual intermediaries with God. It's a concept with far greater scope than Gibson has chance to explore here.I have mixed feelings about the prominence of the corporate mercenary, Turner. He's the main driving force behind the plot action, but within his thread it's the scientist's daughter he rescues, Angie, who really keys into the common themes. Sadly she's massively overshadowed by Turner, which is part of the dissonance amongst the threads I alluded to earlier. But on the plus side, Turner is a very cool character in his own right and the primary inspiration (I would assume) behind Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovac books. So - swings and roundabouts, eh?No awards?Sadly not. Count Zero went up against Card's Speaker for the Dead (the sequel to Ender's Game ) and it's hard to argue against that one. Speaker for the Dead is superb (I gave it 5 stars, hands-down) and it took both the Hugo and Nebula awards away from Count Zero .Carry on?Well, I clicked "buy, buy now!" for book 3 in the series, Mona Lisa Overdrive within about thirty seconds of finishing the book... so I think you can safely say I'm keen for the next instalment! But I'm pretty disciplined with my reading lists these days so I'll force myself to wait at last a month or two... but yeah... I'm definitely looking forward to it.After this I read: A Feast for Crows
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  • Carmen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a "sequel" to Neuromancer. I use the term loosely.There's really 3 stories here that all tie together at the end.Marly, an art specialist, her world wracked by scandal, is a approached by an incredibly rich man and offered obscene amounts of money to track the origins of some art pieces he's interested in. But what has she really gotten herself into?Turner is a badass mercenary who does his job ruthlessly and efficiently. Now he's been hired by a man named Mitchell. But when it all goes This is a "sequel" to Neuromancer. I use the term loosely.There's really 3 stories here that all tie together at the end.Marly, an art specialist, her world wracked by scandal, is a approached by an incredibly rich man and offered obscene amounts of money to track the origins of some art pieces he's interested in. But what has she really gotten herself into?Turner is a badass mercenary who does his job ruthlessly and efficiently. Now he's been hired by a man named Mitchell. But when it all goes south, Turner finds himself as the protector of Mitchell's daughter. And there's something wrong with her...Young Bobby Newmark desperately wants to be known as Count Zero, a cowboy hacker. But on his very first run he encounters some bad ice that nearly kills him. But he's saved by a skinny girl that he glimpses in the matrix. Later he finds out that she's called The Virgin and is worshipped for her many miracles. But no one knows who or what she is......This book was amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it. Gibson has a great way of combining hard cyperpunk data with real and human stories. His writing is beautiful.I didn't think this was as good as Neuromancer, but it was still good.Another thing I love about Gibson is even though his world is grimy and grim, he always weaves a good bit of happiness and joy into his works. His endings never leave me feeling like life is meaningless. A lot of sci-fi is very sad and dismal - but not so with Gibson. His world certainly isn't bright or shiny, but it does retain it's basic human goodness.
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  • Kat Hooper
    January 1, 1970
    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature."They plot with men, my other selves, and men imagine they are gods."Several years have passed since Molly and Case freed the AI who calls himself Neuromancer. Neuromancer’s been busy and now his plots have widened to involve several people whom we meet in Count Zero:Turner is a recently reconstructed mercenary who’s been hired by the Hosaka Corporation to extract Christopher Mitchell and his daughter Angie from Mitchell’s job at Maas Biolabs. Mitchell is ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature."They plot with men, my other selves, and men imagine they are gods."Several years have passed since Molly and Case freed the AI who calls himself Neuromancer. Neuromancer’s been busy and now his plots have widened to involve several people whom we meet in Count Zero:Turner is a recently reconstructed mercenary who’s been hired by the Hosaka Corporation to extract Christopher Mitchell and his daughter Angie from Mitchell’s job at Maas Biolabs. Mitchell is the creator of the world’s first biochip, and he’s secretly agreed to move to Hosaka. Extracting an indentured research scientist is a deadly game, but Turner is one of the best.Bobby “Count Zero” Newmark, who wants to be a console cowboy, has just pulled a Wilson (that means he majorly screwed up) on his first attempt at running an unknown icebreaker. He nearly died in the matrix but was saved by a girl he’d never seen before. Now he’s freaked out, on the run, and buildings are exploding behind him as he’s being hunted by a mysterious helicopter with a rocket launcher.Marly Krushkova lost her art gallery after her boyfriend tried to sell a forgery. Now she’s been hired by Joseph Virek, the world’s richest man, to find the artist who’s creating and selling some strange shadowboxes. These expensive and enigmatic objets d'art seem like collections of random pieces of junk, but they speak to Marly. Using her intuition, and Joseph Virek’s money, she hopes to find the unknown artist.Other memorable characters are the voodoo priests and priestesses, The Finn, Tally Isham the Sense/Net celebrity, the prophet Wigan Ludgate who thinks God lives in the matrix, a bar owner named Jammer, and a whole mob of Gothicks and Kasuals. All of their stories eventually collide as we discover who’s haunting cyberspace.Count Zero is the first sequel to William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer. If you haven’t read Neuromancer yet, you’ll probably be lost because Gibson just drops you into his world without instructions, explanations, or technical support. Even though you think you’ve been to his world before (it’s Earth after all), you haven’t, and Gibson never tells us what happened to make it unrecognizable. It appears that large biotech companies are in control (or maybe I should say they’re out of control) and there are no authorities to check their ruthless behaviors. What happened to the U.S. government? Why are so many cities ruined and abandoned? What is “the war” that people keep referring to? Where is the middle class? There are still rich people who buy art, wear stylish clothes, and set trends for the masses, but many of those who try to keep up are illiterate, addicted, and without electricity and clean water. They escape their lives with designer drugs and by plugging into cheap simstim fantasies.It’s partly these questions, which are never answered, that make Neuromancer’s sequel work so well. Many sequels feel pallid because the world and the characters are no longer new and exciting, but Gibson avoids sequel stagnancy by creating a gaudy and grueling world that we feel like we should understand, and making us desperate for more information (but rarely delivering it).It also helps that in each book of the Sprawl trilogy, we have new characters to get to know. And you have to admire Gibson’s characters. Not as people, perhaps, but as characters. For example, Bobby (Count Zero) is a total loser. He’s like that obnoxious kid in high school who was always trying so hard to make people like him. Gibson gets this just right, never explaining Bobby to us, but letting us gradually figure him out just by listening to him talk or by seeing things from his perspective. This is carefully and cleverly done for every character.The plot of Count Zero is fascinating, unique, and unpredictable as Gibson finally brings together all of these weird and colorful events and characters. There are some answers in the end, and the story's connection to Neuromancer is eventually made clear. But there are many questions left to answer, so after you finish Count Zero, you’ll want to have Mona Lisa Overdrive, the concluding novel of the Sprawl trilogy, ready to go.I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version of Count Zero which was read by one of my favorite voice actors, Jonathan Davis. He is always wonderful and his grimy and jaded male voices are perfect for this kind of novel. My only issue is one I’ve had with Davis before: he has essentially one female voice. I have listened to so many books read by Mr. Davis that I actually feel like this one woman is showing up in all these different novels. (Hey, what are Thecla and Agia and Vlana and Ivrian doing in the Sprawl??) Count Zero has only a few female characters who don’t overlap much, so Davis does well with this story, but I’ll be listening for Angie and Marly next time I’m in Lankhmar.
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    A Modish Synopsis, A Modest Assemblage, A Little LookseeIt's a whole long story, and it's open to interpretation. Each chapter begins with a pronoun, or two. And then it's off like a robber's dog. I decided you and I might hit the matrix for a little looksee. You followed, forgetting your fears, forgetting the nausea and constant vertigo. You were there, and you understood this was our space, our construct. It came on, a flickering, non-linear flood of fact and sensory data, a kind of narrative A Modish Synopsis, A Modest Assemblage, A Little LookseeIt's a whole long story, and it's open to interpretation. Each chapter begins with a pronoun, or two. And then it's off like a robber's dog. I decided you and I might hit the matrix for a little looksee. You followed, forgetting your fears, forgetting the nausea and constant vertigo. You were there, and you understood this was our space, our construct. It came on, a flickering, non-linear flood of fact and sensory data, a kind of narrative conveyed in surreal jumpcuts and juxtapositions. Machine dreams. Rollercoaster. It was fast, too fast, too alien to grasp. You could hallucinate in the matrix as easily as anywhere else. You looked at me through the thicket of manipulators. I came simultaneously to see that I was the focus of some vast device fuelled by an obscure desire. I kissed your mouth as it opened, cut loose in time by talk and the fireflies and the subliminal triggers of memory. It seemed to me, as I ran my palms up the warmth of your white t-shirt, that the people in my life weren't beads strung on a wire of sequence, but clustered like quanta. Eventually, I came to feel that this was a situation in which real becomes merely another concept. It doesn't tell the whole story. Remember that. Nothing ever does...SOUNDTRACK:(view spoiler)[Rebecka Törnqvist & Sara Isaksson - "Barrytown" [Steely Dan]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrmSE...Steely Dan - "Reelin in the Years" [Live]https://vimeo.com/album/2542646/video...Now with beards, now without!Bobby Quine and Lou Reed - "Sweet Jane" [Live at the Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ on 9/25/1984]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBnio...Magazine - "My Tulpa"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFEaT... (hide spoiler)]
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  • nostalgebraist
    January 1, 1970
    When I was maybe halfway through this book, I wrote this elsewhere:--------------------It’s funny reading “classic” William Gibson now because he basically imagined a version of the internet that was much less life-changing than the actual internet."There will be instant electronic full VR communication but there will be no communities or subcultures in it, people will still just be friends in real life and then talk on the (video) phone sometimes. Using the internet is sort of like playing a vi When I was maybe halfway through this book, I wrote this elsewhere:--------------------It’s funny reading “classic” William Gibson now because he basically imagined a version of the internet that was much less life-changing than the actual internet."There will be instant electronic full VR communication but there will be no communities or subcultures in it, people will still just be friends in real life and then talk on the (video) phone sometimes. Using the internet is sort of like playing a video game on psychedelic drugs, and it it is mainly used as a substitute for drugs, or for Crimes. Being good at this weird game has replaced actual technical skill so the ‘technical’ people involved in the Crimes are not nerds, they are edgy adrenaline junkies who wouldn’t be out of place in a bank heist story. Everyone uses information technology but it works flawlessly all the time so there is no reorganization of society where people who like ‘boring’ technical details can now provide a newly valuable service. The story could effortlessly be rewritten as urban fantasy where ‘the matrix’ is some dreamtime accessed through magic, and the result could be set at any point in the 20th century without changing anything."It’s not just that it’s anachronistic, it’s that he didn’t actually imagine any social change (for the most part).--------------------Having finished the book, that still sums up my reaction to it. It is essentially a generic noir story with some fantasy elements, onto which computer-themed wallpaper has been grafted. The one important change in social structure that Gibson imagines is the increased influence of powerful corporations, but this makes little functional difference; the characters who do dangerous jobs for corporations might as well be doing those jobs for governments, for all the difference it makes. Gibson imagines a world where cyber-security is important, but his world is one that couldn't accommodate Edward Snowden; the people who deal with security here are not tech geeks but macho adrenaline junkies, heist wheelmen with computer-themed makeovers.I guess there is nothing wrong with a generic noir story. What makes this book frustrating is the intimation that it is something more. In hindsight, it's easy to see that it isn't. Gibson almost studiously avoids introducing real deviations from the noir template. Computer hacking is described so impressionistically that it bears no connection to real-world computing whatsoever -- it could be effortlessly rewritten as magic in a fantasy setting.This renders one of the core elements of the book's plot largely pointless. Entities presenting themselves as Haitian Voodoo gods have appeared in the matrix, and there are arguments between those who believe that these are "really" the gods they say they are, and those that believe they are "merely" artificial intelligences pretending to be gods. However, the book's notion of "artificial intelligence" is already entirely fantastical and unconstrained by any information about real-world computing, so the difference is moot from the reader's perspective. Overall there is a complete sense that Gibson's choices of scenery have no consequences whatsoever. It makes no difference whether something is a "god" or an "AI," whether a character is "jacking into the matrix" as opposed to "casting a spell to enter the dreamtime." It makes no difference that Gibson has chosen a futuristic "look" for his noir story, because in the end it's just a noir story.Near the end of the book it is mentioned that one character has resistors braided into her hair, which seems like a perfect summary of the weight technology has (i.e. doesn't have) in this book. In a different genre those resistors would be something else, but in any case they are non-functioning parts, used only for aesthetic value. Technology is non-functionally "tacked onto" this book like those resistors.I remember being very impressed with Gibson's prose when I read Neuromancer at age 18. Either Gibson declined a lot between that book and this one, or I'm no longer as easily impressed by competent prose in plot-driven genre stories anymore (the latter seems more likely). The only way to determine which is the case would be to re-read Neuromancer, but I'm not eager to do that at this point.One star is too harsh a rating for a competent if totally unremarkable genre story, but Gibson pretends to do so much more, and that's frustrating. He's pretentious, in a much more direct sense of the term than the kind of authors who more commonly get slammed with it. So this book gets one star for being so much less than it pretends to be.
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  • Toby
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting addition to the Sprawl trilogy started with Neuromancer, taking a look at similar themes from a different perspective. What makes us human? What effect is technology having on us as a species? What happens if technology develops beyond our understanding and of its own free will?I wasn't blown away, in fact I found it quite difficult to read at times yet managed to read it what felt like no time at all. This sort of sums up the contradiction of my experience of this book. Bored yet An interesting addition to the Sprawl trilogy started with Neuromancer, taking a look at similar themes from a different perspective. What makes us human? What effect is technology having on us as a species? What happens if technology develops beyond our understanding and of its own free will?I wasn't blown away, in fact I found it quite difficult to read at times yet managed to read it what felt like no time at all. This sort of sums up the contradiction of my experience of this book. Bored yet unable to stop reading. Putting the book down every 15 minutes yet never able to leave it alone for very long. Seeing ideas that would go on to be developed in new, interesting, more entertaining ways, yet overwhelmed at the foresight and inventiveness of the author. I want to believe in William Gibson, I want to be a massive fan of all of his work yet I find myself struggling with these early books. If this wasn't a Gibson I may not have even finished it, if the sequence wasn't important to the development of the genre I probably wouldn't have started this one after Neuromancer.So what now? Maybe the Blue Ant sequence will re-affirm my allegiance to the man.
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  • Graeme Rodaughan
    January 1, 1970
    There was a time in my life where cyberpunk was where it was at and this book really fitted the bill.
  • Anthony Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    The second instalment in Gibson's sprawl series contains all the elements that made cyberpunk so much fun. The plot is a breakneck thrill ride complete with augmented humans, mercenaries, Rastafarian warriors and a tactical nuke. However, Gibson also finds room for plenty of brain food as we are forced to consider a future where government is irrelevant and information the only real currency.
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  • Simon Brading
    January 1, 1970
    Barely made it to 3*s... Parts of the book were good and made me want to keep reading, but then invariably the chapter changed and we went back to people whose story I wasn't interested in.And in the end it just kinda all fizzles out... If it's going to do that I at least want it to make me think, like a Philip K Dick book, but this one almost just left me thinking that I was glad it was over because I can forget about it.
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  • Erik
    January 1, 1970
    With each review I write, I become increasingly daunted by a sense of infinite possibility. I have an entire book, this Count Zero, to write about – what in the world should I focus on? The question in turn gives rise to an equally haunting sense of relativism. Is this book good? Sure. Is this book bad? Sure. With few exceptions, a good book is not infallibly so nor a bad book insurmountably so. Rather, the goodness or badness is a choice I, the reader, must make.Yet when I make that choice – to With each review I write, I become increasingly daunted by a sense of infinite possibility. I have an entire book, this Count Zero, to write about – what in the world should I focus on? The question in turn gives rise to an equally haunting sense of relativism. Is this book good? Sure. Is this book bad? Sure. With few exceptions, a good book is not infallibly so nor a bad book insurmountably so. Rather, the goodness or badness is a choice I, the reader, must make.Yet when I make that choice – to be positive or to be negative – and then write my review, my chosen perspective will percolate backwards in time and memory and retroactively alter the focus of my thoughts on the book. Simply put, deciding it is good will MAKE it good while deciding it is bad will MAKE it bad. To quote Bruce Lee: when you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.What’s a reader to do with the vast sea of literature that lies between the unquestionably stupendous and the indisputably horrendous? Become the bottle or the cup?I’m not sure what’s caused this, but I can guess. My mental library only increases. I only add books and never take away. Only the hordes of death and disease threaten my library! And I thus far remain stalwart against these inevitable foemen. As such, the styles and ideas have begun to blend into each other, so that each story invokes a dull version of déjà vu. To the youthful, newness and goodness correlate. But I am not so youthful anymore and I must adjust…Furthermore, my engagement with my mental library has taken on a different tone because I’ve gotten my own hands dirty with the book biz. Unsurprisingly, the once bright realm of words is less golden and more gilded. You would not, for example, believe some of the responses I’ve gotten from editors, who give feedback that’s borderline nonsense. Somehow I expected more than tired eyes. As a result, books don’t seem so SACRED, anymore. Less a diamond sculpture and more like a statue of ice. Mutable. Melting, dulling – and so easy to kick over.Books and the stories within them no longer seem like great FORCES of nature, which transport me – often without my noticing it – into fantastical realms, feeding my subconscious direct like some sort of IV drip filled with idea, scenery, and character. Rather, they’ve become personalized transportation. The author is not a tornado but a cab driver. Certainly I am transported from realm to realm, but I do so aware of the transportation. Books now represent individual works by individual persons. Flawed and imperfect.Simultaneously in my life, I’ve learned that love is also not a great FORCE of nature. It’s a great CHOICE of humankind. It no longer surprises me, for example, to learn that a wife can continue to love her abusive husband for years and years. It no longer surprises me to watch a parent love his insane, spoiled child when doing so, to the degree it is done, only harms that child’s future. I am no longer filled with a hot rage over such things, but sorrowful compassion. No more do I believe this apparent foolishness of love suggests an ANIMAL love. Maybe it does. I am not so sure. I happen to now think that these flawed loves persist not because they are instinctual and pathetic but because the lover made the CHOICE to love and therefore became defined by it. Thus defined, they could no longer give up the love without their identity becoming destroyed. Such thoughts give rise to more doubts and more questions. Is it better to control your love or be controlled by it? Or is there any difference between the two?Well. Somehow I have managed to write many paragraphs in a book review without saying a word about the book. You may even wonder what any of this has to do with it. I hope not but allow me to be more direct:I likewise struggle with the decision to consider my reading of Count Zero a win or a lose. It contains elements I love: noir! voodoo! the rising specter of corpotocracy! cyberpunk! I’ll have you know I kickstarted the latest Shadowrun game by Harebrained Games, so you can imagine ‘street samurai’ and ‘cyberdecks’ are right up my alley. And AI. Man, I love AI. I love how AI will free humanity of such a burden on our shoulders. Count Zero has lots and lots of AI, including AI who think they’re voodoo gods. So, yeah, I dream of the friend who will sit with me and argue about the future of robots. Barring the real existence of such a friend, however, this and other books will suffice.And the style, sharp and purposefully obscure, with the near death of major characters happening off the screen and told in retrospect, and jargon and terminology thrown around like ninja stars: difficult but interesting.AND YET… despite the plot’s scope being superficially large and magnificent, the actual sense of scope felt anything but. One of the three PoVs, for example, was an art dealer named Marly whose connection with the story could best be described as ‘accidental.’ Another of the PoVs, a for-hire corporate samurai named Turner, possessed no personal stake in any of the proceedings. And the book seemed to take for granted that I would automatically dislike the mega-rich CEO fella who is at the heart of the plot’s machinations, when I felt no such thing at all. His ultimate fate seemed perfunctory, abrupt, and anti-climactic. Indeed, the threads which bound the three PoVs together never tightened in unity in the same compelling way that, say, the threads in Game of Thrones do. Rather, their connection was accidental at best. In fact, that’s the best word I can use to describe my overall sense of interface with this book: accidental. My enjoyment of the book felt accidental, like I just so happened to be in the right mood, with the right amount of time, to engage with it. The plot and everything that happens feels like one big accident.And yet I cannot argue that this makes the book less good. Less compelling, yes. But I am rather leery of the notion that compelling can or should be equated with good.So then we return, do I become the bottle or the cup? Do I say this book is good or it is bad? Do I recommend it?At times like these, I find myself returning to a quote that has in many ways defined me, both as a person and as a writer, from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. He wrote,Do I contradict myself?Very well then I contradict myself.(I am large, I contain multitudes.)Knowing as I now do what it takes to write a book, that it represents in a very real sense, a sliver of an author’s life, as potent as a horcrux, I find myself unwilling to take very seriously the stars I could give or not give. Even more, it feels insulting and dehumanizing. Here is a human: a complex spiral of DNA, one among many permutations it could have been, with memories and actions both good and bad, of high quality and low. Who will judge this pitiful creature and call it angel or demon? Here, then, is Count Zero: a complex weave of words, one among many permutations it could have been, some good and some bad. You can find either in it and which side of the coin you choose to focus on depends on you.Me, I’ll just appreciate a good noir cyberpunk tale, admit its faults, and move on to the next book like a sort of readerly ninja practicing his forms. A cop out, for sure, but then I do believe that was my point.
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  • David Mcangus
    January 1, 1970
    With Count Zero, William Gibson employs the familiar device of fragmenting his narrative between multiple protagonists. On paper, this was a good idea. By utilising four characters and telling their stories separately, it had to the potential to go into greater detail with the world building and increase the complexity of the plot. The problem however, is that by incorporating four protagonists, his weakness in characterisation is made that more apparent. In Neuromancer, Molly was the linchpin. With Count Zero, William Gibson employs the familiar device of fragmenting his narrative between multiple protagonists. On paper, this was a good idea. By utilising four characters and telling their stories separately, it had to the potential to go into greater detail with the world building and increase the complexity of the plot. The problem however, is that by incorporating four protagonists, his weakness in characterisation is made that more apparent. In Neuromancer, Molly was the linchpin. She provided the human investment needed through her background and clear emotional challenges. Count Zero sourly lacks this type of character because none are given the space to develop defined qualities. It's not that they're all unlikeable, but that they're all forgettable, and consequently, this effects the rest of the book's impact. It's quite surprising in all honesty how much of an impact this lack of characterization had. I would read a chapter, be impressed with its structure, then when meeting the character that featured in that scene again, I couldn't remember what had happened to them. This occurred often and as I went on I realised I was detached from the narrative. This effect was also true for the world itself. While we arguably see more of The Sprawl due to the four perspectives, it didn't feel alive like in Neuromancer, each location read like a staging area for the characters to say their lines and push the plot forward. It's entirely possible that I didn't connect to this book because I wasn't in the mood or another subjective reason. But I know there was a plot here that I wanted to be immersed in. Unfortunately, I was blocked by the bland characters and lifeless world.
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  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    3 StarsWell, just like with Neurmonancer, William Gibson’s amazing command of the English language, coupled with his incredible writing style was not enough for me to love Count Zero. It is very well written, fast paced, filled with cool sci-fi action scenes and gadgetry, and not overly long in length.The problem with this book is that I really never cared one bit about any of the characters in this book, or in book one for that matter. As a result, all the world building, science, and cool gadg 3 StarsWell, just like with Neurmonancer, William Gibson’s amazing command of the English language, coupled with his incredible writing style was not enough for me to love Count Zero. It is very well written, fast paced, filled with cool sci-fi action scenes and gadgetry, and not overly long in length.The problem with this book is that I really never cared one bit about any of the characters in this book, or in book one for that matter. As a result, all the world building, science, and cool gadgetry is lost on me as my interest in it is never what it could be. William Gibson is a gifted writer, here are a couple of typical scenes of his:“"Yes, Marly. And from that rather terminal perspective, I should advise you to strive to live hourly in your own flesh. Not in the past, if you understand me. I speak as one who can no longer tolerate that simple state, the cells of my body having opted for the quixotic pursuit of individual careers. I imagine that a more fortunate man, or a poorer one, would have been allowed to die at last, or be coded at the core of some bit of hardware. But I seem constrained, by a byzantine net of circumstance that requires, I understand, something like a tenth of my annual income. Making me, I suppose, the world’s most expensive invalid. I was touched, Marly, at your affairs of the heart. I envy you the ordered flesh from which they unfold."”And:“The man opened his mouth, began to gesture with the thing he held beneath the poncho, and his head exploded. It almost seemed to Turner that it happened before the red line of light scythed down and touched him, pencil-thick beam swinging casually, as though someone were playing with a flashlight. A blossom of red, beaten down by the rain, as the figure went to its knees and tumbled forward, a wire-stocked Savage 410 sliding from beneath the poncho.”I really wanted to love this book but in the end, I just never really cared…
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    Every time I re-read the Sprawl trilogy, I speed through "Neuromancer" and, when I get to it, "Mona Lisa Overdrive;" but "Count Zero" usually holds me up for a month at least. This time it held me up for about five months (granted, I've been busy with various personal projects, work, and wasting time online). Whatever. Gibson is one of my all-time favorite writers, I worship the keys he types on (be they computer or typewriter); but reading "Count Zero" is like trying to run through knee-high mu Every time I re-read the Sprawl trilogy, I speed through "Neuromancer" and, when I get to it, "Mona Lisa Overdrive;" but "Count Zero" usually holds me up for a month at least. This time it held me up for about five months (granted, I've been busy with various personal projects, work, and wasting time online). Whatever. Gibson is one of my all-time favorite writers, I worship the keys he types on (be they computer or typewriter); but reading "Count Zero" is like trying to run through knee-high mud with a baby killer whale under each arm--and some very intriguing scenery off in the distance. The plot is confusing to the point of seeming nonexistent, and when I finally did get it figured out, it didn't thrill me, chill me or fullfill me.This book is Gibson's first experiment with multiple protagonists. I LOVE this model of storytelling, but none of these three really do it for me. Turner and Marley mostly bore me; Bobby feels alive, but I had some gripes with his character. Where Case was a dark new spin on the hacker archtype, Bobby is an '80s cliche (lives with his mother, owns porn, desperate to run with the cool crowd). On top of that, Bobby for some reason has to do or experience something disgusting at least once a chapter, for the first two thirds of the book. BUT, to be fair, Bobby does grow on you, and he's the only of the protagonists who feels alive from start to finish. He also delivers the most hilarious eulogy in all of fiction: "He was, he was a dude." On the other hand, Turner and Marley are wall-bangingly bland; maybe if the same characters appeared by another author, I wouldn't think so, but compared to Gibson's usually amazing characters, Turner and Marley are like slabs of cardboard for most of the book. Turner's chapters also involve some rather uncomfortable peodphilic moments when he's with Angie Mitchell. But speaking of Angie Mitchell, the supporting cast of "Count Zero" is the reason to read it. Angie Mitchell, the teenage girl whose scientist father put a matrix-linked implant in her brain, is going to be a great lead character in the final book, "Mona Lisa Overdrive." Then there's Jackie, the voodoo priestess hacker with computer chips in her cornrows; Rez, the butch pilot with the rose boob tattoo; Jaylene Slide; and the FINN. The Finn's sceen is the highlight of the book, and the one thing about "Count Zero" that I would call truly great. Jaylene Slide and her henchman Bunny, who fly in to save the day right the f**k out of nowhere within the last few chapters, are possibly THE most blatant example of a deus ex machina in all of fiction, but they're fittingly weird and badass so I don't mind at all. Granted, the fact that I'd completely stopped caring by the time they showed up helped.Which brings me to one of the main problems with this book. With two out of the three protagonists boring me to tears for the first two thirds of the book, it took until this re-read (which must be read number I've-honestly-lost-count) for me to notice that they both become more alive and sympathetic in the last few chapters. Marley's final chapters are beautifully surreal. I applaud Gibson for conveying these characters being dead inside for most of the book, and then "waking up" so to speak at the end; but the problem is that with them being so "dead" for so long, I'd usually given up before their chapters got good, on most reads. Finally, the writing style. For the most part, it's still Gibson's usual fantastic prose. Even at its most boring, "Count Zero" can be a serene and compelling read, just from the unique way Gibson words things. His descriptions of Turner's short dreams really stick in my mind (especially the line about how he "dreamed of running water;" for some reason I love that). But the atmosphere from "Neuromancer" is sadly lacking in this book, but a bit of it is still there, especially in the last few chapters. My final complaint is that Gibson's usually clever vocabulary has taken a hit in this book. In "Neuromancer" we had "the Sprawl," "punching deck," "joeboys," "wintermute," and "Freeside;" here in "Count Zero," we have "Gothicks" and "Kasuals" (spelled exactly like that), "Big Playground," and "hot-doggers." Again, if this were another author, I wouldn't think as much of it. But this is Gibson, man! Luckily he dumps the '80s corn in "Mona Lisa Overdrive." The book isn't bad by any means, it's okay. But the supporting characters really make me mourn for the far more interesting book that could have been. Why not let Angie and the Voodoo hackers be the center of the story? THAT would be a book I'd read the crap out of.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    This review was written in the late nineties (for my eyes only), and it was buried in amongst my things until recently when I uncovered the journal in which it was written. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets may indicate some additional information for the sake of readability or some sort of commentary from now). This is one of my lost reviews."She's gone and the present is trivia." That line from Memento scrawled in my handwriting at the back of Co This review was written in the late nineties (for my eyes only), and it was buried in amongst my things until recently when I uncovered the journal in which it was written. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets may indicate some additional information for the sake of readability or some sort of commentary from now). This is one of my lost reviews."She's gone and the present is trivia." That line from Memento scrawled in my handwriting at the back of Count Zero. It captures the hyperreality of Count Zero. I sure dig Turner, the extractor, in this tale. Distant, cold, re-built, Turner becomes the most traditionally romantic of Gibson's Sprawl characters. [I must have been drunk when I wrote this. What a bizarre review. It's mroe like a list.]My favourite is young Bobby, the count himself. He's not pathetic. he's never whiny. And he's got big, brass balls. Go Bobby. To cap it all off he gets the girl. What I missed in Count Zero was Neuromancer/Wintermute. Sure there were references, but its power was so huge that it could no longer engage as a character. Bummer.Still, I dug this book. Fun, thought-provoking, riddled with despair. It's a future I see coming, and as depressing as it is I'd like to live to see it. I could be part of it. A world of action. The old west everywhere.
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  • Ben Babcock
    January 1, 1970
    William Gibson can write. I keep exploring this in different ways and different words as I read through Gibson’s oeuvre, but in the end it comes down to two appropriately alliterative words: William Gibson has voice and vision. He has a way with language that not every writer, even really good ones, ever manages to master. He knows how to use and manipulate words and phrases to create cultures. With this talent, he creates novels that conjure up pocket universes of our future.Count Zero is much William Gibson can write. I keep exploring this in different ways and different words as I read through Gibson’s oeuvre, but in the end it comes down to two appropriately alliterative words: William Gibson has voice and vision. He has a way with language that not every writer, even really good ones, ever manages to master. He knows how to use and manipulate words and phrases to create cultures. With this talent, he creates novels that conjure up pocket universes of our future.Count Zero is much more spiritual and emotionally evocative than its predecessor, Neuromancer. There are three main characters and three intertwined plots. Turner is a mercenary hired to manage the defection of a scientist from one transnational to another, but he ends up with the scientist’s daughter instead. Bobby, who is attempting to establish himself as a console cowboy by the name of “Count Zero”, finds himself neck-deep in a situation far more serious than he ever desired to encounter. And Marly is a curator hunting up the provenance of an intrigue art object at the behest of a reclusive collector. At the risk of sounding reductionist, the three plotlines conveniently symbolize three of the primary themes in Count Zero: a weary mercenary confronting the emptiness of his chosen profession; a new, untested youth struggling with his coming-of-age; and a young woman pulled inexorably deeper into the grey and black areas of the art world, pulled by a man who is not entirely human anymore.So there is no denying that Count Zero is a complex book, when one really stops to consider everything that happens in it. The language that Gibson uses can often conceal this fact, because sometimes it is difficult to follow the train of the story (or at least, I found this to be the case). There is a lyrical, almost dream-like quality to his prose; I encountered this in some of his other novels, but it seems particularly noticeable in this one. Sometimes this vagueness is advantageous. For example, Gibson does not go into detail when he explains how the consensual illusion that is cyberspace is generated, nor how the “decks” that console cowboys use work. This lends a timeless quality to the setting (though his use of the term tapes stands out as an exception).With that in mind, then, I don’t see Count Zero as the best or the easiest of Gibson’s novels. But that’s almost like saying The Tempest is neither the best nor the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays—this is still a fine book. In particular, I love the hints and whispers at post/trans-humanism that permeate the story. They never quite overwhelm the narrative (Gibson’s vagueness can also be a consequence of the fact that he is so damned subtle). Yet they crop up at the most interesting moments. In Neuromancer Gibson raised questions regarding how an AI that is essentially an alien being would co-exist with humanity. He never quite re-visits the fate of the Neuromancer/Wintermute construct, but he drops all these tantalizing hints about strange things happening in cyberspace, not to mention the odd god inhabiting space junk in orbit.On the other side of the divide, we have humans like Turner or Angela or even Bobby, people who have jacks that allow them to download data directly into their brain. I honestly don’t know why N. Katherine Hayles has had such an effect on me, since I only ever read a single article by her so far—but I keep seeing the motif of embodiment show up all the time in my posthuman fiction. Turner might be a cyborg, and his body might recently have undergone dramatic reconstructive surgery. But he still has a body. And so, unlike the shady Josef Virek, who is more of a construct than a human being any more, Turner is still human—or at least, seems to perform as human in a way that satisfies the rest of us. Gibson is good at asking these questions without beating them over our heads. There is a refreshing lack of pretentiousness to books like Count Zero, even as they force us to think about difficult ideas.The second instalment in the Sprawl trilogy also recalls Gibson’s post-national corporate-driven vision of the future. In this case, it’s tech giants Hosaka and Maas Industries competing for a brilliant researcher by the name of Mitchell. He has been developing revolutionary biochip technology for Maas, but now apparently he wants to defect to Hosaka. This little game of industrial brinksmanship has its precedent in present-day industry, of course, but I suspect that few companies go to the lengths that Hosaka does, hiring mercenaries and a medical team to extract any destructive implants Maas might have installed to dissuade Mitchell from walking. In this future, the companies might not own you outright, but they almost certainly own you in any way that matters. And this vision has never been more compelling, because as Gibson himself has famously said, “the future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed”. I can’t speak to what Gibson had in mind when he wrote Count Zero or what contemporary readers might have imagined, but it certainly resonates with some of the events that are happening globally today, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement and, in general, the growing awareness that corporations have a great deal of influence in the political process.Although not my favourite aspect of Count Zero, its spiritual component deserves consideration as well. Science and secularism seems to go hand-in-hand these days. Certainly, I consider science’s foundation on rational principles one of the influences on my transition to agnosticism and eventually atheism as I grew to adulthood. Yet this partnership has not, historically, always been the case. Science and spirituality have a much longer history, and many science fiction authors acknowledge this fact. In this book, some of the minor characters are involved in a techno-voodoo worship of loa that inhabit cyberspace. These loa manifest at unpredictable moments and “ride” a chosen human body, a point that becomes important at the climax of the novel. Gibson declines to pull back the curtain and explain the true nature of the loa (there are certainly hints that they are related to an AI or even to Neuromancer/Wintermute itself). So it’s a worthwhile question: regardless of the existence of an actual deity, what are we going to encounter if we continue to create and inhabit digital spaces? What will happen as we allow programs to go feral, to roam, and to mix code in unpredictable ways?I don’t always love Gibson’s novels, but I do always appreciate them. Quality triumphs over quantity, and while Gibson has not been as prolific as some of his contemporaries, his novels are always worth reading. He has a grasp on the ways in which technology challenges and changes our society, the ways we react to these changes and initiate our own. His characters feel real and always have interesting, diverse voices, whether it’s Turner, Bobby, or even a minor character like the Finn. Gibson provides a general vocabulary and dialect, but inflection and idiom are always the character’s own. Such attentiveness! Such style! Count Zero is interesting and cool, and it’s a well-written piece of science fiction. Although it did not quite manage to capture and hold my attention like Pattern Recognition did, I still enjoyed it thoroughly.My reviews of the Sprawl trilogy:← Neuromancer | Mona Lisa Overdrive →
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  • Salman Mehedy Titas
    January 1, 1970
    Count Zero is the sequel to Neuromancer in the sense that Neuromancer was the sequel to Burning Chrome. It takes place seven years after the events of Neuromancer. The book was written two years after the publication of its prequel. If you're thinking that Gibson decided to take pity on his readers, you're wrong. Count Zero makes Neuromancer seem like an easy book to read.Turner, a mercenary, who had been severely injured, had his body reconstructed. He is allowed him a period of time to rest, b Count Zero is the sequel to Neuromancer in the sense that Neuromancer was the sequel to Burning Chrome. It takes place seven years after the events of Neuromancer. The book was written two years after the publication of its prequel. If you're thinking that Gibson decided to take pity on his readers, you're wrong. Count Zero makes Neuromancer seem like an easy book to read.Turner, a mercenary, who had been severely injured, had his body reconstructed. He is allowed him a period of time to rest, before a new employer summons him for an even deadlier mission. His mission is to smuggle a scientist, who wishes to change employment from Maas Biolabs to Hosaka (two multinational companies.) Of course, nothing is ever simple. His recruitment was reluctant to begin with, he does not trust his teammates, and there is no guarantee if the scientist will successfully make it out.Bobby Newmark, an inhabitant of Barrytown and a wannabe cyber-cowboy, has just chewed onto more than he can swallow. Using an unknown software that he was just given, he attacked a base, whose location was also given by the same person. In his desperate attempts to make something out of his life - because nothing happens around here - he steps into a trap that might as well kill him. Bobby is saved by miraculous and unknown methods, by an entity unknown to him. But he has also been marked for death, and it seems it will follow him whatever he goes.Marly Krushkhova was an owner of an art gallery, until she was tricked into selling a forgery, and had been dishonoured since then - thanks to the media. The actual culprit was her then-boyfriend, Alain, who preyed upon her feelings to open an easy pathway. Her life has been going downhills since then. That is, until ultra-rich art patron - Josep Virek - hires her to locate the artist of a certain piece of art - A unique box. However, Virek is less than human, and eventually Marly realizes that he is one man who should not be served. But one does easily cross one such as Virek and get away. Especially when he had the game under his control the whole time.Seven years have washed away after the events of Neuromancer. One would hope that more light would be shed onto what happened, but we have no such luck. While the new threads are interesting, they are full of annoyances. An interesting part is that a cult has arisen who believe that God(s) can be found in the cyberspace. There are a few interactions with them, and it is pretty obvious that these are AI with personality. It gives us an interesting viewpoint, and another way to fear artificial intelligence. What if they imposed themselves as gods upon us? And it is not a pretty sights. These AIs are as conflicted as the Greek gods.A concept that is introduced is that these gods can 'ride' humans, whatever that means. The book remains silent on how that is achieved. Is it by using 'simstim' (simulated stimuli)? Microsofts (slots behind ears where chips are planted). Or are they just observing these humans carry out their will?Gibson's prose in Count Zero is actually worse than Neuromancer. While the previous used just the right amount of words to give a cyberpunk vibe and dark tone, coupled with terse descriptions that explained everything in time, Count Zero is stuffed with description at some places (where less might have been better), whereas at others it contains sentences which begin and end in strange and almost incomprehensible ways.The threads tie in nicely, but leaves a lot to be demanded. There is very little explanation of how these gods came to be, except that they are. (view spoiler)[ Marly meets something that I assume is Wintermute, and he explains that he lost control... or something. For someone who went to great length of trouble to arrange the mind-boggling events of Neuromancer, Wintermute seems pretty mellow. (hide spoiler)]Characters are nothing special, except the three. Even then, characterisation is present, but pretty weak. Other characters you barely care about (but that is something present in every classic science fiction books. So maybe I forgive that.) Angela Mitchell, daughter of the scientist to be rescued, is a very important, but useless and bland character. She is a chosen one, and a damsel in distress. She's supposed to be smarter than norm, but she mostly gets in Turner's way, gets sick and cries.Speaking of Turner! He is a true ladies' man. He even goes to his brother's house and sleeps with his ex under his brother’s own roof. You sure care about your brother! The only two female he does not sleep with are Webber (homosexual female who was initially in his team) and Angela (who is young enough to be his daughter.) But the author doesn't fail to mention how Angela accidentally caresses and snuggles with him while they were sleeping.Neuromancer's ending lacked detail, but it was a good ending, nonetheless. Count Zero's ending, along with numerous scenes where cyber-battles are supposedly taking place, makes no sense whatsoever - at least to me. Angela is chosen by the gods, and they can override her at times, but it is never explained how - though it is mentioned that there is 'something' installed in her head. It is mentioned that her father put it there (‘because she was not smart enough’, or so she was told.) We can only assume that her father put it there under the instruction of whichever AI he was obeying. That's not so bad, but a little resolution would have allowed me to rest easy.This review focuses on the cons rather than pros. In favour of the book, I'll say there were moments when I felt so hooked that it seemed my life would depend on it. Of course, they were outnumbered by the moments when I felt 'meh'. But since Angela is a major character in Mona Lisa Overdrive, and because Count Zero has quite a few cool concepts, it wouldn't hurt to give it a read – unless you have something better to do.
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  • Edward Goetz
    January 1, 1970
    This is an outstanding sequel to Neuromancer. The Sprawl is one of the great mythologies in literature. I wish I had read Gibson as a teenager.
  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    Not the blinding, genre-defining supernova of Neuromancer -- that pretty much only happens once per author or once per series -- but a stronger book in pretty much every way that matters, and proof positive (not needed now, certainly, but probably much more welcome back in the heady days of the late 1980s) that Gibson was not a one-hit wonder.Events pick up about seven years after the close of Neuromancer, with an entirely new cast of characters (although there are a few Neuromancer cameos and/o Not the blinding, genre-defining supernova of Neuromancer -- that pretty much only happens once per author or once per series -- but a stronger book in pretty much every way that matters, and proof positive (not needed now, certainly, but probably much more welcome back in the heady days of the late 1980s) that Gibson was not a one-hit wonder.Events pick up about seven years after the close of Neuromancer, with an entirely new cast of characters (although there are a few Neuromancer cameos and/or references to evens from the first book). This time we have multiple narrative threads -- a trained professional working on a corporate defection (the megacorps take their anticompete clauses very seriously in the future), a disgraced art dealer recruited to track down the source of some singular artworks, and the titular Count Zero himself, a boy from the projects who's never actually done a run in cyberspace until this ... guy who knows some guys who know some guys ... gives him a deck and a brand new program to try out. Needless to say, things go horribly, horribly wrong for everybody, and then keep going wrong as the different strands slowly start to pull together and to bring in pointedly unresolved strands from the first book.
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  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    They say that teachers steadily develop during their first ten years. After that, some teachers continue to grow and others plateau. Sometimes I get the feeling that there's a similar arc of development for authors, one that means authors become less interesting as they get older.I first noticed this back in my university days, when I read quite a bit of John Steinbeck. I really liked the earlier works that I read, but as I began to read his later works, I found that something was missing. Over They say that teachers steadily develop during their first ten years. After that, some teachers continue to grow and others plateau. Sometimes I get the feeling that there's a similar arc of development for authors, one that means authors become less interesting as they get older.I first noticed this back in my university days, when I read quite a bit of John Steinbeck. I really liked the earlier works that I read, but as I began to read his later works, I found that something was missing. Over time, I experienced the same thing with Stephen King. After a while, edges that once were rough become round. The stories are too smooth.As with teachers, there are exceptions to this rule. Margaret Atwood (70) is still a fantastic writer -- better than ever, in my opinion. Cormac McCarthy (77) scared the hell out of me in The Road, so I'd say that he's still hitting home runs.It's tough to believe this about William Gibson, but he's getting older (62, according to the wiki). And when I read Gibson, it's very difficult for me to stop thinking about how he evolved as a writer. I suppose the order in which I've read Gibson's works hasn't helped:1. Spook Country, 20072. Neuromancer, 19843. Pattern Recognition, 20034. Burning Chrome, collects works from 1977 - 19855. Count Zero, 1986I haven't exactly followed his oeuvre in chronological order.As much as this "authorship arc" serves to distract me from the plot of Gibson's novels, I've still enjoyed considering it while reading the Sprawl and Bigend trilogies (So far, I've skipped the Bridge trilogy, which perhaps is a bridge between these two periods in Gibson's writing). Actually, I think Gibson is an author that I think benefits from this approach.A lot of reviewers mention that Gibson has a unique writing style among science fiction authors. I agree. I read once that Gibson cited William S. Burroughs as an influence. It shows. His early work is fragmented. But that raw, detached prose lends an excitement to Neuromancer and Count Zero, one that matters as much as "cyberspace" does.(Since this is a review of Count Zero, I should point out that we see Gibson trying out some new ideas with plot structure and point of view, while he extends his ideas about AI. For me, Neuromancer remains the essential read, but Count Zero says a lot more about where Gibson is headed as a writer.)I've read that Gibson views his Sprawl trilogy as adolescent. Although the Sprawl novels are quite complex, there's no denying that Gibson's later work is more mature. Gibson never holds his reader's hand, but we feel that we're in good hands when reading Pattern Recognition.There are other aspects of Gibson's writing that I could point to (plotting, character development, his use of technology...), but I think anyone reading this will get the point.Regardless, there's something to be said for catching authors in their youth and following their career. But with Gibson's works, I've found that it's also interesting to show up after the gold rush, seeing how authors have evolved over decades of words.***What are your favorite authors that still produce great stories after decades? Or for haters, who are your authors that let you down over time?
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  • Rob
    January 1, 1970
    Executive Summary: A fast-paced thriller from the master of cyberpunk. Full Review I've had this book and Mona Lisa Overdrive sitting unread on my shelves for far too long. I kept finding other books to grab my attention.I finally got around to reading this, and I wish I had sooner. I wanted something short and fun and this fit the bill nicely.The book opens with Turner, a mercenary for hire, who specializes in aggressive corporate recruiting, of a sort. His job involves extracting high value em Executive Summary: A fast-paced thriller from the master of cyberpunk. Full Review I've had this book and Mona Lisa Overdrive sitting unread on my shelves for far too long. I kept finding other books to grab my attention.I finally got around to reading this, and I wish I had sooner. I wanted something short and fun and this fit the bill nicely.The book opens with Turner, a mercenary for hire, who specializes in aggressive corporate recruiting, of a sort. His job involves extracting high value employees from one corporation to another.We then meet Marly, the disgraced former operator of a small art gallery in Paris. She is hired by Herr Josef Virek, an enormously wealthy collector to track down the creator of some rare boxes.Finally we meet Bobby, a young cyber cowboy trying to make a name for himself.How do these three stories relate to one another? I asked myself the same question. The answer was in a fun and easy cyberpunk thriller. I'm looking forward to fitting in Mona Lisa Overdrive at some point soon.
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    “Are you - are you sad?"- No."But your - your songs are sad."- My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.” As one who has watched The Matrix trilogy countless times, and considers it my favorite, and has novelized the piece frame by frame, I'm ecstatic to know the movie belongs in an entire mainstream sub-genre of science fiction. Unfortunately, I will admit, telling the younger generation about cyberpun “Are you - are you sad?"- No."But your - your songs are sad."- My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.” As one who has watched The Matrix trilogy countless times, and considers it my favorite, and has novelized the piece frame by frame, I'm ecstatic to know the movie belongs in an entire mainstream sub-genre of science fiction. Unfortunately, I will admit, telling the younger generation about cyberpunk is like walking into a dance club and doing the "running man." You get laughed at. I hope to make it relevant, adaptable, like evolution. The novel appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (January, 1986), in three parts (also in February and March). Gibson borrowed the term Count Zero from programming language, particularly, Count Zero Interrupt. The term refers to an interrupt in a process bringing the counter to zero. The work unwinds a different pattern than the first in the series, Neuromancer, which I fell in love with: the surrealism, the inner life of narration, the deep and beautiful language, the intimate emotions and perceptions in a cyberspace world. Unlike Neuromancer, most of the second book takes place in the real world and unfolds like an action film in literary language. The war takes place in the corporate world, in the near-future, seven years after the events of the first book, between two multi-corporations, Maas Bio-labs and Hosaka. They wage war for control of a biochip, and hackers manipulate the matrix at the threat of death while others conduct espionage missions that can get gory with lots of guns and explosions.Turner and Angie:Turner, a corporate mercenary, begins his part of the story-threads with an erupting explosion that kills his team. He escapes with Angie Mitchell (first picture above), a young woman and daughter of the partner who hired Turner, Christopher Mitchell, a bio-hacker. Gibson moves at a fast pace, with no previous explanation. The story unfolds as an action novel, however, I appreciate Gibson's literary skill. He has a poetic prose about his writing, reminiscent of the beat poets of a previous generation. Angie, unbeknownst to her, has been implanted with a device giving her direct access into the matrix, without a deck. Sometimes entities will speak through her, a traumatizing experience. Although unstated, it can be inferred she believes she may be possessed by demons who manifest as voodoo gods. This brings out a softer, fatherly side in Turner, which develops over the course of the novel as they flee Josef Virek, who wants the chip to achieve ultimate power.Bobby Newmark:A rookie console cowboy who claims the name Count Zero. We begin with Bobby doing the kind of work Case did in Neuromancer- exploring the matrix, hacking into systems, retrieving information. However, Case has become legend, and Bobby hasn't earned his place yet. A criminal gives him black-market software to hack, using Bobby to test out the equipment, risking his death. Laws have enhanced in the past seven years. Corporations can kill people for hacking without getting into illegal trouble, through AI confrontation. Bobby gets into this situation and almost dies, but a girl made of light releases him and saves him. He flees the house, to Angie, Beauvoir, and Jackie, seekers of voodoo gods in the matrix. Bobby gets hazed as the new kid. His pouting doesn't help. Gibson, I believe, wanted Case and Molly from the first book to be established as legends, with this kid Bobby trying to follow in footsteps of greatness. The characters who played a major part in Neuromancer treat Bobby with the contempt of a veteran to a rookie.Marly Krushkova:Marly once owned an art gallery in Paris. After her lover tricked her into selling forged art, her destroyed reputation left her unemployed and unemployable. Josef Virek hires her to find a collage of boxes made in the style of a man named Joseph Cornell. Virek believes the boxes contain the bio-soft design he wants but leaves Marly unaware. Marly follows a trail of clues on her own to learn about Virek. In the end she sees ascetic value in what the eyes of the rich consider power and control. Where their eyes contort with rage and lust, hers fill with tears of deep emotion.The Connection:The group comes together and hunts down Virek. We discover the voodoo gods originated from the merger of two AI's, Neuromancer and Wintermute from seven years previous. The merged AI has fragmented and the fragments manifest to people as voodoo gods, believing this the best way to relate to humans. Just as in the first novel, these "gods" have set the plot, a manipulation of humanity. The self-exaltation of the AI: does it come from a passion of pride in a sentient being, or a logical conclusion based on comparisons to humanity? If I had artistic skill, I would airbrush an AI looking into a pond. A digital Narcissus comes to mind - a virus. Influence on The Matrix movie:As I mentioned above, I have an affinity with The Matrix. I didn't realize the movie fit into a sub-genre of science fiction. As I read these two books I saw how the Wachowski's weaved a profound story based in elements of cyberpunk. As a self-study student of literature and writing, I hope to find a similar path for today's culture. For those interested in cyberpunk, I plan to post links to information I'm assimilating in writing projects. I found a site in my research, providing an extensive lists of cyberpunk works, as well as a multitude of other sub-genres.http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/tag.cgi?11“Once, there was nothing there, nothing moving on its own, just data and people shuffling it around. Then something happened, and it . . . it knew itself. . . And after that, it sort of split off into different parts of itself, and I think the parts are the others, the bright ones. But it’s hard to tell, because they don’t tell it with words, exactly. . .” William Gibson, Count Zero.
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  • Nate D
    January 1, 1970
    My problem with a lot of genre fiction is that when not wholly unimaginative, it is often too restrained and quasi-literary to take full advantage of the opportunities open to it. Not so here. Gibson shows a rare willingness to plunge as far into his crazed techno-mythology as I could reasonably hope. Haitian gods manifesting (or seeming to manifest) in lost corners of the internet, megacorporations more powerful than nations which have all but ceased to exist, rewired brains and bodies, and pil My problem with a lot of genre fiction is that when not wholly unimaginative, it is often too restrained and quasi-literary to take full advantage of the opportunities open to it. Not so here. Gibson shows a rare willingness to plunge as far into his crazed techno-mythology as I could reasonably hope. Haitian gods manifesting (or seeming to manifest) in lost corners of the internet, megacorporations more powerful than nations which have all but ceased to exist, rewired brains and bodies, and pilgrimage to the broken chapels of scuttled spacecraft. Some definite plots holes and inconsistencies, but this is first-rate pulp anyway, lurching directly between startling inventions and pushing creative license as far as needed.
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  • Nick Wellings
    January 1, 1970
    How can a book so lovingly crafted, so self-assured in its own 'cosmology' so full of verve and relentless hard-boiled action, so chock full of fantastic prose feel so...dated? Is it because Gibson's "Matrix" has been realised in film-form full of spangly graphics and gunfights and cod-philosophy? because his immersive cyberspace has become something like our reality? because the digital is integrated into our lives, become drug of choice for men, women and children by the millions? After all, t How can a book so lovingly crafted, so self-assured in its own 'cosmology' so full of verve and relentless hard-boiled action, so chock full of fantastic prose feel so...dated? Is it because Gibson's "Matrix" has been realised in film-form full of spangly graphics and gunfights and cod-philosophy? because his immersive cyberspace has become something like our reality? because the digital is integrated into our lives, become drug of choice for men, women and children by the millions? After all, the online game 'EVE Online' now has a staff economist ensuring its in-game currency stays stable, the unit "ISK" is relied upon by half a million gamers in their quest in the dominance of space (the game runs on servers in Iceland, and is one of the biggest economic export of THEIR economy. In 2010 it won the award for the country's biggest export). Recently a massive confederacy of spaceships came together to destroy one player's space station which was valued at $11,000*. Yes, he had spent that much real money on an in-game commodity. Now we have BitCoin, an entirely digital virtual currency, and it trades as if it were a real-world currency. (But then again, isn't it all just numbers?) Gibson's characters are as deeply embedded in their digital ecosystem as us, but for purposes of presentation, they encounter it as a true virtual reality (and indeed a lot of their leisure time is spent subsisting in it.) So Corporation databanks are seen in the matrix as monolithic towering structures (think Tron) surrounded by "ice", the slang for data protection structures - the firewalls and hacker deterrents we are all familiar with from our desktop PCs. I think this feels dated because the idea of data-as-structure is so 1980s. I just can't help thinking of Tron and a little later, Lawnmower Man. It may well be that in years to come we'll cruise around these virtual worlds, jacked in by brain, but at the minute that dream is tainted by the legacy of recent enthusiasms proven premature. (Jaron Lanier has a lot to answer for, and has recently admitted as much.)But back to Count Zero: I approached with an open mind, I loved Neuromancer a lot when I first read it, but C-Zero, published four years after it, Gibson's whole aesthetic feels tired. There are a few elements to this feeling. Some of the prose, so lean and pared down sounds preposterously po-faced. One can imagine sax-on-synth pad background music a la Bladerunner, playing under some of the characters mirror-shaded utterances, it all feels self-stereotyped and self-reverential. Worse, some of the dialogue is so cluttered with neologisms, acronyms and coinages, as to read like gibberish. Now, I am quite tolerant of this, I understand what Gibson's characters are saying (mainly, usually, just about) but the problem I have is Gibson's total investment of neologism with force of meaning. This is a necessary evil: to invest his universe with something like verisimilitude and believability, Gibson has to make his people speak like people of the time, and slang is integral to how people converse in and transact their worlds. Going full force with this does work, we feel immersed, but because slang is specific to a trade or subgroup (nowhere more than techspeak slang) we feel also bludgeoned by the strangeness of it - part and parcel of Gibson's technique. However, the repetitive nature of it, its quest for mimetic weight makes the jargon/slang wearing, it shows its thinness of reality by its over-application. Sadly I also had problems with some plot-points. The appropriation of "Voodoo" practice is a deliberate attempt to address issues of cultural convergence and an aesthetic device designed to surprise. As an aesthetic idea: the world of mysticism meets the world of technology, (deriving import from clash of opposites - incongruity as plot spur.) I imagine also Gibson realised the world was increasingly becoming a 'global village' and relativising fast: cultural cross fertilisation on the increase, Gibson's shady multi-national corporations a facet of this. Lastly, and here's a spoiler, when it is revealed that the maker of the intricate art-work which the heroine's been tasked to find is actually a robot on the moon, I sort of sighed a little. Fancy that, an AI machine gifted with artistic sentiment! so that we may explore issues surrounding personhood, self, art, and so on. Which Gibson really doesn't, which would feel out of place, so he leaves it hanging there hoping we'll make think it profound. Even so, the whole storyline (find a box, find the maker is an AI) felt a bit flat to me. Sorry William! But just to re-iterate: good writing in general, gone stale. Shame!* The ship was worth 309 billion ISK. http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/ar...
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    This is the middle book of the Sprawl Trilogy by Gibson (in between Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive), and my absolute favorite. The other two are largely action-based, and this one had a lot of that but also a lot of beautiful descriptions, somewhat mystically-oriented plotlines, and it really drew me in, probably because I'm no stranger to cyberspace myself. I really loved the ending, so much that I re-read it twice before moving on."Bobby had been trying to chart a way out of this landscap This is the middle book of the Sprawl Trilogy by Gibson (in between Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive), and my absolute favorite. The other two are largely action-based, and this one had a lot of that but also a lot of beautiful descriptions, somewhat mystically-oriented plotlines, and it really drew me in, probably because I'm no stranger to cyberspace myself. I really loved the ending, so much that I re-read it twice before moving on."Bobby had been trying to chart a way out of this landscape since the day he was born, or anyway it felt that way.""As I luxuriate in the discovery that I am no special sponge for sorrow, but merely another fallible animal in this stone maze of a city, I come simultaneously to see that I am the focus of some vast device fueled by an obscure desire.""Thrones and dominions,' the Finn said obscurely. 'Yeah, there's things out there. Ghosts, voices. Why not? Oceans had mermaids, all that shit, and we had a sea of silicon, see? Sure, it's just a tailored hallucination we all agreed to have, cyberspace, but anybody who jacks in knows, fucking knows it's a whole universe. And every year it gets a little more crowded.'""The sinister thing about a simstim construct, really, was that it carried the suggestion that any environment might be unreal, that the windows of the shopfronts she passed now with Andrea might be figments.""Sprawltown's a twisty place, my man. Things are seldom what they seem.""My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells."
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  • P
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been seven years since the events of Neuromancer . Neuromancer and Wintermute have “become one” and subsequently splintered into multiple AIs. Some make deals with humans, some manipulate them, and some even create art a la Joseph Cornell. Meanwhile, the zaibatsu are at war. Since the dissolution of Tessier-Ashpool S.A., Josef Virek, around whom the plot turns, is now the wealthiest living individual, as rich as a zaibatsu, an anachronism in an age of megacorporate structures. In fact, he’ It’s been seven years since the events of Neuromancer . Neuromancer and Wintermute have “become one” and subsequently splintered into multiple AIs. Some make deals with humans, some manipulate them, and some even create art a la Joseph Cornell. Meanwhile, the zaibatsu are at war. Since the dissolution of Tessier-Ashpool S.A., Josef Virek, around whom the plot turns, is now the wealthiest living individual, as rich as a zaibatsu, an anachronism in an age of megacorporate structures. In fact, he’s so exceedingly rich as to be “no longer even remotely human.” On the whole, this novel provides a better glimpse than its predecessor of how shitty a late capitalist future will be. Perhaps this explains why it’s not nearly as widely read. Or maybe because it’s not as much fun. The story follows three individuals: a disgraced art dealer, a merc with a soft side, and a would-be console jockey from the Sprawl, along with a host of secondary characters. Gibson doesn’t have a great talent for writing compelling, emotionally dynamic characters. Unfortunately for Count Zero, the background isn’t much stronger. Where Neuromancer jacks you straight into its world and won’t let go, this story – like the Cornell boxes so prominent in its telling – is filled with a bit too much miscellaneous crap.
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  • Gray
    January 1, 1970
    "Eyes open, he pulled the thing from his socket and held it, his palm slick with sweat. It was like waking from a nightmare. Not a screamer, where impacted fears took on simple, terrible shapes, but the sort of dream, infinitely more disturbing, where everything is utterly wrong ..." (p.30)Count Zero is the second book in Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy. It is not a direct sequel to Neuromancer, but it does develop some of the themes and ideas Gibson used in his seminal first novel. It’s a more mature, "Eyes open, he pulled the thing from his socket and held it, his palm slick with sweat. It was like waking from a nightmare. Not a screamer, where impacted fears took on simple, terrible shapes, but the sort of dream, infinitely more disturbing, where everything is utterly wrong ..." (p.30)Count Zero is the second book in Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy. It is not a direct sequel to Neuromancer, but it does develop some of the themes and ideas Gibson used in his seminal first novel. It’s a more mature, more ambitious work than Neuromancer, telling the stories of three main characters: Turner, a mercenary-for-hire; Bobby, a young console-cowboy; and Marly, a former art gallery owner.Like its predecessor, Count Zero is not an easy read. Gibson has no time for info-dumps, being a proponent of the “show, don’t tell” school of storytelling. This means we are dropped into the middle of the author’s universe and need to hit the ground running as we try to keep up. It can be challenging at times, and may require a few re-reads of parts of the book, but it is so worth it. Another brilliant piece of speculative fiction by Gibson. I can't wait for Mona Lisa Overdrive next.
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  • Adam Koebel
    January 1, 1970
    Not the cohesive piece of ground-breakery that Neuromancer was, obviously, but really cool anyway. I love how computer-ignorant Gibson's early stuff is. The idea of a cyberdeck with software on cassette tapes? Amazing.Also, best new thing to say about a person once they're dead: "He was - he was a dude."
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