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Count Zero

2 Ratings: 2.5
A book by William Gibson

Turner, corporate mercenary, wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him for a mission more dangerous than the one he's recovering from: Maas-Neotek's chief of R&D is defecting. Turner is the … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: William Gibson
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Ace Trade
1 review about Count Zero

Why do I keep doing this to myself???

  • Feb 28, 2008
I don't know why I keep doing this to myself. I run across a William Gibson novel, this time Count Zero. It's cyberpunk, so I know I like the genre. I remembered long ago liking Neuromancer. But then I check back on my last ten years of reading logs and find that I've consistently given Gibson 2's and 3's on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high). But I'm sure it'll be different this time... And once again, the answer is no. Love the writing, love the images, and am absolutely and totally lost when it comes to the plot (or what passes for one). I guess I'm just not sophisticated enough to "get it".

This mercenary is brought back into play by an agent to recover a coveted scientist from a rival company. The mercenary is actually "regrown" as he was blown to bits in a prior mission. But now he's back and pretty much a new person. But at the time the scientist is supposed to rendezvous with the extraction team, things go to pieces. And instead of the scientist, he actually sent out his daughter. Meanwhile in plotline #2, a woman is hired by an extremely rich individual to trace down the maker of a certain art item... a box of seemingly random items. But the rich guy is actually kept alive in an ever-expanding vat of chemicals while he apparently tries to figure out a way to inhabit a healthy body. And plotline #3 involves some guy who is a cowboy hacker and nearly gets killed running an online incursion using some unfamiliar security software that a friend asked him to try out. During his escape, he lost the software in his software deck when he was mugged. And now a number of murky characters really need to get that software back before bad things happen. And somehow, all three of these plotlines come together at the end. Just don't ask me to explain it, as it was beyond me...

Gibson can paint a cyperpunk scene better than nearly anyone. His contraptions and constructs aren't always explained, so you often have to keep reading, assuming that you'll piece it together later. Where I consistently come up short with his writing is with the story-line. As in, I don't get them, they're extremely obtuse, and you have to be either way smarter than I am or a complete sci-fi geek to understand. I'll admit to not doing "subtle" well, but "subtle" would be a step up in clarity for this book. I kept reading as I loved the imagery, but I knew about halfway through that I wasn't going to understand one of the plots at all, nor was I likely to get the ending, whatever it may turn out to be. I was right...

I won't argue with the conventional wisdom that Gibson is a master of the cyberpunk genre. I'm just sorry that, at least for me, the story-lines don't match up with the quality of the imagery.

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