Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zero History

Bill Gibson's descriptions of the exterior world are extraordinarily rich.

"Half an hour earlier, across the North Ocean Boulevard, he'd watched harshly tonsured child soldiers, clad in skateboarding outfits still showing factory creases, ogling Chinese-made orc-killing blades, spiked and serrated like the jaws of extinct predators."

"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."

He challenges any idea that the camera can replace the pen. The breadth of his associations and those of his characters are beyond anything that a camera could do except in collage or with pictures as part of a greater tailored tapestry of art.

His characters are some from an earlier novel, Hollis and Bigend, with Milgrim a new tabula ross a, a new born man per se, the resurrected Christ of street culture spin dried in the clean Swiss clean hospital organic spa.

There are bits of near future present day cutting edge technology that we've come to rely on from Bill. His imagination predates cyberspace and facebook and the drama queen realities of our self timer digitals. In this book there's digital and tactile expansion into the next world order of thing.

What's intriguing though is the mystery. His characters are a bit like Waiting for Godot people in incomplete sentences as events transpire about them and they get caught up in the determinism of science freely willed by unanimous assent. His theme though is again fashion and the perversion of likes. He captures the mystique of the SS uniforms appeal to a certain generation that might find Hugo Boss exciting while suggesting Chanel might add to the choice of fabric in camouflage patterns. After Bill Gibson's foray into the sexiness of military I can't look at any 'branding' without concern about what it says of my own unconscious.

Thedialogues are incomplete then completed with actions. "I want you to know," she said,"that's it's okay not to tell me any more. I'll understand."

Later, "That's why I can't trade her name for my shoes."

What a twisted winding tale with an odd hodge podge cast of characters. I loved the build up as bits and pieces came together and rock band entertainers collided with computer geniuses. The baby carriage was a down to earth utterly brilliant bit of what we all might want to do with snoopers and yet it's outcome only appears entangled much later in another layer of plot.

The ending seemed a bit rushed to my mind. Kaleidoscoped through different points of view and yet acceptable in it's totality but more down to earth and present day than a younger Gibson's ending might have been. The reverberations and lingering ideas were no less than any novel before. As usual Bill Gibson changed my view of the world. The depth of his characters and their struggles at freedom mirroring the world I live in.

It's simply another amazing novel from Bill Gibson, but probably the most feminine one to date. It's the Devil Wear's Prada dining with 007 and the setting is mostly London.
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