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Zero History [Hardcover]

William Gibson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 17.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Sep 2010

Former rock singer Hollis Henry has lost a lot of money in the crash, which means she can't turn down the offer of a job from Hubertus Bigend, sinister Belgian proprietor of mysterious ad agency Blue Ant. Milgrim is working for Bigend too. Bigend admires the ex-addict's linguistic skills and street knowledge so much that he's even paid for his costly rehab. So together Hollis and Milgrim are at the front line of Bigend's attempts to get a slice of the military budget, and they gradually realize he has some very dangerous competitors. Which is not a great thought when you don't much trust your boss either.

Gibson's new novel, set largely in London, spookily captures the paranoia and fear of our post-Crash times.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780670919529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670919529
  • ASIN: 0670919527
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, with Bruce Sterling, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties and Pattern Recognition. William Gibson lives in Vancouver, Canada. His latest novel, published by Penguin, is Spook Country (2007).

Product Description


"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 " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

William Gibson first novel Neuromancer sold more than six million copies worldwide. In an earlier short story, Gibson had coined the phrase 'cyberspace', and he developed the concept in the novel, creating an iconography for the Information Age long before widespread use of the Internet. Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive completed his first trilogy.

He has since written six further novels, moving gradually away from science fiction and futuristic work, instead writing about the strange contemporary world we inhabit. His most recent novels are Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, both available in Penguin.

He was born in South Carolina but has lived in Vancouver, Canada for many years.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A big end to the Blue Ant trilogy? 30 Aug 2010
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Zero History is the third of Gibson's books to feature the Blue Ant ad agency and continues to explore issues of branding, marketing, technology and cutting edge cool in a fast moving and entertaining thriller.

It's almost obligatory when writing anything about William Gibson to recall that in an earlier short story, he invented the term 'cyberspace'. Gibson remains at the cutting edge of what is 'cool. Like most of his books, Zero History is a thriller, but at its core are issues surrounding technology, how we interact with it, branding and marketing. It would be easy to criticise much of his content as being too shallow and concerned with 'nothing' - but then that's part of his point.

Gibson also has a history of writing in trilogies - and this is indeed the third of his books to deal with the mysterious Blue Ant ad agency run by the gloriously named Hubertus Bigend. But equally, it stands perfectly on its own and no prior familiarity is required with the other two books (Pattern Recognition and Spook Country).

Although set firmly in the present, Gibson writes about cutting edge issues that gives his books an almost science fiction feel, and if you are a fan of some of the lighter sci fi genre, then you will find much to enjoy here. There's plenty of gadgets and no small amount of humour.

At the heart of this thriller is a subject that is, at first, unexpected; namely a secret brand of denim jeans, known as The Gabriel Hounds.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zero history - three stars 11 Nov 2010
By John Tierney VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Only 3 stars for this I'm afraid. I'm a massive fan of Gibson's (ground-breaking) SF work, but I haven't much liked the Blue Ant novels (Pattern Recognition and Spook County) and this is the weakest of the trilogy. Set in contemporary London it follows Hollis Henry and Milgrim (both of whom appear in Spook County, but this book can be read standalone) as they follow the trail of iconic new fashion at the behest of the enigmatic Hubertus Bigend.
I thought the English stuff was fairly well done in terms of location and dialect, but the plot didn't really engage me and I found it somewhat confusing at times. There is something (big) that Bigend really wants, but it's hidden away and almost inconsequential.
Having said that there is some excellent writing: "[The Neo phone]....was also prone to something Sleight called "kernel panic" which caused it to freeze and need to be restarted, a condition Milgrim himself had been instantly inclined to identify with."; "Milgrim....was caught in some frustrating loop of semi-sleep, slow and circular, in which exhaustion swung him slowly out, toward where sleep should surely have been, then overshot the mark somehow..."; And my favourite: "These were, she gathered, private internets, unlicensed and unpoliced, and Garreth had once remarked that, as with dark matter and the universe, the darknets were probably the bulk of the thing, were there any way to accurately measure them."
And there are good ideas - not so much the fashion stuff for me, but the "Order Flow" is clever and the idea of the hideous T-shirt having an impact on surveillance is wonderful - although both of these ideas are credited to others in the acknowledgements.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely prose, daft plot. 1 Jan 2011
More and more, Mr Gibson seems to want his writing to be pure description
- of surfaces, technology, objects, streets. On this level alone, his books are always worth reading, often attaining a sort of rhapsodic, dreamlike quality.

The trouble with the 'Blue Ant' trilogy, for me, is this prose has been built onto increasingly flimsy and unconvincing narratives, populated by vague, sketched-out characters. (The lead character, Hollis Henry, is supposedly some sort of cool-divining savant, but in this book at least shows almost no abilities beyond being able to order coffee in Selfridge's Food Hall. And, to the extent 'coolhunters' actually exist in reality, are they so well paid as freelancers that they can afford vast second homes in glamourous foreign locations? Sort of doubt it.)

But I digress. This time, Hubertus Bigend wants our two heroes to research an obscure Japanese clothing brand to aid his bid to manufacture clothing for the US Military. A fairly unpreposessing idea or what's nominally a thriller, you must admit, and so it proves as the protagonists sit round in obessively-decribed London cafes eating obsessively-described food whilst having conversations about jeans and the colour green,whilst what little plot there is advances at the speed of a glacier, though to be honest it's pretty difficult to care what happens anyway.

So, if your a Gibson fan, I'd get this for the prose..but maybe wait for the paperback. If your new to him ,this isn't the best start.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a great
as always, a great story
Published 1 month ago by Nabil
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book but poor reading
I won't say too much about the quality of the actual book which was OK... Not one of Gibson's best by any means but engaging enough with some interesting ideas. However... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. J. Dubery
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent finale to enjoyable series
Nice pace. Interesting twists, clever ideas. Engaging characters. Milgrim especially although I don't get the significance of the zero history. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jason Ayers
2.0 out of 5 stars really hard reading
first book i read from William Gibson and probably the last, as the book lacks flow and consistency when it reaches the climax
Published 10 months ago by F. Gamero
5.0 out of 5 stars Cultural commentary - travelling is better than arriving
If you view Gibson novels in this vein they are excellent, and he can't write them quick enough. As novels, the narrative often falls away at the end, in a rush to wrap up loose... Read more
Published 13 months ago by IanW
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic finisher
Gibson closes the Blue Ant trilogy with style, bringing his sparse, frugal but incredibly descriptive style to bear on yet another surpising aspect of the world we inhabit. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ilkka Laukkanen
1.0 out of 5 stars Bored
I had three main issues with this novel.

Firstly, it's without doubt the dullest book that I've ever read - as other reviewers have already pointed out, you can read... Read more
Published 16 months ago by bobbsyw
4.0 out of 5 stars Neuromarketeer
Zero History is the third novel in William Gibson's sequence involving the octopus like Blue Ant PR agency, and its vaguely sinister owner, Hubertus Bigend. Read more
Published 18 months ago by P. G. Harris
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
If you're a fan of sci fi and the majority of Gibsons novels then you may well find this disappointing. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vivid Dream
You could read this book.

Or you could open it, hold it over your head, give it a bit of a shake and let a stream of beautiful words, colours and feelings pour all over... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kyberia
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