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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Count Zero

Count Zero by William Gibson
Part 2 of the Sprawl Trilogy, set between Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive. We've got three main characters, Turner a ruthless 'operator', Bobby, a wannabe hacker, and Marly, some kind of art dealer. Turner is very unpleasant, but then he lives in a very unpleasant world. Bobby is young and foolish, and perhaps lucky, which might be why he is here. Marly is the only character I had any sympathy for. unbreakable body! has a decent review.

Not the best book in the world, but every now and then you get a bit that makes it all worthwhile, like this one:
"The man's life, from Turner's vantage, seemed marked out by a certain inevitability; he was brilliant, a brilliance that had been detected early on, highly motivated, gifted at the kind of blandly ruthless in-company manipulations required by someone who aspired to become a top research scientist."
I wasn't even aware that "ruthless in-company manipulations" existed, much less were necessary for a top level job. That might help explain my abysmal career trajectory.

The book is from 1986 and it's amazingly prophetic. We still don't have computer-aided memory, or direct neural access to computers, but our interface has improved dramatically, witness the VR goggles that are becoming popular.

Bobby's forays into cyberspace are described in the vaguest of terms. How you would interact with anything is likewise glossed over. Reminds me a bit of the movie Tron.

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