Zero History

Done. Enjoyable. There’s a sense of humor in these three books that I don’t remember from any of his prior novels, though it’s been an admittedly long time since I’ve re-read any of them.

That said, the distinguishing feature of the trilogy begun with Pattern Recognition–and Zero History make sure you know that it’s truly a trilogy, with the three books tied quite firmly together–seems to be that when I’m done with them, I don’t feel like I’ve really been presented with anything new. More like I’ve been given a tour of exotic locales, with an interesting plot to tie them together, and characters who interest me. But it’s a stark contrast between this and, any of the Sprawl books, or even the eschaton presented in the Bridge novels. That’s not bad, but it confounds my expectations somewhat.

Spook Country

From Pattern Recognition I moved on immediately to Spook Country.

I enjoyed this more the second time through, though if I hear the phrase “locative art” again, I may scream. It’s another one of those ideas that doesn’t seem to have gotten any traction in the last four years, and in the end just served as an annoying distraction from the rest of the book, which I quite enjoyed. It made me look forward to Zero History, which I started yesterday.

Pattern Recognition

Now that Zero History is out, I decided to go back and re-read the prior two Bigend Books.

I first read Pattern Recognition, on a trip to Miami in 2003 just after it came out. At the time, I thought it might be my favorite of William Gibson’s books. Now…well, I still enjoyed it, but it felt a little light on substance. Perhaps it’s that it was trying to posit something changing just a little too close to the present, and as a consquence, it seems more glaring when it misses the mark. The whole idea of the Sekrit Footage, when considered in light of YouTube just doesn’t quite have the resonance it did 8 years ago.

There is something to the dreamy, paranoid quality that the book has that I still find attractive, though this time through I also found some of the text very jarring. A lot of phrases that seemed to me too cutesy or too clever.

Anyway, it’s not like I intend to get rid of it, but I don’t know that I’ll re-read it in fewer than another 8 years.