Saturday, 18 December 2010

Zero History by William Gibson

A word of warning: This is not going to be your average book review.
I first heard of author William Gibson and his book Zero History through a glowing recommendation given to the book by Cory Doctorow (here). Given the respect I hold for Doctorow, I decided to follow his advice and get the book for my Kindle.
Having read about a third of the book I did the rare act of abandoning it. I did so for two main reasons:
  1. Despite reading a significant portion of the book I was still unable to figure out where the book was trying to lead me to. Never mind that; I was unable to pick out what's going on in the first place (it looks like something to do with industrial espionage in the world of fashion, but who knows?).
  2. Perhaps the main reason for the above is the way the book narrates itself. I found its style of extra lengthy descriptions very annoying; entire pages could be summarized in two short sentences if you were to cut the redundant descriptions away. Perhaps I have been too spoiled by young adult titles recently, but I always had a preference to "cutting the bullshit"; Zero History offers probably the farthest alternative to that view I have ever encountered in a book.
I respect opinions stating that it is its very style that renders Zero History great but I cannot agree. I also accept that some of the difficulty I had with the book has to do with it being an independent second sequel to books featuring the same heroes; yet the book is not selling as a sequel but rather as a book whose heroes you might know from earlier encounters.
Overall: I am in no position to reliably rate Zero History; I only sought to illuminate its potential readers as to the experience they are about to face. Feel free to illuminate me if you consider me wrong.

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