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wealhtheow

wealhtheow

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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Zero History - William Gibson Hollis Henry, an ex-punk rockstar, is called in to do another job for Hubertus Bigend and his PR company Blue Ant. This time, he wants her find out who designs a particularly underground clothing label. Assisting her will be Milgrim, the ex-junkie who can translate Russian (this is seriously his only skill, but given that Hollis has no skills at all, it's a step up). They wander Europe on Blue Ant's obscenely expansive expense account asking people about the clothing label. This is literally the entirety of their plan: to walk up to other clothing designers and ask them if they know about this underground label. Over and over again. It doesn't result in much plot or dialog, but it does give Gibson an excuse to describe, ad nauseum, the outfit of every single character in every single scene. Around page 300 Gibson seems to recollect that books require plots, and randomly there's a kidnapping. Hollis and Milgrim are, as in everything, useless in getting their kidnapped colleague back. Somehow, Hollis's boyfriend turns up with a plan. Random coincidences occur, everyone speaks in clipped non-sequitors, and the kidnapped colleague gets free.

I never knew what was happening or why I should care, nor did I like any of the characters*, no matter how cool their haircuts and boots (although apparently their hair and boots are very cool indeed. Gibson expends a great deal of effort and page space reminding us of this). It's a terrible, dull book. Gibson was known for his prescient views of the future, but given that every page is a list of brandnames, his current stories will seem dated very quickly. Skip this series.



*Actually, I quite enjoyed Heidi, Hollis's former drummer and a physically fearless bad-ass.