Count Zero by William Gibson

January 29, 2010
By ConnorNickerson BRONZE, Tumwater, Washington
ConnorNickerson BRONZE, Tumwater, Washington
4 articles 2 photos 1 comment

Gibson is a masterful storyteller and has failed to be stumped yet. With Neuromancer Gibson set the stage for cyberpunk to follow. He again plays more with one's imagination by taking the concepts of Neuromancer and extending their tale. As with his other work, Count Zero is a tale woven by bits and pieces, each experience adding to the next until it cumulates into one great event. New information answers your old questions, but still leaves you with more to contemplate. The second book in the Sprawl trilogy, Count Zero alludes to Neuromancer, but is it's own story in itself. Though the constant connections that are left to be made make one wonder if, like his books, the Sprawl trilogy will accumulate into one colossal scene that will put everything together. If my speculations are correct, however, this colliding point will only leave the reader in enormous amounts of awe; Gibson writes in a thought provoking manner that has, as the blurb on the cover puts it; 'tapped straight into our collective cultural mainline and shows no signs of stopping -Spin.'

Alluding to the developments of the matrix and an omnipresent AI that took control of it in Neuromancer, Count Zero takes place an untold amount of time later in the same universe. Although characters from Neuromancer, are mentioned and even seen the time period is vague. A lot has changed in this world but some things remain the same. Even with an old character in this book the time table is rattled by unbeknown variables such as the longevity of an almost aristocratic corporate elite, for there is nothing to say that the old character hasn't come across the same technology in his underworld deviling. Count Zero also puts this character as having a long and unknown age that spans to before the matrix in ore era of Internet. So it remains to be seen what future role he may play, or if he, like most other characters in Gibson's works, is a bystander tagged along by much bigger things.

The omnipresent sentience that began in Neuromancer, has now developed into different branches of being and takes the form of lost Haitian voodoo gods, and in doing so has gathered a following of cohorts. The voodoo gods burden certain individuals as their 'horses.' It is these individuals who have a special connection to the matrix allowing them to be entranced by the 'gods' while jacked-in. This cult is soon ushered into a wave of events caused by a development of a new technology.

A corporate technician, who it later turns out was helped by the sentients, has created a new technological advance. He has succeeded in implanting a deck into a humans brain allowing them to access the matrix without jacking-in. This also allows the sentient matrix 'gods' to trance the person at will and essentially talk to them through dreams and trances. This new technology is implanted into the technician's daughter's brain, and when a corporate mercenary is hired to extract the technician he finds himself in a catch-22 with no one but the strange entrancing voices that erupt from the exec's daughter who was sent in his stead.

Gibson has, I believe, set the stage for the last book in the Sprawl trilogy. The last evolution of the matrix and the last cumulative event that is sure to be epic in proportion. Count Zero provokes my imagination and only heightens my sense of excitement to read the last book in Gibson's trilogy.

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