1. Cabinet - page 1

1. Cabinet - page 1

William Gibson published most of this opening Chapter as the first three Fragments of a Hologram Bill -on his blog entitled

  • Cabinet
  • Hold the Coprophagia
  • Cricket

    Mentions of characters from the previous novel Spook Country such as Hollis Henry and Reg Inchmale and Hubertus Bigend (who also featured in the earlier Pattern Recognition, establishes Zero History as the third novel in, what is presumably, a trilogy.

    See Zero History blog for William Gibson's Twitter clue:

    "Bigend Books" trilogy by William Gibson

    It was very interesting to find that there was a real life Private Members' Club in some 18th Century aristocratic town houses on the north side of Portman Square in London:

    See Inchmale's club in Portman Square

    and the London CyberPunk Tourist Guide article Home House Club, Portman Square for a few photos of the exterior.

    At the north west corner of Portman Square, where it meets the southern end of Gloucester Place are three 18th Century town houses, which have been converted into a luxurious private members club.

    The Home House Club (pronounced "hume", after the Scottish / Berwickshire aristocratic clan, to whom at least one British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home was related) occupies Numbers 21, 20 and 19 Portman Square. The entrance to Number 21 is on the western, Gloucester Place side of the block, and Numbers 20 and 19 are on the main Portman Square façade.

    This real life club, may have influenced the fragment of cyberpunk literary author William Gibson's next novel, mentioning as it does the character of Inchmale, who appeared in Spook Country

    See some discussion on the official William Gibson board discussion forum
    Inchmale's club in Portman Square, which speculates on a fragment of text (which may, or may not actually end up in a novel) released by the author on his blog on 1st January 2009.

    CABINET (HAPPY NEW YEAR) posted 12:09 AM

    Inchmale's club, in Portman Square, was called Cabinet. It was a peculiarly narrow place, apparently occupying half of the vertical volume of a townhouse whose expensively forgettable façade reminded her of a sleeping face.


    Apart from a futuristic architect designed House bar at Number 21,


    the interior decoration evokes 18th Century aristocratic opulence, including

    Anthony Blunt Bedroom

    Named after a former resident of House No 20 who had an apartment here after the Second World War during his tenure as Master of the Queen's Art Collection.



    This blurb conveniently forgets to mention Anthony Blunt's espionage career as a KGB spook, linked to the notorious Philby, Maclean and Burgess spy scandals, which rocked the British intelligence services in the 1950s and 1960s, and which was covered up by the establishment for many years, and which led to the stripping of his knighthood, when it was eventually made public. The treachery of the Cambridge Five spy ring has been hugely influential on British spy fiction, drama, tv and films.


    Latitude: N51:30:59 (51.516433)
    Longitude: W0:09:24 (-0.156541)



    More images of 21, 20, 19 Portman Square:





    The Question raised in the WGB thread about whether "Inchmale's club" implies his Membership of, or Ownership of the Club is answered in this initial Chapter:

    Cabinet,so called, of Curiosities, unspoken. Inchmale had become a member shortly after they,


    Inchmale had argued that joining Cabinet would ultimately prove cheaper than a hotel.

    (page 2)

    down the stairs with the widdershins twist

    (page 3)

    Widdershins means anti-clockwise, but evokes connotations of contrariness - see the Wkipedia article Widdershins

    Inchmale, on first pointing it out to her, had suggested that she adopt it as a totem, her spirit beast. He claimed tat he already had, subsequently discovering he could magically herniate the disks of unsuspecting music executives at will, causing them to suffer excruciating pain and a profound sense of helplessness.

    A herniated disk usually refers to a "slipped disk" in ones spine, but given the music business context, I initially took it mean that Inchmale could magically cause music disks (CD or DVD) to cause music executives pain.

    This is another use of the imagery of Voodoo style magic or shamanistic religion, which William Gibson has explored in previous novels, such as Count Zero and Spook Country

    William Gibson playfully sets up another self-referential feedback loop, between his text and an external reference source like Wikipedia (or even a classical Dictionary) which is reminiscent of his then fictional Wikipedia entry for Hubertus Bigend in Spook Country. which, of course, ended up as part of the real wikipedia entry for Hubertus Bigend.

    Most readers will have to look up the definition of Echolalia

    According to Wikipedia:

    Echolalia is the automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person

    Holly Henry does exactly that, when remembering Inchmale's description of the ornate bed, the Piblokoto Madness bed (keep a watch out for this phrase in future chapters)

    pages 5 and 6

    The Piblokoto Madness bed, Inchmale called it. "Intense hysteria," she recited now, from memory, "depression, coprophagia, insensitivity to cold, echolalia".


    "Hold the coprophagia," she added.


    "Echolalia," she said,


    "Intense hysteria," she said.


    "Coprophagia." Briskly, as if announcing a busy department in a large hospital.

About this blog

In collaboration with Node Magazine this the ZeroHistory.net blog contribution to discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism around the novel by cyber punk / literary fiction author William Gibson, entitled Zero History, which was officially published on Tuesday 7th September 2010

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Zero History blog

Zero History blog - ZeroHistory.net - discussion and analysis of William Gibson's Zero History novel, to be published on 7th September 2010 in the USA and on 30th August 2010 in the UK.

Spook Country blog

Spook Country blog - SpookCountry.co.uk - includes discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's previous novel Spook Country

"Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation

Our "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence

The Node Magazine node.tumblr.com, which this was a collaborative online contribution to, was online even before the official publication date of the first hardback edition of the book in August 2007.

This has been commented on by the author William Gibson, and described by Emeritus Professor of English Literature John Sutherland as "the future of literary crticism"

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

Originally prompted by the preparations for William Gibson book signing and lecture event promoting Spook Country in London, during August 2007, this "local knowledge" guide to places of interest to cyberpunk fans was compiled, and has been subsequently expanded.

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide - http://CyberPunk.org.uk

Please feel free to add comments or send emails, to keep it up to date.


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