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William Gibson blog hints about Zero History

William Gibson's now infrequently updated blog (now that the is a heavy user of Twitter) gives some tantalising plot and location hints about the forthcoming novel ZeroHistory

Monday, May 31, 2010

BOOK EXPO AMERICA LUNCHEON TALKBOOK EXPO AMERICA LUNCHEON TALK

posted 4:57 PM

[...]

Zero History, my ninth novel, will be published this September, rounding out that third set of three books. It's set in London and Paris, last year, in the wake of global financial collapse.

Some of the fragments of text previously published on the blog are set on the cost of South Carolina, where William Gibson grew up in his youth.

See the official William Gibson Books discussion board thread Fragments of a Hologram Bill

I wish that I could tell you what it's about, but I haven't yet discovered my best likely story, about that. That will come with reviews, audience and bookseller feedback (and booksellers are especially helpful, in that way). Along with however many interviews, these things will serve as a sort of oracle, suggesting to me what it is I've been doing for the past couple of years.

If Pattern Recognition was about the immediate psychic aftermath of 9-11, and Spook Country about the deep end of the Bush administration and the invasion of Iraq, I could say that Zero History is about the global financial crisis as some sort of nodal event, but that must be true of any 2010 novel with ambitions on the 2010 zeitgeist. But all three of these novels are also about that dawning recognition that the future, be it capital-T Tomorrow or just tomorrow, Friday, just means more stuff, however peculiar and unexpected. A new quotidian. Somebody's future, somebody else's past.

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. But that quotidian now finds him. Events find him, and he starts to acquire a history. And, one assumes, a credit rating, and the need to pay taxes.
>

At a guess, that character is likely to be Milgrim, who features in Spook Country and also in three of the blog published text fragments: "The Gabriel Hounds", "Fifteen" and "Maquette, which are likely chapter titles in Zero History.

It's also the first book I've written in which anyone gets engaged to be married.

[...]

"Neals Yard...is also glimpsed, literally on the run, in Zero History."

A small plot hint via William Gibson's blog, where he has been answering questions from some William Gibson Board fans, which mentions a central London location in Zero History, which also featured in Pattern recognition and in Spook Country:

William Gibson blog - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - 8.27 AM

From Bictaker:
Q In Pattern Recognition, Cayce visits Neal's Yard, which seemingly fits her character profile and compliments the storyline for me, as I find it a wonderful little corner of our metropolis. But, why Neal's Yard? Did you pick it at random - a pin in the map, had a previous chance visit created an impression, or was it recommended to you as an appropriately bohemian locale for the leading lady to frequent.

A If you know the 60s history, it's a Disneylanded bohemia. Very amiably Disneylanded, but still. But I think I sent her there because I'd seen a sign, a few years earlier, announcing a Pilates studio. Oddly, Neals Yard (some people insist on spelling it that way) is also glimpsed, literally on the run, in Zero History. My first British publisher was Victor Gollancz, on the other side of Covent Garden, so I have fond memories of Seven Dials when it was still somewhat seedy. Paul Smith had set up in Floral Street but there was still a certain sub-Soho grit.

[...]

"Neal's Yard" or "Neals Yard" ?

The missing apostrophe in Neals Yard is not due to the road sign erected by the Local Council's highways department perhaps it is the influence of mobile phone SMS text messaging abbreviations.

However, there is a growing trend in the United Kingdom, whereby illiterate local council bureaucratic jobsworths decide to drop the apostrophe and other punctuation in street signs and on maps. This also affects many place names named after Saints, e.g. The Daily Telegraph newspaper illustrates this point in an article with photos of

ST.. PAUL'S SQUARE

which has mutated into

ST PAULS SQUARE

in the centre of the city of Birmingham.

stpaulssquare_signs_450.jpg

St. Paul's Square in Birmingham with and without the apostrophe Photo: PA via the Daily Telegraph - Apostrophes abolished by council

Note also the abbreviation of "Saint" simply to "ST" rather than to "ST." or the more complicated abbreviation illustrated above.

Inevitably, being Britain, there is an Apostrophe Protection Society which opposes this trend.

If you look at these Google Street View images>, you can see that the old street signs at the Monmouth Street entrance to Neal's Yard

Monmouth_Street_entrance_Neals_Yard_gsv.jpg

and at the Short's Gardens entrance (note another apostrophe)

Shorts_Gardens_entrance_to_Neals_Yard_gsv_450.jpg

both still display the apostrophe in Neal's Yard, as do all of the shops and shopping arcades nearby.

Running through or past Neal's Yard CCTV

Anybody running through or past Neal's Yard, as hinted at in the William Gibson blog post above, might be picked up on the Closed Circuit TeleVision (CCTV) surveillance cameras which cover both of these entrances.

There are further CCTV cameras within Neal''s Yard proper, which appear to be connected via infra red laser data links to the Thomas Neal shopping arcade on the other side of Short's Gardens.

CCTV_infra_red_laser_data_links_into_Neals_Yard_gsv_450.jpg<br />

See London CyberPunk Tourist Guide - Covent Garden - Neal's Yard

NEALs_Yard_2_300.jpg

There is also a Blue Plaque dedicated to Monty Python, where the famous eccentric British comedy series / industry began its initial recordings:

Neals_Yard_Monty_Python_Blue_Plaque_300.jpg

The Short's Gardens entrance to Neal's Yard has a water clock sculpture. One shop to west, is the Neal's Yard Dairy Cheese Shop, which harks back to the original use of the premises.

This shop produces an overwhelming taste and smell sensation, with real "live" cheeses such as Cheddar and Stilton etc.. and is one of cyberpunk fiction author William Gibson's favourite shops in this area :

Friday, August 31, 2007

A SOVEREIGN FOR SOUL-DELAY
posted 5:03 AM

Yesterday morning I walked around the corner to Neils Yard Dairy and bought myself 200g. of the Montgomery's unpasteurized cheddar.

Asked for it by name. The clerk, in a proper cheeseman's cap, wrapped my interestingly discoloured wedge in that special white paper they use, glossy on the inside, folding it that way I can never quite master.

Now it's 5:23AM PST, back in Vancouver, and the Montgomery's cheddar really *is* a sovereign medicine for jet lag. And that is the reason it costs almost as much as heroin, in America.

Interestingly, now (20th August 2009), the offices above this Neil's Yard Dairy are being advertised as "Trendy Offices to Let"

Neals_Yard_Dairy_Cheese_Shop_450.jpg



About this blog

This is the ZeroHistory.net blog

Discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism around the forthcoming new novel by cyber punk / literary fiction author William Gibson, which is currently in progress, and which is provisionally entitled Zero History.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

blog @ ZeroHistory.net

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, feel free to make use of our PGP public encryption key for blog @ ZeroHistory.net or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

William Gibson's Twitter feed - GreatDismal

William Gibson is now a keen user of Twitter, rather than his now seemingly abandoned blog, so that is now the most likely place to find the latest news about his writing, or travels etc.

It is also the place to spot his occaisinal requests to his fans, for help with research on specific background details, some of which may, or may not, end up in the finished novel Zero History which he is currently working on.

William Gibson's Twitter stream - GreatDismal

"Zero History" hyperlink cloud annotation

For "Zero History", we aim to repeat the success of our collaborative "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence.

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"

Zero History blog & Node Magazine - hyperlink cloud literary criticism & annotation

Gabriel Hounds - Systemneustart

The German translation of Zero History is entitled Systemneutstart - "System Re-Boot"

A class of students at the Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany, have a group blog, which analyses some of the themes of this novel which they call:

Gabriel Hounds

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

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

As part of 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.

Links

Wikipedia entry for William Gibson.

Official William Gibson Books website: www.williamgibsonbooks.com

Wiliam Gibson's blog post announcement What's in a name? of Zero History as the title of his new novel.

William Gibson's Twitter announcement of the Zero History title.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

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"Zero History" hyperlink cloud annotation

For "Zero History", we aim to repeat the success of our collaborative "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence.

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"

Zero History blog & Node Magazine - hyperlink cloud literary criticism & annotation

Zero History Cover Art

Zero_History_amazon_150.jpg

Zero History blog Cover Art category archive

Zero_History_UK_cover_art_150.jpg

Systemneustart_cover_150.jpg German edition: Systemneustart approximates to "System Re-boot"

Recent Comments

  • Mark Fudge: Foyles sold out already - that kinda of sucks... read more
  • Memetic Engineer: William Gibson describes this "otakublog" as "actually very useful" http://twitter.com/GreatDismal/status/11107753199 Zero History otakublog http://bit.ly/avsZpn This sort of thing is becoming read more
  • Memetic Engineer: William Gibson corrects his previous tweet: http://twitter.com/GreatDismal/status/11103336804 Correction: 641 ms. pages. Forgot and left part of beginning of book on read more
  • Memetic Engineer: William Gibson has now finished the manuscript, according to this tweet: http://twitter.com/GreatDismal/status/11067870492 Zero History completed. 644 ms. pages, which is read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ Joe Parrish - thanks for spotting that ! I have posted the details as a blog article. read more
  • Joe Parrish: You probably know this but at the Putnam sight in there fall adult catalog on pages 14 and 15, 15 read more
  • Memetic Engineer: custom Jankel-armored Toyota Hilux with Israeli nano-glass windows http://twitter.com/GreatDismal/status/9610309225 @ceesaxp Bigend is currently driving a custom Jankel-armored Toyota Hilux with read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ Caplewood - thanks for spotting the Amazon.com publication details for Zero History I shall keep an eye out for read more
  • Caplewood: Amazon lists the publication date for Zero History as September 7, 2010. read more
  • Caplewood: . . .much less otaku like, than your obscured /shortened link to the Google translation of the Japanese Wikipedia article. read more

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