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Count Zero | [William Gibson]

Count Zero

A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he's recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D-and the biochip he's perfected-out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties-some of whom aren't remotely human.
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Publisher's Summary

A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he's recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D-and the biochip he's perfected-out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties-some of whom aren't remotely human.

©2006 William Gibson; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (594 )
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4.1 (377 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael Bothwell, UT, United States 01-18-11
    Michael Bothwell, UT, United States 01-18-11 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Where've you been all my life?"

    Discovering William Gibson and "The Sprawl Trilogy" as I fast approach forty, is like finding an unopened gift behind the Christmas tree, left there wrapped and undiscovered for the last 25 years. I'm kicking myself for not reading him earlier, but his writing is all the more amazing in 2011 for being so visionary in the mid 1980's. There are countless science fiction concepts he describes in this series that other writers have used for seeds of their own books or movies.

    Jonathan Davis is brilliant as the narrator. I originally encountered Davis almost ten years ago as the narrator of Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash -- arguably my favorite audio book of all time. He does not disappoint here. All in all an astonishing creation.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Ilford, United Kingdom 07-12-11
    Jerry Ilford, United Kingdom 07-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "From Zero to Hero"

    I initially found this book to be the embodiment of tedium. I tried listening to it whilst on the go, which after all should be a major advantage of this format. This however proved to be anything but an advantage, as it was so easy to become distracted from the detail of the story and I often found myself zoning in and out of the narrative and wondering who these characters were. It wasn't until two hours from the end that I really got into the story and discovered that it was really rather exciting.
    It held my interest right to the end and was so good that I felt compelled to listen to it again from the beginning and WOW! what a difference. I went from only persevering with it because I had paid for it to being reluctant to put it down. It was hard to believe that this was the same book and I was shocked at the amount of detail that I had initially missed. So if you decide that Count Zero is the biggest let down you have ever received from Audible as I did, then stick with it and maybe 're-read' it. You wont be disappointed.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew McLean, VA, United States 05-15-11
    Matthew McLean, VA, United States 05-15-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Decent Sci-Fi"

    Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent Sci-Fi book.

    When reviewing science fiction books, the two aspects I consider are the strength of the story and novelty of the ideas introduced and how well they are developed.

    The story did a decent job of inter-weaving multiple plot lines, but the characters could have been stronger. Gibson does a good job of creating his own slang, but sometimes relies on this too heavily in his dialog. It can make the dialog sound cool and futuristic, but once undressed, many of the spoken sentences are pretty simple and uninteresting.

    The book explores interesting ideas related to different forms of computing, stronger interfaces with computers, and a practical religion tied to many modern issues. He does this better than many authors, but there are times where I would have liked him to explore a bit deeper.

    I know this review sounds negative and nit-picky, but I did still very much enjoy this book and am giving it 4 stars.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S D Santa Monica, CA United States 12-08-13
    S D Santa Monica, CA United States 12-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Absolutely amazing!"

    I've read and listened to this novel many times and it's an amazing experience each time. I won't review the book but will only say that Jonathan Davis is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators. His performance here was outstanding. The pacing and tone of each line read really set the mood and was very well done. He also did Mona Lisa Drive which was another great performance.

    I hope they redo the Neuromancer one with Jonathan Davis not only for completeness and consistency but because I'd love to hear him do a reading of it. Neuromancer is coming up on its 30th anniversary, so please make it happen!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pie Saint Petersburg, FL, United States 04-10-13
    Pie Saint Petersburg, FL, United States 04-10-13 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Young Gibson --> one of the easiest to enter..."

    Gibson writes with a very dense, thick weaving of concepts... artistically presented :) This early book is very easy to get into and pretty easy to follow (comparatively speaking). Almost plain English from a Gibson-ion fan sort of standpoint. BUT you will have to pay a little bit of attention until you get your feet under you. LOL. Three separate story lines converge, slowly. Very interesting story. Not terribly dated...but a tad...although not in a too jarring way if you are willing to let the story carry you along. I enjoyed it a LOT... but I'm not really "normal". Form your own opinion :)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Umut Wien, Austria 03-20-14
    Umut Wien, Austria 03-20-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Sequel to Neuromancer, great book, amazing narrat."

    This is a great book of the cyberpunk genre and a sequel to Neuromancer. Society as we know it has broken down, hackers (cowboys or cyberspace-deck-jockeys) and private security are being hired to do the bidding of multinational companies. AI, the matrix, advanced biotech... all kinds of cool stuff are going down. These are all forming the background to three interesting stories that converge into the same one.

    Davis' narration is amazing. The intensity, the speed, the voices, the accents... it is perfect. It is essentially because of his narration that I listen to more audio books and have joined audible. (I would also recommend Snow Crash and the Windup Girl, also narrated by Davis)

    One warning is that Gibson's writing is very dense. Gibson's cyberpunk jargon is in every sentence and concentration is needed in order to understand things. You may still get the overall story, but this kind of writing is quite clever and it is fun to fully understand where the terms are coming from, so I recommend that you listen to this audio book in a setting where you can fully concentrate and you can make use of the rewind and forward buttons sometimes. I do this while walking.

    Overall: a great cyberpunk novel from 1986 that feels like it's from 2006 and an amazing narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik MANSFIELD, TX, United States 01-25-13
    Erik MANSFIELD, TX, United States 01-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "It was all over the place"
    Would you try another book from William Gibson and/or Jonathan Davis?

    I know I should expect the unorganized style of writing from William Gibson. He is a challenge to read anyway, but this was just too all over the place. The concepts and direction were too drawn out. The pace of this book, considering it's intensity and complex word structure, was too slow. I would zone out, getting lost on the extended dialogues.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not a William Gibson book. I listened to Neuromancer. That wasn't as bad. I actually like it.


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    It was engaging. It's just too bad the story line and dialogue didn't work.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Count Zero?

    I don't know, I stopped listening before the first half.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a William Gibson fan, you will like this. But, if you are into futuristic sci-fi, this will even lose you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick United States 10-11-13
    Patrick United States 10-11-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written and engaging but hard to follow"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It was really hard for me to follow what was going on. Gibson is a good writer, but his habit of telling stories from three or four different perspectives without given much backstory or exposition makes it tough to track what is happening. I was lost the first seven hours, and it was only until the second half of the book that I finally started to understand how the threads intertwined.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Gibson is a gifted writer, and Jonathan Davis captured the dark mood of the story. Even when I didn't know what was going on or where Count Zero was going, I kept listening.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-16-14
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-16-14 Member Since 2011

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "#2 of the Sprawl Dialectic"

    I haven't read Sprawl # 3 (Mona Lisa Overdrive), but after reading Neuromancer and now 'Count Zero', I think I will start referring to the Sprawl trilogy as the Sprawl Dialectic. 'Neuromancer' = Thesis. 'Count Zero' = Antithesis, so I guess I have to wait to see if 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' = Synthesis.

    Gibson's warnings about cyberspace, the matrix, electronic hallucinations, corporate excess, etc., in 'Neuromancer' served only to codify/name the culture/future he was warning about. Instead of serving as a warning, Gibson ended up vibrating, slicking, sexing a whole webby nest of proto-cyberbabies into a real cyberpunk counter-culture. 'Count Zero' appears to be him trying again, but using a different tact. He spends less time with the easy, 'fun', matrix-fueled side of the future and instead spends more time examining the people, the fragments and residue of a dystopian future where corporations have become like people and computers and AI have become like gods.

    Gibson trademarks, however, are still swarming all over 'Count Zero'. It is hard to read a page without a sentence where Gibson waxes poetic about an article of clothing, a fabric type, a piece of art, or a stylized way of wearing one's hair. But still, 'Count Zero' appears to be Gibson saying, yeah, that 'Neuromancer' book you are all so turned on about is fine, but it was an adolescent idea. Let me tell you the story again, but from another way, so you can understand that it isn't sexy, it isn't beautiful, it isn't glorious. The future is dangerous, manipulative, and has the potential to completely change our relationships with with each other, with art, with our history and even with our future. Let's just slow it down a bit and think.

    I'm not sure if he changed the velocity of 'Neuromancer' or changed any minds, and I'm not sure 'Count Zero' was nearly as good a book (Not a 'Godfather, Part II'), but I'm glad he wrote it and it is interesting as a reader to see Gibson gain some real confidence in his art and his message.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Floyd AURORA, CO, United States 08-24-13
    Floyd AURORA, CO, United States 08-24-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Worth checking out"

    Count Zero is the second book in Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy - Neuromancer being the first. Count Zero is not as hypnotic and it's predecessor. It's a not a direct sequel to the Neuromancer but is a story set in the same world 7 to 8 years after the events told in the first novel. At it's heart, Count Zero is crime drama with elements of a action-spy story. There are some downright cool crossover moments where events from the first novel are referenced and a supporting character or two make a short appearance in the story. I didn't enjoy Zero as much as Neuromancer because a big part of the fun of these books is learning about and exploring the world Gibson's characters inhabit. Zero retains much of the flavor of Neuromancer but is an entity in and of itself; worth a read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 18 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Fiona
    Hove, United Kingdom
    7/8/11
    Overall
    "Frustrating narrator"

    The storyline of this book is right up my alley and I was excited to listen to it. Unfortunately I got so frustrated with the narrator's speed of speech that I had to stop listening. There are long "meaningful" pauses randomly in sentences making it hard to follow and concentrate.
    I even attempted speeding up the playback speed to help, but this wasn't enough to cover up for the weird distracting pauses.
    Very disappointed as I want to read this book, but this one will have to be read the traditional way for me so I can enjoy it.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin
    STOKE ON TRENT, United Kingdom
    3/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Loved this"

    Not as good as the first one but still a stunning book. My advice is to set the reader speed to 1.25 or 1.5. Amazing and brilliant Computer Sci Fi

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    Welwyn, United Kingdom
    1/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't listen to it"
    What would have made Count Zero better?

    The narrator is awful. Far far too slow. I gave up after 10 minutes


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jonathan Davis?

    Peter Kenney


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • an italian in london
    London, UK
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "a great book and an even greater audiobook"

    It's hard to explain why I like so much William Gibson's books.In his language, in his narrative, in the pace of his stories, in his characters and in the situations he evokes, there is something that resonates with me and my personality.

    Thanks to the audio version of WG's books, I can now listen to them while on the move, so as I walk the streets of London I can immerse myself in my favourite books.

    You need to be careful crossing streets, negotiating a busy junction or a busy pavement.

    Initially I had to get used to the style of narration, where there is one narrator for all the characters, but I appreciate the craft, the skills of Jonathan Davis and his ability to modulate his voice in a different way for each character, given each his or her (or its) own personality, it's own "mark", making them recognisable.

    I found the experience excellent and the quality of the voice narration is so good that very rarely I had to go back in the story to reconnect with the narrative. The biggest problem I had in early attempts with audio books was "disconnecting" from listening the story and spawning a train of thoughts or an external event requiring higher attention and causing a disruptive distraction from the book. With this book and some discipline, I managed to stick to the story almost all the time and never get distracted.

    I recommend this audiobook at many levels:

    - because I love the book itself - and it's not just for SF fans, William Gibson is certainly much much more than a SF writer, he is one of those writers who leave a deep mark in the century(ies) they inhabit.

    - because of the excellent quality of the audio and of the narration and the great voice of Jonathan Davis.

    Book readers who approach for the first time audiobooks should be aware that they will have to invest their attention in a different way, and possibly find a new and revolutionary way to enjoy their favourite books while doing something else.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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