What Comes Beyond Neuromancer
Rest assured, there is more to metaversal fiction than the works of William Gibson. Not that I'm complaining about Mr Gibson's work in any way. Neuromancer and Count Zero have been two pieces of fiction that I've enjoyed very much. It has influenced my opinions on many things, biosoft/microsoft, and the origins of cyberspace. It is what allows me to enjoy Black Ice so much. It's just that I'm trying to build on continuity with my writing here, and so linear travel seemed logical.
The second of Gibson's Sprawl books is no less enjoyable than the first. It takes place after the first book, which means you get to see the fruits of Molly and Case's actions. This alone makes Count Zero a worthwhile read. The dominos were poised so perfectly at the end of Neuromancer to fall into place. What place? We had no way to know but things start to reveal themselves and it's rather rewarding. The fragments of AI and the way that they integrate to their newfound "life" are a very entertaining spin on machine sentience.
I reached a personal conclusion after my second read of Count Zero, and it's what I feel best sums up the book: it feels like the most excellent fan fiction ever. It feels as if a master fan, one with imagination and excellent wordcraft, decided to pick up the pen where Gibson left off and paint new pictures in his Sprawl world. The introspection and character definition feels good, and the world-building qualities that I enjoyed so much in Neuromancer are still there, but it feels like a love-letter to that world. Not a complaint really. I remember reading somewhere that Gibson didn't really want to continue in that world, which is why he chooses to state that Case never saw Molly again. Not sure if that's the case, but if so it makes a lot of sense to me. It's almost as if he chose to reflect on his first work in a new and different way. That's exactly what Count Zero feels like.
It you like projected future-cultures, in-orbit space travel, espionage, black ops missions, and all the biosoft goodness of Neruomancer: check out Count Zero. It is an enjoyable read, and a well told story.