In Zero History, William Gibson continues his deconstruction of postmodern corporate and artistic life, making 2010 an unrecognizable future-present through the use of completely recognizable settings, people, and things. Instead of the "screw you" attitude of his early cyberpunk stories, we now get a "we're all screwed" kind of a world, and the story is fun enough that we can't really disagree. Recommended By Douglas, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The new novel from William Gibson, one of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working. (Boston Globe
Hollis Henry worked for the global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend once before. She never meant to repeat the experience. But she's broke, and Bigend never feels it's beneath him to use whatever power comes his way — in this case, the power of money to bring Hollis onto his team again. Not that she knows what the team is up to, not at first.
Milgrim is even more thoroughly owned by Bigend. He's worth owning for his useful gift of seeming to disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic — so much so that he spoke Russian with his therapist, in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of the addiction that would have killed him.
Garreth has a passion for extreme sports. Most recently he jumped off the highest building in the world, opening his chute at the last moment, and he has a new thighbone made of rattan baked into bone, entirely experimental, to show for it. Garreth isn't owned by Bigend at all. Garreth has friends from whom he can call in the kinds of favors that a man like Bigend will find he needs, when things go unexpectedly sideways, in a world a man like Bigend is accustomed to controlling.
As when a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy that even Bigend, whose subtlety and power in the private sector would be hard to overstate, finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift in a seriously dangerous world.
"Opposing forces contend violently over what are in the end ephemeral trivialities, the minutiae of modern fashion, in Gibson's quirky tale of 21st-century brand positioning. The attention of eccentric financial genius Hubertus Bigend, seen previously in Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, has landed on military fashion, a field he believes is immune to the vagaries of the market. When an unusual pair of mil-chic trousers raises the possibility that the anonymous designer is copying Bigend's new obsession, Bigend dispatches his team of talented amateurs to investigate the source of the suspiciously au courant trousers. Bigend's competition turns out to be none other than Michael Preston Gracie, an ex-military officer whose unwarranted self-confidence is rivaled only by his ruthlessness. Gibson's style has become even more distilled, more austere, since his science fiction days. Inanimate objects and, in particular, the brands of those objects, are more fully illuminated than the characters using those brands. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Highly textured, brilliantly evocative prose and stunning insights...into what we perceive as the present moment.... Unsettling and memorable." Kirkus Reviews
"In typical Gibson fashion, the tension builds incrementally through 87 well-plotted chapters of disorienting strangeness....Remarkably, it isn't necessary to know the previous novels to appreciate Zero History. That seems to be the point. 'Zero history' means having no past, no depth." The Oregonian
"[A]nother smartly scouted roadmap of alternate routes through today's global culture....Cutting-edge technology still plays a key role throughout Zero History...but, more than in any of Gibson's previous novels, it's in service of the characters." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"His eye for the eerie in the everyday still lends events an otherworldly sheen."
-The New Yorker
"Gibson's ability to hit the sweet spot of cutting-edge culture is uncanny."
-The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A writer who can conjure the numinous out of the quotidian."
-The Washington Post Book World
"William Gibson can craft sentences of uncanny beauty, and is our great poet of crowds."
-San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle
is his best yet, a triumph of science fiction as social criticism and adventure."—BoingBoing.net
“[Gibson] weaves an unnerving tapestry of technology, violence and anxiety.”—The Daily Telegraph (London) “Fascinating.”—The Seattle Times “Uncanny.”—San Antonio Express-News “Brilliant, entertaining, and bittersweet.”—io9 (io9.com)
“Zero History is another smartly scouted roadmap of alternate routes through today’s global culture, as powered by what a friend of mine used to call the military-industrial-greeting-card complex. It’s a world where cool is king, but also the key to power—and the future.”—Milwaukee Sentinel Journal
Praise for The Peripheral
"Spectacular, a piece of trenchant, far-future speculation that features all the eyeball kicks of Neuromancer and all the maturity and sly wit of Spook Country. Its brilliant." —Cory Doctorow
Praise for William Gibson
“To read Gibson is to read the present as if it were the future.” —The New York Times “Gibsons radar is deftly tuned to the changes in the culture that many of us are missing.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working.” —The Boston Globe “Like Pynchon and DeLillo, Gibson excels at pinpointing the hidden forces that shape our world.” —Details
The iconic visionary returns with his first new novel since the New York Times
bestseller Spook Country
Whatever you do, because you are an artist, will bring you to the next thing of your own...
When she sang for The Curfew, Hollis Henry's face was known worldwide. She still runs into people who remember the poster. Unfortunately, in the post-crash economy, cult memorabilia doesn't pay the rent, and right now she's a journalist in need of a job. The last person she wants to work for is Hubertus Bigend, twisted genius of global marketing; but there's no way to tell an entity like Bigend that you want nothing more to do with him. That simply brings you more firmly to his attention.
Milgrim is clean, drug-free for the first time in a decade. It took eight months in a clinic in Basel. Fifteen complete changes of his blood. Bigend paid for all that. Milgrim's idiomatic Russian is superb, and he notices things. Meanwhile no one notices Milgrim. That makes him worth every penny, though it cost Bigend more than his cartel-grade custom-armored truck.
The culture of the military has trickled down to the street — Bigend knows that, and he'll find a way to take a cut. What surprises him though is that someone else seems to be on top of that situation in a way that Bigend associates only with himself. Bigend loves staring into the abyss of the global market; he's just not used to it staring back.
When she sang for The Curfew, Hollis Henry's face was known worldwide, but in the post-crash economy, she's a journalist in need of a job. The last person she wants to work for is Hubertus Bigend, twisted genius of global marketing, but there's no way to tell an entity like Bigend that you want nothing more to do with him.
About the Author
William Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and the Nebula Award in 1984. He is credited with having coined the term "cyberspace," and having envisioned both the Internet and virtual reality before either existed. His other novels include All Tomorrow's Parties, Idoru, Virtual Light, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and Count Zero. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and two children.