Count Zero is the second in a cyberpunk trilogy for Gibson, though they’re not related as far as I can remember, it follows the excellent Neuromancer, the book that created cyberpunk. I love cyberpunk as a genre, but its fairly small and no one seems to be writing it much anymore, which is a shame. Gibson is an undisputed master and this book provides yet another strange insight into what our future may look like.
In this future deck hotdoggers move around cyberspace stealing information for their employers, freelance mercs are employed to steal personnel from rival companies and rejuvenation is possible.
The book follows three people, all approaching the same thing from different directions, and completely unaware of each other. Turner, a mercenary, is out to make off with a bio-tech engineer for his employer; Marly is a disgraced former art gallery manager tasked by one of the richest and most powerful men in the world to track down the creator of some strange modern art; Count Zero, better know as Barry Newman, has stumbled across something in cyberspace, something that almost killed him and is now trying to do the same in the real world, but he’s working for a group who believe the mysterious figures appearing on the Net are actually voodoo Gods. It all leads to an abandoned space station and artificial intelligence.
It’s a fairly complex story, a dystopian look at the future, and pretty confusing, but it’s packed with distinct characters, real and digital action and a mystery story too, which makes for exciting reading.
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Sprawl Trilogy series
Reviewed: 4th June 2006