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Zero History Hardcover – Sept. 7 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 250 ratings
Book 3 of 3 in the Blue Ant Series

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  • Spook Country
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Product details

  • Item Weight : 612 g
  • Hardcover : 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0399156828
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0399156823
  • Dimensions : 15.88 x 3.81 x 23.5 cm
  • Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st Edition (Sept. 7 2010)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 250 ratings

Product description

Quill & Quire

Starting with 2003’s Pattern Recognition, famed science-fiction author William Gibson has been taking apart the techno-thriller and putting the pieces back together in new and interesting ways. Pattern Recognition (for my money, Gibson’s best book to date) was an unusually personal, character-driven novel; its first sequel, 2007’s Spook Country, lacked the necessary thrills. With Zero History, Gibson has hit the sweet spot.

On the surface, Zero History looks much like those previous two books. Marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend hires people with a specialized kind of intuition – in this case, former rock star and occasional journalist Hollis Henry and recovering addict Milgrim (both of whom appeared in Spook Country) – to uncover information about a “secret” brand of clothing called Gabriel Hounds. This premise opens the door for all the flashy techno-thriller contrivances: surveillance, bleeding-edge technology, military contracts, fisticuffs, even some gunplay. The pace is fast, and every chapter brings a new twist or startling revelation.

But Zero History is more than just flash, and the Gabriel Hounds brand isn’t merely a MacGuffin used to jump-start the plot. Rather, it’s an excuse for Gibson to explore what really interests him: how we read and react to the semiotics of everyday objects and relationships. Whether it’s advertising, the stitching in trousers, breakfast cuisine, or automobile security systems, Gibson is constantly pitting the perceptions and opinions of characters with expert knowledge against Hollis Henry’s countercultural intuition and Milgrim’s chemically induced naïveté. The clash of these different viewpoints results in a true and authentic-feeling vision of the here and now. Gibson’s writing is richly textured, dense with information but never intrusively so.

Despite having used the same basic plot structure a few times already, and notwithstanding his obsessive attention to detail, Gibson allows himself enough elbow room for some of the most fully developed characters and the best dialogue he has created to date. While not quite his strongest novel, Zero History is a serious contender for number two.


"One of the major novels of the year by one of Canada's outstanding writers. A novel in which paranoia is accepted as the cost of affluence ...For all his books' dystopian atmosphere, Gibson retains the sense of wonder that propelled science fiction's golden age." --National Post

"A standout thriller and vital introduction to Gibson's trademark style." --The Globe and Mail

"Is it odd that a novel about a jean outfit is the finest Gibson novel in recent memory? Not in the slightest. Gibson [merges] a crackling thriller with cutting-edge social commentary, a subtle sense of satire and, surprisingly, not one, but two, love stories." --Victoria Times Colonist

"One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working." --The Boston Globe

"His eye for the eerie in the everyday still lends events an otherworldly sheen." --The New Yorker

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
250 global ratings
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Top reviews from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on February 12, 2018
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Reviewed in Canada on June 4, 2017
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Reviewed in Canada on September 29, 2015
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Reviewed in Canada on December 11, 2014
Reviewed in Canada on November 15, 2010
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars A visionary writer, in my opinion the best of his generation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 4, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timelines converging
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2018
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John Tierney
3.0 out of 5 stars Zero history - three stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 11, 2010
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P. G. Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Neuromarketeer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 13, 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terse, poetic, beautifully crafted, fun.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2014
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