“Zero History” by William Gibson

The third in Gibson’s “Bigend” trilogy, Zero History brings back two of the three main characters from Spook Country, Milgrim and Hollis. Milgrim is now working for Bigend, and Hollis reluctantly drawn back into doing same.

She was starting her second cup, Times unread, when she saw Hubertus Bigend mount the stairhead, down the full length of the long room, wrapped in a wide, putty-colored trench coat.

He was the ultimate if velour-robe types, and might just as well have been wearing one now as he swept toward her through the drawing room, unknotting the coat’s belt as he came, pawing back its Crimean lapels, and revealing the only International Klein Blue suit she’d ever seen. He somehow managed always to give her the impression, seeing him again, that he’d grown visibly larger, though without gaining any particular weight. Simply bigger. Perhaps, she thought, if if he grew somehow closer.

Both Milgrim and Hollis are, improbably, on the trail of… wait for it…

pants. Milgrim is trying to find a prototype of a good military pant, while Hollis is recruited to track down something known as a secret brand. Tying together the marketing and fashion aspects from Pattern Recognition and the spy/spook elements from Spook Country, Zero History brings in old characters and weaves them in with new. It is not easily identifiable by genre, though Gibson is traditionally shelved in Science Fiction. There’s mystery, thriller, and even romance. This book, like its predecessors, was plain fun to read and had a huge amount of “I want to know what happens next” charisma, which carried me swiftly along, with short chapters and alternating viewpoints.

After finishing, I thoroughly enjoyed this interview with Gibson from the current print edition of Rain Taxi. And I look forward to spelunking through his previous works.

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