©2006 William Gibson; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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.
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.
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.
When published, personal computing is still in it's infancy...never mind the internet...and here we are diving into intrigue on this 'world wide web'...interacting with AI, who have assumed position and title to Loas (or christian saints) and hold reign through this new medium.
Usually, the 'mid-books' of a trilogy of stories is the stumbler but Gibson holds your attention throughout the whole story. Quite a way to set off the next in this line...and at the time, no clue of the follower.
Quite a tale with a varied cast of players who add their own spice to this tale of rebirth and liberation.
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 :)
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.
Not a William Gibson book. I listened to Neuromancer. That wasn't as bad. I actually like it.
It was engaging. It's just too bad the story line and dialogue didn't work.
I don't know, I stopped listening before the first half.
If you are a William Gibson fan, you will like this. But, if you are into futuristic sci-fi, this will even lose you.
Great look into a High Tech future, however the all the characters were unlikable. Thus I became
uninterested in them. The ideas of the digital infused future kept me interested for a while, but
in the end I could not finish it.
I found this book boring and rambling. I couldn't finish it no matter how hard I tried and eventually just put it down without finishing it.
54 years old, blue collar worker, I like imported beer, when it is not hay fever season. Favorite authors; Card, King, Hobb, Koontz, Clarke, Iggulden, Silverberg, Michener, Krakauer
Read Jerry's review. I did not make it past the first third of the book. Gibson is kind of like Shakespeare, it takes slow reading and going over it, which makes it difficult in audio form. If you have never read Gibson before, I suggest you read Virtual Light first. It is not quite as complicated and has a couple of really cool characters that you will get into. There is just too many authors and books out there for me to spend this much time with one book.
This is a brilliant foundational work in the cyberpunk genre delivered with all the energy and imagination of a back-tax audit form. Gibson's sprawl trilogy is an excellent piece of literature, but is unfortunately made completely lifeless by a monotone and odd intonation that makes you focus on the odd rhythm of the narration and forget what was actually said a sentence back.
It is a must-read, but unfortunately, in this case this also means it must be read on paper.
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