Count Zero

Count Zero

by William Gibson

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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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 one assigned to get him out intact, along with the biochip he's perfected. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties—some of whom aren't remotely human.

Bobby Newmark is entirely human: a rustbelt data-hustler totally unprepared for what comes his way when the defection triggers war in cyberspace. With voodoo on the Net and a price on his head, Newmark thinks he's only trying to get out alive. Until he meets the angel.

A stylish, streetsmart, frighteningly probable parable of the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441117734
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1987
Series: Sprawl Trilogy Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 77,976
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Gibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of Count ZeroBurning ChromeMona Lisa OverdriveVirtual LightIdoruAll Tomorrow’s PartiesPattern RecognitionSpook CountryZero HistoryDistrust That Particular Flavor, The Peripheral, and Agency. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Date of Birth:

March 17, 1948

Place of Birth:

Conway, South Carolina


B.A., University of British Columbia, 1977

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Count Zero 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another word twisting Gibson story that is at times hard to follow. Told in a 3 part perspective, be ready to jump around from character to character. Good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
much like all of his work you have to know cyberpunk to trully apreciate it. This is a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this twenty years ago. It was great then. It still is.
Arctic-Stranger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is hard to remember when this was new and fresh. Now even my grandmother is jacked in, albeit not with her frontal lobes. Gibson does manage to capture the early days of the cyber movement really well, and tells a good story to boot. A younger person may read it and gawk at the simplistic technology, but could be drawn into the novel because of the plot. Gibson is short on character development though. That, to me is is his one flaw. I find his characters mildy interesting, but I would not want to take any of them home with me.
elenchus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Count Zero is the beginning of Gibson's signature approach, used solidly through the next 2 trilogies: set up three largely independent stories, then interleave chapters from each until events and characters converge. It's as though he's blended three novellas linked by a common denouement but very little else prior to that point.Gibson's plotting is more complex and if anything more elliptical than Neuromancer. My sense now is that the boxmaker is Wintermute (an AI in Neuromancer) cut down to root mechanical and fragmented memories, boosted by the chance download / merger with black market software (key among these experimental biosoft). But these ideas are doled out in pieces and glancingly enough that it's not definitive. It seems as though Gibson honed his style even over the course of this novel, the chapters getting closer and more uniformly spare and detached at the end as compared to the beginning. Part of that may simply be it's more difficult to set something up in short paragraphs.Gibson's Sprawl trilogy could be seen as the story of characters like Finn or even Wintermute, but told from the viewpoint of others with key roles at different times. A precursor to Bigend? Have to see what Mona Lisa Overdrive contributes to that interpretation. Is Gibson familiar with James Branch Cabell? I detect a similar re-telling of a seminal, archetypal tale in radically different settings and with largely unrelated characters. Theme and subtheme, trial and retrial, focus and resonance. And both display a sense of humour in how they bring back or revise minor characters across novels.//synopsis | Bobby Newmark's first foray against corporate ICE uses stolen microsoft, and he's swept into an ever-expanding ring of criminals attempting to understand why he wasn't killed. Marly is hired by reclusive art dealer, Josef Virek, to identify the maker of artifacts ('boxes') trickling into the art market without provenance or signature. It becomes clear Virek expects to learn something more relevant to his dependence upon life support than to his art business. Turner is hired to facilitate the illegal transfer of top Maas Biolabs hybridoma researcher Christopher Mitchell to Hosaka. The job is sabotaged and Turner's left wondering why Mitchell wanted to leave Maas, and how to avoid Maas and Hosaka operatives cleaning up after the botched job.
jshrop on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gibson's sequel to the great "Neuromancer" was not a total let down, but failed to produce the same feeling of immersion and quick action of it's predecessor. I think one of the biggest problems with Count Zero was the disjointed storytelling, moving between 3 seperate characters and plots. While this was a great idea in concept, and made for a neat way to tie things together in the end, the length of each segment varied so widely that sometimes you were enveloped too long in one story so that you either became so commited to finding out the continuation of that line, or completely forgot what was going on with another line, that it made for almost agrivating reading. The first half of Count Zero is laborous and somewhat slow paced. Not until after the mid point do we get enough movement through the story line to really get excited about it. I'm sorry, but in this novel, Gibson does not have his best showing, and doesn't mirror the sheer brilliance of Neuromancer. Another problem I had with Count Zero was Gibson's use of overly descriptive language, describing all sorts of mundane and useless details to the n-th degree. It bogs down the story, contributing to the story's lack of movement in the first half, and generally adds a waste of words to an otherwise cool premise and plot. At the end, I felt like the whole story could have been better executed in the span of a novella or long short story with more precision, and less unneccesary words. I thouroughly enjoy William Gibson's work in general. Neuromancer is a must read for any sci-fi/cyberpunk fan, and likewise his latest offerings, Spook Country, Pattern Recognition, don't dissapoint. I would still recommend this read if you are a big Gibson fan like myself, but if you haven't read his newer works, go give them a try first, I think you will be more impressed and have a better experience.
ttavenner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another solid work by William Gibson. It has the spacey future-tech feel of Neuromancer, but also the love of vast conspiracy you find in his more recent novels. He always manages to take story in a direction you would not have expected, but one that is intellectually thrilling.
jddunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The writing¿s tight, the proposed future is sufficiently realized and stylized, all gritty and noir, but it just leaves me cold. Characterization seemed to be lacking, and I just didn¿t much care what happened to anyone in the end, whereas I very much did with Neuoromancer, which seemed a much more fully-realized novel to me. Maybe I¿ve just run into Gibson a bit too late, at a time when he seems less visionary and more obvious in light of how technology has advanced. His strengths as far as whizbang futurism seem less evident to me here, and his weaknesses in character and relationships much more pronounced.
alexthekone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Much slower than Neuromancer yet lnterestingly tied to it. It does read like the logical sequel to Neuromancer but is still limited by many important characters with too little depth. I must also say I was lost by the Voodoo references which pretty much obscured my understanding of the ending. We'll see how Mona Lisa Overdrive turns out.
gilag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as Nueromancer. There are parts where it really picks up and gets interesting but the ending left me flat. Almost a little unorganized.
edgeworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Given that Neuromancer is one of my favourite books - one of many people's favourite books, in fact, and one of the best books of the last thirty years - I'm surprised it's taken me so long to read the rest of Gibson's Sprawl series. Perhaps it's because I suspected that he would never be able to live up to the outrageous standard of excellence set by Neuromancer. I was correct in that suspicion, although that certainly doesn't mean that Count Zero is a bad book. Neuromancer followed a single character as he was recruited by a shadowy figure assembling a team for the ultimate heist; Count Zero follows the familiar literary trope of separate, seemingly unrelated stories that merge together at the climax. Turner, a freelance mercenary, is sent to Arizona to aid in the defection of a senior scientist from one powerful corporation to another; Marly, a French gallery owner, is hired by the a man of great wealth to track down the creator of a series of art pieces; and Bobby, an amateur cowboy who styles himself Count Zero, is rescued by a mysterious woman while in the death-vice of cyberspace counter-intrusive measures. Once again present from both Neuromancer and Gibson's much more recent novel Pattern Recognition is the theme of ordinary losers coming into the orbit of extremely powerful and influential people.The world of Count Zero seems less fully realised, futuristic, and bleakly depressing than Neuromancer's. The settings in Europe, especially, seem barely dystopian at all; I don't recall Neuromancer's brief Paris chapters much, but here I really noticed the discrepancy between Paris and the Sprawl. The Sprawl is very deliberately painted as bleak, ugly and Ballardian, wracked with crime and poverty; Paris still seems to retain that Old World charm, as though Gibson couldn't help but think of Europe as a place of beauty and dignity granted by age. Do Americans feel that same New World insecurity that Australians do - that lack of heritage, of venerable architecture? For some reason I also noticed his failure to perfectly predict the future a lot more - Japan is a major world player but China gets barely a mention, there are no cell phones, the United States no longer exists but the Soviet Union still does... that's an unfair standard to judge any science fiction writer on, of course, but the fact that I barely noticed these faulty predictions in Neuromancer, while I did in Count Zero, says something about how engrossing the respective stories are.Count Zero does not precisely fail to live up to the world created by Neuromancer, but it does lack the same punch; not only does it feel like a mere variation on a theme, but it lacks the urgency, excitement, and sense of epic importance that Neuromancer had. The characters are less likeable and memorable, the three-way plot effectively makes for regular interruptions to the stories, and the climax seemed quite rushed. According to Wikipedia it was apparently a serial before being published as a novel, which might help explain some of its flaws. As I said earlier, it's not a bad book, and I still intend to finish reading the trilogy, but it doesn't even begin to compare to Neuromancer.A side-note: Count Zero fatures two Australian characters, both of whom, with weary predictablity, spout out "mate" and "bloody" and "bugger" a lot. (Oh, fine, only one of them does, but that's one too many). The only other nation I can think of whose citizens must go about with such exhausting stereotypical albatrosses around their necks is Mongolia.Another side-note: Surely there is no author who suffers a wider difference between the quality of his writing and the quality of his covers than William Gibson?
mustreaditall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel like I've read the Sprawl series as a set of flashbacks. I started with the most recent, Mona Lisa Overdrive, slammed all the way back to Nueromancer, and then wound up filling in the final blanks in the middle. I don't know if it's because I have all the pieces now or just the way this one was put together, but Count Zero is my favorite of the three. (The only big flaw being the complete lack of Molly).But what's not to like? Corporate rule may be my "favorite" form of dystopia in fiction - it's just so god damned possible these days - and Gibson loves it as much as I do. There's less out and out techbabble and more story (necessary, I guess, when you have at least three plot lines tangling up together and no dearth of worthwhile characters to follow) - although, as usual with the godfather of cyberpunk, most of the techy stuff is right on the nose some 20+ years later.From what I understand, the reason Gibson let his image of the internet wander so far is that he really didn't have much of a clue about computers when he started writing these things. He heard a few things about it, came up with ideas that sounded cool to him, and went with it. That's how he wound up presenting us with steampunk computers and fractured AI personalities mimicking Vodun spirits and the web itself as a sort of shared hallucination of infinite space and possibility. He didn't know what was considered impossible, so he went ahead and invented it anyway.Having finished all three of his Sprawl novels, I'd like to see a book of short stories by different authors set in that vast urban landscape. Jack Womack, China Miéville, maybe even someone like Haruki Murakami. Just an thought: Putting aside his agile story-telling, his amazing tech predictions, and his ability at world-building, you know what I really do appreciate about Gibson? He offers a sort of hope for his characters at the end, and us through them. Not everyone makes it, but those who do are often better off, thanks to dumb luck and their own effort, at the end than they are at the beginning. And after 8 months of nearly unmitigated dark resolutions, that's something worth having.
DRFP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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).
szarka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's the characters that made Count Zero a compelling read for me. The "science fiction" aspects of the story are incidental. [2006-01-08]
wenestvedt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's tempting to say something like "seminal" about this book, but it's really just a fun read without all the mental heavy lifting that makes a Neal Stephenson book stand out (and be so rewarding).
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
possibly my favourite gibson. this is more the old gibson, before he got really full of himself. it's nice for that reason alone, but the story brings its own compelling aspects as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding. Truly visionary dystopia. And a love story budding! Read it, then read it again because you will miss a lot the first time.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A decent but short read. Unfortunately the spread between the three characters would be fine except that the opening chapters cycle quickly, without much happening in each. Very little action familiar to readers of Neuromancer appears until the final few chapters. I enjoyed the angle on Marly, the art collector. I would have appreciated it if there was more explanation in the final pages.
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