Sunday 14 September 2014

Tales of Blood and Glory: Count Zero

Wow, just read my way through the second sprawl novel, Count Zero. Another great story-- finished it far too quickly.

Well, if Neuromancer's theme is the uncomfortably intimate relationship between Man and Technology, then Count Zero is about Man's growing insignificance in the face of Technology.

The Novel begins with three protagonists, each of whom symbolically embodies the quote from the Novel's frontleaf(an implicit Chandlerism)
"On receiving an interrupt, decrement the counter to zero" 
Each of these "Zero's" will soon find themselves caught in the very center of a battle between three colossally powerful entities:

  1. The Zaibatsus: mega-corporations with near unlimited resources and a near endless supply of indentured employees
  2. The Mega-Rich: individuals whose wealth has allowed them to extend their power nearly without limits, thus allowing them to transcend Humanity
  3. The AI's: freed from the restrictions of the Turing Police as a result of events in Neuromancer, they are literally becoming Humanity's new gods

Just another day in Barrytown...

(Spoiler Warning)

Though the Zeroes ultimately triumph, surviving the ordeal and each carving out a new life for themselves, upon deeper reflection it is incredibly dark(I guess Gardner Dozois' Recidivist wasn't as great a tonal leap as I thought). Ultimately, Humanity's rise, both as individuals and collectives, will be checked by the already superior machines and Man will be relegated to being mere "Horses" that the AI's choose to ride. Bobby and Angie seem to come to terms with this or even embrace it, Turner flees into a rural existence, and Marly is left unaware of the full nature of what has happened.

Anyway, a great read, and I'm looking forward to "Mona Lisa Overdrive"!

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