Monday, November 02, 2009

The voodoo that you do

Title: Count Zero
Author: William Gibson
Bookmark: strip of dinosaur stickers

This is another book I rescued from someone's garage. That's good, because I may have to read it once or twice more to figure out what the hell is going on.

I mean, sure, it's fun to read, but I think Gibson goes a little too far with the "tell the reader as little as possible and let them figure it out themselves" approach that other authors handle a bit better by at least telling us enough to know what's happening.

I'll give summarizing a shot.

There are three main storylines. You'd think that eventually these three sets of characters would intersect somehow, since they're all (apparently... i think...) chasing after the same thing.

Turner is a corporate mercenary, hired through his agent (who may be far more shady than you'd think) to help either steal the best young minds from competing companies, or to help those minds defect to another company. Technological secrets and the people who develop them are valued in Gibson's future, to the point that many companies maintain high-tech facilities where their employees live and work, with no direct contact with the outside world. (one of them is in a hollowed-out mesa, which is a pretty cool idea in itself) Turner is blown to smithereens in the first chapter. They collect enough of him to rebuild him in some sort of tank so he can be hired to help a scientist escape from one company to another. Turner must work with several lower-level mercenaries, one of whom tried to kill him in the past, and figure out which one of them is a mole, feeding information to his back-stabbing, double-crossing agent.

Bobby Newmark, operating with the handle Count Zero, is a wannabe hacker who, using a piece of code bestowed upon him by his own agent, finds something so powerful and strange that it blows his connection, knocks him out cold, and results in at least one death squad coming for him. His apartment is blown up by a missile attack while his soap-opera-addicted mother is inside, and in his desperate flight he meets two men who claim that the Network is full of voodoo gods, and that one of them saved Bobby's ass when his hack went haywire.

Marly Krushkova, still recovering from the scandal surrounding an art scam in her gallery that was actually orchestrated by her dirtbag ex-boyfriend (without her knowledge), is hired by Herr Virek to find the maker of a tiny diorama, really just items in a box, but it somehow captures their imagination, and is very like several other boxes, and nobody seems to know the source. Oh, and Virek is sustained by tanks similar to those that saved Turner, but the apparatus that keeps him alive occupies three semi truck trailers.

The thing that really gets me--and this might be due to the fact that I read it months ago, and may have forgotten--is that I'm not sure all three stories intersect. None of those characters actually meet each other, and I think I know the connection between Turner and Bobby, but either I never found a link betwene either of them and Marly, or I've forgotten it. It's a very strange book, but it still held my attention for the duration.

Seriously, though. Voodoo gods. In Cyberspace.

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posted by reyn at 10:06 PM


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