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4.4 out of 5 stars25
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2004
First realise that this is the 2nd book of a trilogy that is "Neuromancer", "Count Zero" and "Mona Lisa Overdrive". I don't advice reading this until you've read Neuromancer and have got into the whole cyberpunk vocabulary.
The plots in the storyline are deliciously challenging to unravel and Gibson certainly doesn't spoon-feed you all the threads that intertwine everything. I think putting everything together took me 24 hours after finishing the book.
The secret (and illegal by Turing police rules) unification of two AI's called Wintermute and Neuromancer has left unexplained entities in the matrix - "Yeah, there's things out there, Ghosts, voices. Why not? Oceans had mermaids, and we have a sea of silicon, see?" These matrix "voodoo gods" are referred to as the "loa" by Wig, Beauvoir, Lucas and their associates (who basically worship them). The problem is that the "loa" have found a way to inhabit the real world by designing biochips and having them grafted into people's brains. This technology provokes the interest of one of the richest men in the world who is seeking to free his mind from his cancer-ridden body. The resulting power struggle pulls the strings of all the pawns that are characters in the book. Read it, you might see what I mean?
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 27 September 2007
I have read this masterpiece (together with the other two of the Sprawl series: NEUROMANCER and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE) during my university years, about a decade ago. Since then I have re-read it countless times.

Of the three this is my favorite: good and evil voodoo legbas as AI cyberspace avatars; life in the Sprawl comes into focus, sharply. The eye-watering smog and the ozone smell of new electronics surround a storyline that moves on deserted highways with the assurance of an armored hovercraft..

Even reading only some pages brings up powerful imagery, unforgettable prose...

Start with Neuromancer. Then this one. And then Mona Lisa Overdrive.

A Masterpiece Trilogy!!! Own them all!!!
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on 17 October 2010
After his excellent early short stories (one of them, New Rose Hotel, seems like the prototype for one of the plot strands in this book) and the brilliant Neuromancer, Gibson serves up a disappointment.

The first problem with this novel is how long it takes to get going. The three plot lines are so disparate and equally slow to get going that it makes the first half of the book something of a bore. It's not terrible or anything but I did keep wondering, "When will this get going?" And why was I supposed to care, for most of the book, about Virek's hunt for the box maker? Sometimes there was very little to go on.

This feeling is made worse by the fact that Gibson develops his characters so little. Neuromancer wasn't overflowing with character development but it moved at pace and the cast were at least cool or edgy. Here they're all rather bland and what was there to really like about the titular Count Zero?

On the plus side, I enjoyed seeing the consequences of Neuromancer play out here and Gibson keeps the amount of time spent in the matrix to a minimum (a positive because sometimes he doesn't express himself clearly enough when describing time spent jacked in).

So, not great, but it does set the ground for the final instalment of this trilogy, Mona Lisa Overdrive.
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on 8 January 2012
An amazingly prescient piece of writing. Here's a story from the stone age of microcomputing (think Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore, Atari), yet it anticipates many of the trends we see today. And it's not just a techie book; it's structured with real assurance, and the language occasionally verges on the sublime (particularly when Gibson's describing light or colour). This is a book which belongs in the sci-fi canon. I don't give five stars, on principle, but if I did...
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on 16 October 1999
I loved Neuromancer, but found some of it too much of an information overload, and some of it a little too baroque and "out there". (I'm sure those don't even count as criticisms, when you're talking about Gibson). I found Count Zero just a little tighter, with a slightly stronger narrative, without sacrificing anything in the way of character, imagination, or Gibson's realisation of the Sprawl.
It was great to see Sally Shears back, and the Count was a fine young successor to the Matrix jockeys of the first book in the Sprawl Trilogy. The main plot of the hard-bitten defection specialist and the girl with biological computer implants was woven beautifully with all the other strands. What is in effect a three-pronged story line never lost focus for a second and still managed to take the reader off into a disturbing, worrying and yet enthralling new reality with the creatures out in the Matrix.
This is Gibson's best book, and up there with the best Sci Fi and best thrillers and crime books I have ever read. If there's any justice Ridley Scott will be given $150 million to film this with total creative control (and Gibson writing the screenplay).
Top marks.
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on 22 February 2016
"Count Zero" along with "Neuromancer" shows a young William Gibson at his finest. The second in William Gibson's Cyberspace triology, "Count Zero" is a spellbinding look at the interactions between art and computer technology. It sizzles with crisply written prose that is state of the art high tech poetry. Gibson's tale adroitly weaves three intersecting plots. The hero Turner, a corporate mercenary, barely survives an assassination attempt in the novel's electrifying opening before embarking on a quest that will have unexpected consequences for himself and a young woman he rescues. Marly, a disgraced former art gallery owner, finds herself working for the Howard Hughes of her age. And Bobby Newmark, aka "Count Zero" finds himself mixed up with Haitian vodou gods lurking in cyberspace. Somehow their paths will intersect via Gibson's terse, poetic prose. Those interested in reading exceptional Gibson and cyberpunk fiction won't be disappointed.
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on 8 March 2013
I have just read this twice back to back. There are multiple levels of allusion that I recognized, and I am sure I didnt get them all. The hindu creation myths get a look in to explain/describe the cyberspace becoming/containing a self aware entity. Voudou traditions are brought in as being used as a conceptual interface for communications between the newly evolved self aware entity/entities and humans.
And there are a number of allusions to hacking, coding and human/computer/cyberspace interfaces that are nothing like we know today. But I read this in the same week that scientists have managed to get rats to communicate with each other over the internet using implants. William Gibson may be in that line of writers able to travel into the distant future using his imagination. Future generations will know. We can only enjoy and speculate. Thank you for the journey, Mr Gibson!
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I read this a long time after Neuromancer, so some of the echoes from that first part of the trilogy were somewhat faint, but I found it very easy to get back into Gibson's disturbingly compelling world. The contrast between the three main protagonists and their (at first separate, then increasingly connected) stories is well-done, and the the allusiveness of the plot still gives you plenty to think about after the book is over.
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on 8 November 2014
I just read in the paper today that it had been 30 years since Neuromancer and this is a worthy follow up. Even though I got it in paperback years ago I still couldn't remember what happened. A splendid blend of high tech and thriller - what Gibson is really good at. If you like your SF about what could happen in the near future on Earth (or close by) rather than in the far reaches of space, this book - and his others like it ( Neuromancer and Mona Lisa overdrive) are the ones for you.
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on 26 December 2012
Gibson's tale of a future internet still seems remarkably fresh and prophetic nearly 30 years after its first publication. Characterization is spot on and the high octane thriller unfolds at a relentless pace. The three interlinked story lines converge seamlessly on the finale in which Gibson manages to tie (nearly) everything together in a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.
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