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Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson

Mona Lisa Overdrive (original 1988; edition 1989)

by William Gibson

Series: Sprawl (3)

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5,35230819 (3.77)51
Title:Mona Lisa Overdrive
Authors:William Gibson
Info:Spectra (1989), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson (1988)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I've come to discover that I really don't like William Gibson's writing. I know why. Part of it is just that it's uninteresting. Strikes me as someone *trying* to sound like a writer. The other--main--issue is that white guys who write books full of derogatory/racist names for non-whites strike me as very inauthentic. This book is filled with those. The "default" is never slagged, but any Asian or black person has a racist nickname. Latinos are lucky to have been completely ignored in this book, even though Mexico is mentioned.

Some people may not have an issue with this. I don't care.


The story is very interesting and could have been very good had it been tied up better. The last few chapters were a lot of meandering and tedious "cleverness" that is never worthwhile. Such a shame, because I thought of 4 different and interesting endings that would have worked well with the author's sort of "cleverness". ( )
  fabooj | Feb 3, 2015 |
Great novel by a true scifi genius!
  CowboyBeBib | Sep 18, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third and final novel in William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy, it’s been seven years since Angie Mitchell (from Count Zero) was taken out of Maas Biolabs and now she’s a famous simstim star who’s trying to break her designer drug habit. But a jealous Lady 3Jane plans to kidnap Angie and replace her with a cheap prostitute named Mona Lisa who’s addicted to stimulants and happens to look like Angie.

In a dilapidated section of New Jersey, Slick Henry makes large animated robotic sculptures out of scrap metal. He owes Kid Afrika a favor, so now he has to hide the comatose body of Bobby Newmark (aka “Count Zero”). Bobby is jacked into an Aleph where he’s got some secret project going on. A Cleveland girl named Cherry Chesterfield is Bobby’s nurse.

Kumiko is the daughter of a Japanese Yakuza crime boss. Her father has sent her to live in London while the Yakuza war is going on. There she meets Gibson’s most iconic character, Molly Millions, who’s going by the name Sally Shears. Molly is being blackmailed by Lady 3Jane, so Kumiko inadvertently gets dragged into the kidnapping plot.

Mona Lisa Overdrive contains several exciting action scenes which feature kidnappings, shoot-outs, helicopter escapes, remote-controlled robot warriors, collapsing catwalks, and falling refrigerators. These are loosely connected by the continuation and conclusion of the AI plot which began in Neuromancer. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the sketchy ending or the wacky reveal on the last page, but that’s okay. I was mainly reading Mona Lisa Overdrive for the style, anyway.

So much of Gibson’s style and success stems from the mesmerizing world he’s built — a future Earth in which national governments have been replaced by large biotech companies. Japan is modern and glitzy and much of the former United States has fallen into decay. By the time you get to Mona Lisa Overdrive (don’t even attempt to read it before reading both Neuromancer and Count Zero), you’re feeling rather comfortable (or as comfortable as is possible to feel) in this world, so the setting lacks the force it had in the previous novels. In Mona Lisa Overdrive, you’ll visit London, but it seems to be stuck in the 20th century, so it feels instantly (and a little disappointingly) familiar.

But Gibson manages to keep things fresh and highlight his unique style by introducing new characters and delving deep into their psyches. Even minor characters are works of art, such as Eddy, Mona’s low-class scheming pimp, and Little Bird, who earned that moniker because of his weird hairdo. Even when the plots don’t satisfy, it’s entertaining enough just to hang out with Gibson’s unforgettable characters. The exception is Kumiko, who has little personality and seems to exist mainly to remind us that Japan has surpassed America, and for an excuse to show us a new bit of cool technology (Colin, the chip-ghost).

In 1989, Mona Lisa Overdrive was nominated for, but did not win, the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the Locus Award. It lacks the impact of its prequels, but it’s still a stylish piece of work and not to be missed if you’re a fan of William Gibson. I listened to the audio version narrated by Jonathan Davis. He is excellent, as always, and I recommend this version to audio readers. You may have to work at Neuromancer on audio if you’re not familiar with this world and its slang, but by the time you get to Mona Lisa Overdrive, that problem is long gone. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Better than Count Zero, but not as good as Nueromancer. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | Jun 20, 2013 |
Mona Lisa Overdrive is the third book in Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, and it's the most fully-realized of the three. The plots of Neuromancer and Count Zero followed the same pattern, and Count Zero really only served as a bridge between the first and third books. Mona Lisa Overdrive flips back and forth between four subplots which weave together nicely, both with each other and with the previous two books. The characters start to matter a little more and feel more like real people than 2D plot-puppets. Having seen how it all ends, I think it might be worth revisiting Neuromancer someday to view it with more experienced eyes. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 20, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gibson, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cormier,WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Häilä, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my sister,
Fran Gibson,
with amazement and love...
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The ghost was her father's parting gift, presented by a black-clad secretary in a departure lounge at Narita.
The world hadn't ever had so many moving parts or so few labels. [Mona: 231]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553281747, Mass Market Paperback)

Into the cyber-hip world of William Gibson comes Mona, a young girl with a murky past and an uncertain future whose life is on a collision course with internationally famous Sense/Net star Angie Mitchell. Since childhood, Angie has been able to tap into cyberspace without a computer. Now, from inside cyberspace, a kidnapping plot is masterminded by a phantom entity who has plans for Mona, Angie, and all humanity, plans that cannot be controlled...or even known. And behind the intrigue lurks the shadowy Yakuza, the powerful Japanese underworld, whose leaders ruthlessly manipulate people and events to suit their own purposes.

An over-the-top thrill ride sequel to Neuromancer and Count Zero.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Living in the vast computer landscape of cyberspace, young Mona taps into the mind of world-famous Sense/Net star Angie Mitchell who deciphers cyperspace plans, including those devised by Japanese underworld.

(summary from another edition)

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