Sunday, September 26, 2010

Zero History (Bigend, #3)Zero History by William Gibson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Following up on its immediate predecessors, Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, Zero History, once again revolving around the machinations of bleeding-edge marketing guru Hubertus Bigend as he manipulates a motley assortment of oddballs into tracking down what he perceives as the Next Big Thing -- in this case the designer of a line of clothing so exclusive no one knows their identity. Various characters from the previous books reappear, such as former rock singer-turned-journalist Hollis Henry, now ex-junkie translater Milgrim, and someone I can't name without ruining the surprise, but the book is less a sequel than a sort of remix or variation on a theme.

The book has the brisk pace and convoluted plot of a techno-thriller, which may seem like overkill given that it's basically about dungarees -- a decided come-down from the near-apocalyptic stakes of Gibson's earlier novels like Neuromancer, but damn if the guy doesn't pull it off. His gift for language is as strong as ever, with his patented mix of world-weary noirish romanticism and keen eye for the way technology informs and permeates contemporary life (this is a novel about people who interact via iPhones and Twitter as though there's no difference between that and "meatspace" contact") honed to an edge as sharp as one of Molly's razors.

[Note: I would be remiss in not pointing out that the novel's fictional clothing line, "Gabriel Hounds" is taken from the same piece of British folklore as my nom de blog.]

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