Book review: Zero History, by William Gibson

Who’s writing Gibson’s books? (February 5, 2011)


A friend handed me a copy of the then-new Neuromancer as I got on a plane at Heathrow. I’d never heard of William Gibson or cyberpunk. I was almost the last person to deplane at LAX because I would not put the book down until I finished reading the last few pages.

Sadly, Gibson’s latest works have abandoned both cyberpunk and any sense of being compelling. Gibson still can craft a sentence and capture a mood, but his last few books have been so bad story-wise I would not have a copy if Zero History hadn’t been a gift. I’d given up on Gibson.

Zero History confirms my decision. Gibson’s current approach is to replace storytelling with smatterings of current trends viewed from a relentlessly metrosexual viewpoint. Where Neuromancer and Count Zero take place in a future that is at once unimaginable and inevitable, Zero History (and others) take place in a boring present, where unappealingly eccentric characters pursue absurd and trivial goals.