My Review of Count Zero, by William Gibson

I know I'm probably going to rattle a few people's cages by saying this, but I found Count Zero to be remarkably dense and a bit difficult to get into. It revolves around three POV characters, Bobby (Count Zero) a young street-rat type with a talent for "running the net", Marly a corporate agent, and Turner, a mercenary. The three are all drawn into the same corporate plot as it touches and destroys life as they know it.

The biggest problem I have with Count Zero is that William Gibson's world is a little too full of color and culture. Having a fully fleshed out world is a good thing, but here elements seem to fly in without preparation, background, or explanation throughout the book. One of the good exceptions to this was how he wove the Loa (gods of the Voodoo religion) into the culture of those living the cybernetic lifestyle. The thought of the "ghosts in the machine" or AI's taking on the personalities of human gods and spirits was a nice twist that added a unique flavor to the story. Unfortunately, most of the other elements were not so well introduced or explained. It made it a big hard to follow what was going on, and whereas I can appreciate sharing a character's confusion at events they don't understand, I did not appreciate the sense I had of not knowing what the relevance of certain things were even within fifty pages of the end.

Still, for a book that's nearly twenty-five years old, and shows it (there was no attempt to predict what world powers might be different in the future, the Japanese and the Germans pretty much own the world in William Gibson's universe which dates the work to the American fears of the 1980's), the story holds up fairly well. I just found that I couldn't really get into it as much as I would have liked. I enjoyed Neuromancer much more, though I can't pin down exactly why.


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