Monday, January 3, 2011

Zero History by William Gibson

Zero HistoryIt's difficult, sometimes, to know what to say about Gibson's work. Since Neuromancer came out, over a quarter century ago, Gibson has introduced us to strange versions of a near future, highly imaginative, yet so closely linked to our own times that it is often difficult to tell the difference.

While reading his latest, Zero History, I sometimes found myself stopping and wondering, "Wait a second, does this bit of technology actually exist right now?" Some days, the line between fantasy and reality gets a little thin.

Gibson returns the characters Bigend, Milgrim and Hollis Henry to the big screen here. Hollis falls on hard times, due to a crash of her money market accounts (sound familiar?), and finds herself working for Bigend again, trying to discover the originators of some extremely rare and avant-garde clothing line, known as Gabriel Hounds. Milgrim has been rescued from his drug addiction by Bigend, and is also working for him, trying to gain entry into the lucrative military supply business.

There's not a whole lot of action and adventure in this plot, and it seems at times that the characters spend a great deal of time just wandering around London or Paris, looking at odd architecture, decor, or fashion, which Gibson describes in his inimitable way. Some of the supporting cast are more fun than the featured actors, such as the motorcycle courier, Fiona, who seems to have taken a shine to poor, clueless, Milgrim, and Hollis' bff, Heidi, who is absolutely deadly at dart games.

A couple of great quotes:

"Addictions, he thought,...started out like magical pets, pocket monsters. The did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn't seen, were fun. But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you. Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions. And they were, his therapist in Basel had said, less intelligent than goldfish."

"I just emailed the number to someone, and they're tellling me the GPS is very amusing. Unless you've taken up marathon randomized teleportation."

And a final quote I know all you readers will love:

"Reading, his therapist had suggested, had likely been his first drug."

1 comment:

La Toya said...

Haha, I walked by this one yesterday at the bookstore and was wondering how it would be. Thanks for the review!