Blue Ant trilogy

(Redirected from Zero History)

William Gibson wrote his Blue Ant trilogy novels during the 2000s, the same decade in which the stories are set, marking a break with his earlier novels' more futuristic settings. Gibson also began to adopt a realist style during this time, with continuous narratives — "speculative fiction of the very recent past."[1] The novels, Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007) and Zero History (2010), are set in the same contemporary universe — "more or less the same one we live in now."[2] The trilogy's namesake is the enigmatic viral advertising/coolhunting agency owned by Belgian billionaire Hubertus Bigend, who subcontracts the novels' protagonists to investigate unexplained cultural trends or shadowy technologies that are seemingly unrelated to the business interests of Blue Ant or its clients.

She knows, now, absolutely…that Damien's theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here…

Pattern Recognition (2003)Edit

About Pattern Recognition

  • Five hours' New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm…She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien's theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.
    • Chapter 1, "The Website of Dreadful Night"
 
"Sinclair ZX81. Personal computer, circa 1980. In America, was Timex 1000, same."
"That's a computer?"
"One K of RAM!"
  • Nothing at all in the German fridge, so new that its interior smells only of cold and long-chain monomers.
    • Chapter 1, "The Website of Dreadful Night"
  • Damien is thirty, Cayce two years older, but there is some carefully insulated module of immaturity in him, some shy and stubborn thing that frightened the money people. Both have been very good at what they've done, neither seeming to have the least idea of why.
    Google Cayce and you will find "coolhunter," and if you look closely you may see it suggested that she is a "sensitive" of some kind, a dowser in the world of global marketing. Though the truth, Damien would say, is closer to allergy, a morbid and sometimes violent reactivity to the semiotics of the marketplace.
    • Chapter 1, "The Website of Dreadful Night"
  • Mirror-world. The plugs on appliances are huge, triple−pronged, for a species of current that only powers electric chairs, in America. Cars are reversed, left to right, inside; telephone handsets have a different weight, a different balance; the covers of paperbacks look like Australian money.
    • Chapter 1, "The Website of Dreadful Night"
  • There is that mirror−world ingestion of archaic substances, she thinks: People smoke, and drink as though it were good for you, and seem to still be in some sort of honeymoon phase with cocaine.
    • Chapter 1, "The Website of Dreadful Night"
  • She's here on Blue Ant's ticket. Relatively tiny in terms of permanent staff, globally distributed, more post-geographic than multinational, the agency has from the beginning billed itself as a high-speed, low-drag life form in an advertising ecology of lumbering herbivores. Or perhaps as some non-carbon-based life form, entirely sprung from the smooth and ironic brow of its founder, Hubertus Bigend, a nominal Belgian who looks like Tom Cruise on a diet of virgins' blood and truffled chocolates.
    • Chapter 1, "The Website of Dreadful Night"
  • But down here, next to a display of Tommy Hilfiger, it's all started to go sideways on her, the trademark thing…
    My God, don't they know? This stuff is simulacra of simulacra of simulacra. A diluted tincture of Ralph Lauren, who had himself diluted the glory days of Brooks Brothers, who themselves had stepped on the product of Jermyn Street and Savile Row, flavoring their ready−to−wear with liberal lashings of polo knit and regimental stripes. But Tommy surely is the null point, the black hole. There must be some Tommy Hilfiger event horizon, beyond which it is impossible to be more derivative, more removed from the source, more devoid of soul.
    • Chapter 3, "The Attachment"
  • "You follow the footage." His eyes narrowing…
    Damien maintains, half−seriously, that followers of the footage comprise the first true freemasonry of the new century.
    • Chapter 3, "The Attachment"
  • Shorts, she thinks, drawing abreast of this trio, are somehow always wrong in London.
    • Chapter 4, "Math Grenades"
  • But Cayce sees that there is a Michelin Man within her field of vision, its white, bloated, maggot−like form perched on the edge of a dealer's counter, about thirty feet away. It is about two feet tall, and is probably meant to be illuminated from within. The Michelin Man was the first trademark to which she exhibited a phobic reaction. She had been six.
    • Chapter 4, "Math Grenades"
  • She finds the Children's Crusade just as she remembers it. Damien's expression for what descends on Camden Town on a Saturday, this shuffling lemming-jam of young people…Cayce has spent hours here, escorting the creative executives of the world's leading athletic-shoe companies through the ambulatory forest of the feet that have made their fortunes, and hours more alone, looking for little jolts of pure street fashion to e-mail home.
    • Chapter 5, "What They Deserve"
 
The Michelin Man was the first trademark to which [Cayce] exhibited a phobic reaction.
  • "How do you think we look," Bigend asks, "to the future?"
    Bigend has a way of injecting these questions into conversations that he's grown tired of. Caltrops thrown down on the conversational highway; you can swerve or you can hit them, blow your tires, hope you'll keep going on the rims. He's been doing it through dinner and their pre-dinner drinks, and Cayce assumes he does it because he's the boss, and perhaps because he really does bore easily. It's like watching someone restlessly change channels, no more mercy to it than that.
    • Chapter 6, "The Match Factory"
  • "They won't think of us," Cayce says, choosing straight into it. "Any more than we think of the Victorians. I don't mean the icons, but the ordinary actual living souls.”
    "Souls," repeats Bigend. "Of course we have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense, we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which 'now' was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparents' have insufficient 'now' to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volatile."
    • Chapter 6, "The Match Factory"
  • Bigend smiles, a version of Tom Cruise with too many teeth, and longer, but still very white. "We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment's scenarios. Pattern recognition."
    Cayce blinks.
    "Do we have a past, then?" Stonestreet asks.
    "History is a best-guess narrative about what happened and when," Bigend says.
    ”The future is there," Cayce hears herself say, "looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now."
    "You sound oracular." White teeth.
    • Chapter 6, "The Match Factory"
  • "Regardless, and regardless of everything else, the footage has already been the single most effective piece of guerilla marketing ever," Bigend said. "The numbers are amazing…"
    "Hubertus," carefully, "what exactly is the nature of your interest in this?"
    "Am I a true believer? That is your first question. Because you are one yourself…My passion is marketing, advertising, media strategy, and when I first discovered the footage, that is what responded in me. I saw attention focused daily on a product that may not even exist. You think that wouldn't get my attention?…And new. Somehow entirely new."
    • Chapter 7, "The Proposition"
 
The "Children's Crusade" on High Street, Camden Town, London.
  • "You care passionately about this thing…That is what makes you so valuable. That and your talents, your allergies, your tame pathologies, the things that make you a secret legend in the world of marketing."
    • Chapter 7, "The Proposition" (Bigend to Cayce, about the footage)
  • "The heart is a muscle," Bigend corrects. "You 'know' in your limbic brain. The seat of instinct. The mammalian brain. Deeper, wider, beyond logic. That is where advertising works, not in the upstart cortex. What we think of as 'mind' is only a sort of jumped−up gland, piggybacking on the reptilian brainstem and the older, mammalian mind, but our culture tricks us into recognizing it as all of consciousness. The mammalian spreads continent-wide beneath it, mute and muscular, attending its ancient agenda. And makes us buy things."
    • Chapter 7, "The Proposition"
  • She's down for a jack move.
    She'd never really been sure what Donny had meant when he'd say that; he said it when he was angry, or frustrated, and she's both.
    Jack moves. Context, with Donny, seemed to indicate that these were either deliberate but extremely lateral, thus taking the competition or opponent by surprise. Maybe it had to be improvisational and completely of the moment. East Lansing Zen.
    • Chapter 10, "Jack Moves, Jane Faces"
 
The tabloid doesn't go down any better, seemingly composed in equal measure of shame and rage.
  • "Each of the segments is of the same resolution, sufficient to allow theatrical projection," Boone said. "…Rendering is expensive, involves a lot of people, and would probably be impossible to keep a secret."
    "So the Garage Kubrick hypothesis is just a dream?"
    "Unless the maker has access to levels of technology that don't, as far as we know, exist yet. Assuming the footage is entirely computer−generated means that your maker either has de−engineered Roswell CGI capacities or a completely secure rendering operation."
    "You're not in 'Garage Kubrick,' then," Cayce says, "you're in 'Spielberg's Closet': the supposition that the footage is being produced by someone who already has godlike production resources."
    "You buy it?"
    "No."
    • Chapter 11, "Boone Chu"
  • "Life is more difficult for the serious artist," allows Voytek, "Time is money, but also money is money."
  • She has been told to meet Ngemi beneath this clock, but is early, so she buys a tabloid, a bacon sandwich, and a Fanta
    The Fanta has a nasty, synthetic edge…The tabloid doesn't go down any better, seemingly composed in equal measure of shame and rage, as though some inflamed national subtext were being ritually, painfully massaged, for whatever temporary and paradoxical relief this might afford.
    • Chapter 28, "Within the Meaning"
  • National icons are always neutral for her, with the exception of Nazi Germany's, and this not so much from a sense of historical evil…as from an awareness of a scary excess of design talent. Hitler had had entirely too brilliant a graphics department, and had understood the power of branding all too well.
    • Chapter 33, "Bot"
  • "I'm going to level with you. I'm away for a while. But there's no cash on the premises, no drugs, and the pit bull's tested positive. Twice."
    She doesn't leave a message.
    • Chapter 36, "The Dig" (Parkaboy's outgoing message)
 
Hitler had had entirely too brilliant a graphics department, and had understood the power of branding all too well.
  • And then she hears the sound of a helicopter, from somewhere behind her and, turning, sees the long white beam of light sweeping the dead ground as it comes, like a lighthouse gone mad from loneliness, and searching that barren ground as foolishly, as randomly, as any grieving heart ever has.
    • Chapter 39, "Bed Dust"

Gibson on Pattern RecognitionEdit

  • The Garage Kubrick is a control freak to an extent impossible any further back along the technological timeline…And this, come to think of it, may be why the Garage Kubrick never made it into my book; I was never able to imagine him letting go of the act of creation long enough to emerge and interact with any other characters. But characters who miss the bus have a way of haunting their authors, and now, falling asleep at the Marmont, it comes to me: He's back, and I'm going to have to figure out where he fits in with this new technology.
  • My novel Pattern Recognition was gestating, as I wrote this, the “Garage Kubrick” morphing from protagonist (or antagonist, or possibly just agonist) to MacGuffin, though I didn’t know it. Pattern Recognition would eventually manage to be published just ahead of the launch of YouTube, a very good thing considering certain of its plot points.
    • Author's 2011 notes for "William Gibson's Filmless Festival," in Distrust That Particular Flavor ("Garage Kubrick" was the name of a faction within F:F:F, in Pattern Recognition, and a hypothetical independent filmmaker in the Wired article)
  • I began to tell interviewers, somewhat testily, that I believed I could write a novel set in the present, our present, then, which would have exactly the affect of my supposed imaginary futures. Hadn’t J. G. Ballard declared Earth to be the real alien planet? Wasn’t the future now?
    So I did. In 2001, I was writing a book that became Pattern Recognition, my seventh novel…I found the material of the actual twenty-first century richer, stranger, more multiplex, than any imaginary twenty-first century could ever have been. And it could be unpacked with the toolkit of science fiction. I don’t really see how it can be unpacked otherwise, as so much of it is so utterly akin to science fiction, complete with a workaday level of cognitive dissonance we now take utterly for granted.

Spook Country (2007)Edit

About Spook Country

 
The old man reminded Tito of those ghost-signs, fading high on the windowless sides of blackened buildings.
  • The old man reminded Tito of those ghost-signs, fading high on the windowless sides of blackened buildings, spelling out the names of products made meaningless by time. If Tito were to see one of those announcing the very latest, the most recent and terrible news, yet could know that it had always been there, fading, through every kind of weather, unnoticed until today, that might feel something like meeting the old man in Washington Square, beside the concrete chess tables, and carefully passing him an iPod, beneath a folded newspaper.
    • Chapter 2, "Ants in the Water"
  • Sensing an immense patience, and power, Tito imagined that this old man, for reasons of his own, disguised himself as a revenant from Lower Manhattan's past. Each time the old man received another iPod, accepting it the way an ancient and sagacious ape might accept a piece of some not particularly interesting fruit, Tito half-expected him to crack its virginal white case like a nut, and then to draw forth something utterly peculiar, utterly dire, and somehow terrible in its contemporaneity.
    • Chapter 2, "Ants in the Water"
  • "The most interesting ways of looking at the GPS grid, what it is, what we do with it, what we might be able to do with it, all seemed to be being put forward by artists. Artists or the military. That’s something that tends to happen with new technologies generally: the most interesting applications turn up on the battlefield, or in a gallery.”
    • Chapter 13, "Boxes"
 
And that was what the rectangular volume of wireframe had represented, full scale. A shipping container.
  • “He knows he knows something nobody else does. Or thinks he does…whatever makes him mark the floor of that factory according to the GPS grid. He won’t sleep in the same square twice."
    “And that might be?”
    She hesitated.
    “Pirates,” he said.
    She looked from Bigend to the crowd around them, feeling like she’d fallen into someone else’s pitch meeting.
    • Chapter 17, "Pirates and Teams"
  • “Real pirates,” Hubertus Bigend said, unsmiling. “Most of them, anyway. Some of them were part of a covert CIA maritime program. Stopping suspect cargo vessels to search for weapons of mass destruction.”
    “This isn’t bullshit, Mr. Bigend?”
    “It’s as expensively quasi-factual as I can afford it to be."
    • Chapter 17, "Pirates and Teams"
 
Here, one could explore the nave’s forest of arches, the shadows of its inverted deep-sea canyon. He wanted to ask this man about his father…When he turned back, the man was gone.
  • “In August 2003, one of these joint CIA-pirate operations boarded a freighter…The team’s interest centered on one particular container. They’d broken its seals, opened it, when orders came by radio to leave it. Leave the container. Leave the vessel…Apparently it’s still out there, somewhere,” Bigend said. “Like the Flying Dutchman.”
    “The pirates.”
    “Yes?”
    “Did they see what was in it?”
    “No.”
    • Chapter 17, "Pirates and Teams"
  • One of the bays of stone that lined the sides of this tremendous space was Eleggua’s, and this made clear by images in colored glass. A santero consulting a sheet of signs, among which would be found the numbers three and twenty-one, whereby the orisha recognizes himself and is recognized; a man climbing a pole to install a wiretap; another man studying the monitor of a computer. All images of ways in which the world and worlds are linked, and all these ways under the orisha.
    Tito glanced back, down the length of the nave, and saw a single figure, approaching. He looked up, to Ellegua’s window, where one man used something like a mouse, another a keyboard, though the shapes of these familiar things were archaic, unfamiliar. He asked to be protected.
    “Gutenberg,” the old man said, raising his hat to indicate the santero. “Samuel Morse sending the first message,” indicating the man using the mouse. “A lineman. A television set.” This last what Tito had taken for a monitor.
  • “I’ve learned to value anomalous phenomena. Very peculiar things that people do, often secretly, have come to interest me in a certain way. I spend a lot of money, often, trying to understand those things. From them, sometimes, emerge Blue Ant’s most successful efforts…Intelligence, Hollis, is advertising turned inside out.”
    “Which means?”
    “Secrets,” said Bigend, gesturing toward the screen, “are cool.”
    • Chapter 20
  • Organized religion, he saw, back in the day, had been purely a signal-to-noise proposition, at once the medium and the message, a one-channel universe. For Europe, that channel was Christian, and broadcasting from Rome, but nothing could be broadcast faster than a man could travel on horseback. There was a hierarchy in place, and a highly organized methodology of top-down signal dissemination, but the time lag enforced by tech-lack imposed a near-disastrous ratio, the noise of heresy constantly threatening to overwhelm the signal.
    • Chapter 23, "Two Moors"
 
The old man was as American as it got…Someone who would’ve been in charge of something, when grown-ups still ran things.
  • There were ghosts in the Civil War trees, past Philadelphia.
    • Chapter 47, "N Street"
  • “Are you any closer to understanding who they are?”
    “They’re one of the smallest organized crime families operating in the United States. Maybe literally a family. Illegal facilitators, mainly smuggling. But a kind of boutique operation, very pricey. Mara Salvatrucha look like UPS in comparison. They’re Cuban-Chinese and they’re probably all illegals.”
    “Can’t you get ICE to roll them up for you?”
    “You have to find them first."
    • Chapter 50, "Whispering Gallery"
  • “She’s not supposed to be here,” said Bobby, sounding as though he was about to cry.
    “But you do know her, Bobby?” the old man asked.
    “The strange thing,” Garreth said, “is that I know her too. Not that we’ve met before. She’s Hollis Henry, from the Curfew.”
    The old man raised his eyebrows. “The curfew?”
    “Favorites of mine in college. A band.”
    “And you found her, just now, in the alley? Am I missing something, Garreth?”
    “At least it’s not Morrissey.”
    • Chapter 66, "Ping"
 
“Look at that,” the old man said. “Exquisite. If you were in the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, and ordered poached eggs and bacon and toast, what you would be served would in no way differ from this. The presentation."
  • The old man was as American as it got, but in what she thought of as some very recently archaic way. Someone who would’ve been in charge of something, in America, when grown-ups still ran things.
    • Chapter 71, "Hard to Be One"
  • A part of her business, henceforth, she’d decided, would be to be that chimney brick behind which the old man had chosen to hide the secret of what he’d done. Which apparently was still very much a secret… They had told her to expect that, though. The whole business had to play out initially in spook country, and might well remain there for a very long time…
    • Chapter 84, "The Man Who Shot Walt Disney"
  • “Look at that,” the old man said. “Exquisite. If you were in the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, and ordered poached eggs and bacon and toast, what you would be served would in no way differ from this. The presentation.”
    And he was right, she saw.
    • Chapter 82, "Beenie's"

Zero History (2010)Edit

About Zero History

 
Inchmale hailed a cab for her, the kind that had always been black, when she’d first known this city.
  • Inchmale hailed a cab for her, the kind that had always been black, when she’d first known this city.
    “Their money’s heavy,” he said, dropping a loose warm mass of pound coins into her hand. “Buys many whores.”
    • Chapter 1, "Cabinet" (from the opening lines)
  • Milgrim considered the dog-headed angels in Gay Dolphin Gift Cove…in the most thoroughgoing trove of roadside American souvenir kitsch he’d ever seen. How old did a place like this have to be, in America, to have “gay” in its name? Some percentage of the stock here, he judged, had been manufactured in Occupied Japan.
    • Chapter 2, "Edge City" (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
  • In the amusement arcades, he judged, some of the machines were older than he was. And some of his own angels, not the better ones, spoke of an ancient and deeply impacted drug culture, ground down into the carnival grime of the place, interstitial and immortal; sun-damaged skin, tattoos unreadable, eyes that peered from faces suggestive of gas-station taxidermy.
    • Chapter 2, "Edge City"
  • They were headed inland through a landscape that reminded Milgrim of driving somewhere near Los Angeles, to a destination you wouldn’t be particularly anxious to reach. This abundantly laned highway, lapped by the lots of outlet malls, a Home Depot the size of a cruise ship, theme restaurants. Though interstitial detritus still spoke stubbornly of maritime activity and the farming of tobacco. Fables from before the Anaheiming.
    • Chapter 2, "Edge City"
  • “Was that a twelve-step program you were in, in Basel?” asked Sleight.
    “I don’t think so,” said Milgrim, assuming Sleight was referring to the number of times his blood had been changed.
    • Chapter 2, "Edge City"
  • The door opened inward, revealing a football player with an Eighties porn haircut.
    • Chapter 2, "Edge City"
  • “Someone,” Bigend said, “is developing what may prove to be a somewhat new way to transmit brand vision.”
    “You sound guarded in your appreciation.”
    “A certain genuinely provocative use of negative space,” he said, sounding still less pleased. "I feel that someone has read and understood my playbook. And may possibly be extending it…Does ‘The Gabriel Hounds’ mean anything to you?”
    “No,” Hollis said.
    He smiled, obviously pleased.
    • Chapter 3, "Slut's Wool"
 
How old did a place like this have to be, in America, to have “gay” in its name?
  • “Twenty-ounce,” the handsomely graying professor of denim pronounced, the Gabriel Hounds jacket spread before her. “You like it?”
    “I haven’t tried it on.”
    “No?” The woman moved behind Hollis, helping her remove her coat. She picked up the jacket and helped Hollis into it. “Fit is very good…By-swing shoulders. Inside, elastic ribbons, pull it into shape. This detail is from HD Lee mechanic jacket, early Fifties.”
    “You don’t know where I could find…more of this brand?”
    Their eyes met, in the mirror. “You know ‘secret brand’? You understand?”
    “I think so,” Hollis said, doubtfully.
    “This is very secret brand,” the woman said. “I cannot help you.”
    • Chapter 5, "Thin on the Ground"
  • “Fucking hell,” hissed Clammy. “What are you doing here?”
    “Looking for denim,” Hollis said, then had to point back at the shop, having no idea what it was called, discovering simultaneously that it apparently had no sign. “Gabriel Hounds. They don’t have any.”
    Clammy’s eyebrows might have gone up, beneath his black beanie. “Next to fucking impossible to find,” he pronounced, gravely. As if suddenly taking her, to her amazement and for the first time, seriously.
    • Chapter 5, "Thin on the Ground"
 
She picked up the jacket and helped Hollis into it. “Fit is very good…By-swing shoulders. Inside, elastic ribbons, pull it into shape. This detail is from HD Lee mechanic jacket, early Fifties.”
  • “Know what? The salt of the fucking earth never tells you it’s the salt of the fucking earth. People who get scammed, they’re all people who don’t know that.”
    • Chapter 9, "Fuckstick" (Heidi to Hollis)
  • There was something she found deeply peculiar about Milgrim's affect, even in this brief an exchange. He seemed genuinely mild, amiable, but also singularly alert, in some skewed way, as if there were something else looking out, around corners, swift and peripheral.
    "Why is Hubertus interested in fashion, now?” Hollis asked.
    “He isn’t. In any ordinary sense. That I know of.” And the obliquely-looking-out thing was there again, around that interior corner, and she felt its intelligence.
    “What is it, exactly, that you do, for him, around clothing? Are you a designer? A marketer?”
    “No. I notice things. I’m good with detail. I didn’t know that. It was something he pointed out to me.”
    • Chapter 13, "Muskrat"
  • Milgrim looked up from the plate, both elements of his oddly fragmented self seeming for the first time to see her simultaneously. “Why don’t you sing?”
    “Because I don’t sing,” Hollis said.
    “But you were famous. You must have been. There was a poster.”
    • Chapter 13, "Muskrat"
 
"Whose phone are you using?…I just e-mailed the number to someone, and they’re telling me the GPS is very amusing. Unless you’ve taken up marathon randomized teleportation.”
Image: DCIS Cyber Field Office
  • “Why did you take my picture?” Milgrim asked, unexpectedly bypassing his robot voice and sounding like a completely different person, the one you automatically and immediately arrest.
    “I’m obsessive,” Whitaker said.
    Milgrim blinked, shuddered.
    • Chapter 16, "Honor Bar"
  • “I wish I had a book.” There were a few expensively bound and weirdly neutered bookazines here, but he knew from glancing through them that these were bland advertisements for being wealthy, wealthy and deeply, witheringly unimaginative.
    Reading, his therapist had suggested, had likely been his first drug.
    • Chapter 18, "140" (Milgrim in London)
  • “What happened to your line?” Hollis asked.
    “Business happened…We crashed and burned. There might be a warehouse full of our last season in Seattle. If I could find it, get my hands on it, the eBay sales would be worth more money than we ever saw from the line.”
    • Chapter 23, "Meredith"
 
Hollis looked at the iPhone. She had no iconic image for Bigend. Maybe a blank rectangle of Klein Blue?
  • "They don’t know they’re con men…wildly overconfident. Omnipotence, omniscience—that’s part of the mythology that surrounds the Special Forces…Your guy can walk in the door and promise training in something he personally doesn’t know how to do, and not even realize he’s bullshitting about his own capabilities. It’s a special kind of gullibility…psychic tactical equipment. The Army put him through schools that promised to teach him how to do everything, everything that matters. And he believed them."
    • Chapter 42, "Elvis, Graceland" (Agent "Winnie" Whitaker to Milgrim)
  • "You can do sneaky-ass," Winnie said, "Instinct tells me. Whose phone are you using?…I just e-mailed the number to someone, and they’re telling me the GPS is very amusing. Unless you’ve taken up marathon randomized teleportation.”
    • Chapter 64, "Threat Management"

Gibson on Zero HistoryEdit

  • Simply in terms of ingredients, it’s about recent trends in the evolution of the psychology of luxury goods, crooked former Special Forces officers, corrupt military contractors, the wonderfully bizarre symbiotic relationship between designers of high-end snowboarding gear and manufacturers of military clothing, and the increasingly virtual nature of the global market.
  • I called it "Zero History" because one of the characters has had a missing decade, during which he paid no taxes and had no credit cards. He meets a federal agent, who tells him that that combination indicates to her that he hasn’t been up to much good, the past ten years…Events find him, and he starts to acquire a history. And, one assumes, a credit rating, and the need to pay taxes.
    It’s also the first book I’ve written in which anyone gets engaged to be married.
    • "Talk for Book Expo, New York," 2010.

External linksEdit

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  1. Dueben, Alex (October 2, 2007). An Interview With William Gibson The Father of Cyberpunk. California Literary Review.
  2. Chang, Angela (January 10, 2007). "Q&A: William Gibson". w:PC Magazine 26 (3).