Instead of technical information and a sentient AI point of view or endless discussions about what makes us human, the effects of technology on society and freewill we re treated to the lives of four characters in sequential chapters whose lives are on a fateful collision course plotted by unseen powers in a typical example of a cyberpunk future chrome, imaginative technological advances, massive dichotomy between the rich and the poor, crazy new synthetic drugs, mirrorshades, a truly global society.
It s seedy and complex and Gibson writes compelling intrigue dropping you in to the middle of these characters lives and never explaining what s going on or how the world came to be the way it is You re led to understand what a specific piece of technology is as it s used, not explicitly just inferred, the same can be said about relationships between characters and even the way MLO ties in to the previous books in the sequence It s impressively done and a solidly entertaining read I always note this with Gibson and yet I continue to be surprised that it is the case.
I love the way William Gibson writes If I could imagine and set down the kind of books I want to read, his would be as near to the mark as possible.
Gibson is the literary heir to Philip K Dick s homey futurism his is the messenger, the rent a cop, the retail appliance repairman in the grimy but tech advanced future our blue collar, street wise guide to the mesmerizing world building.
Gibson s 1988 conclusion to his groundbreaking Sprawl trilogy was a demonstration of some of his best writing What began in the epochal Neuromancer, the Sprawl that confluence of all the major urban centers on the United States east coast, from Boston to Atlanta is a setting that provides Gibson s able mind and extraordinary talent to describe for us a dystopian cyberpunk landscape that has influenced SF writing ever since.
In this novel we see a return of Molly Millions though she is semi retired and operating under a different alias and a seamy tangle of interests involving organized crime, near future state of the market tech, drugs and biotech, corporate espionage, capitalistic anarchy and all rolled up in the neo noir setting that has become Gibson s trademark.
And his exceptional writing The world hadn t ever had so many moving parts or so few labels This was nothing like Tokyo, where the past, all that remained of it, was nurtured with a nervous care History there had become a quantity, a rare thing, parceled out by government and preserved by law and corporate funding Here it seemed the very fabric of things, as if the city were a single growth of stone and brick, uncounted strata of message and meaning, age upon age, generated over the centuries to the dictates of some now all but unreadable DNA of commerce and empire Because sometimes it feels good to shake it all off, get out from under Chances are, we haven t But maybe we have Maybe nobody, nobody at all, knows where we are Nice feeling, huh You could be kinked, you ever think of that Maybe your dad, the Yak warlord, he s got a little bug planted in you so he can keep track of his daughter You got those pretty little teeth, maybe Daddy s dentist tucked a little hardware in there one time when you were into a stim You go to the dentist Yes You stim while he works Yes There you go Maybe he s listening to us right now And somewhere, in a black California morning, some hour before dawn, amid the corridors, the galleries, the faces of dream, fragments of conversation she half recalled, waking to pale fog against the windows of the master bedroom, she prized something free and dragged it back through the wall of sleep Rolling over, fumbling through a bedside drawer, finding a Porsche pen, a present from an assistant grip, she inscribed her treasure on the glossy back of an Italian fashion magazine Speculative fiction GOLD.
William Gibson, Author Of The Extraordinary Multiaward Winning Novel Neuromancer, Has Written His Most Brilliant And Thrilling Work To Date The Mona Lisa Overdrive Enter Gibson S Unique World Lyric And Mechanical, Erotic And Violent, Sobering And Exciting Where Multinational Corporations And High Tech Outlaws Vie For Power, Traveling Into The Computer Generated Universe Known As Cyberspace Into This World 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 Or So They Think William Gibson s conclusion to the Sprawl trilogy Conclusion is in quotes because it s a loose trilogy.
Gibson does what he does best in this novel takes three different story arcs and weaves them together into a wonderful story that comes together neatly in the end.
Kumiko is a young teenager who is the daughter of a powerful yakuza She s sent to England to hide from her father s enemies, with only a ghost, given to her by her father, to keep her company The ghost is really an AI unit that can help her in almost endless ways It presents as a British child named Colin.
Slick is a poor young man who is homeless and living in a junkyard with a few other boys He builds robots to express his anger and fear and negative feelings about the time he spent in prison for stealing cars Soon trouble comes to his door in the form of a comatose man on a stretcher He comes equipped with his own personal nurse, Cherry, another poor person who at least knows some med tech This mysterious comatose man is delivered with instructions to keep him hidden and safe, and there sure is a lot of money and fear behind that desire.
Angie is Angela Mitchell, you ll recognize her from Book 2 Count Zero She has been lucky she leads a life of fame and fortune and glamour as a very popular TV star But being so famous also means being monitored very closely, and after being in rehab to get off some drugs she feels the need to rethink her life Especially since her boyfriend Bobby Newmark has left her and no one has any idea where he isLastly, we have Mona The character that made me very anxious throughout the book She s a 16 year old whore and her pimp Eddy is a nasty piece of work He acquired her when she was 14 and he s got this sick dating you pimping you out relationship with her that just made my skin crawl Especially hearing Gibson explain what he has her do in order to get off shudder But then a man shows up a man very interested in Mona s looks He gives Eddy 2,000 to take her away and have extensive plastic surgery done on her Can she find her freedom or is she going from the frying pan to the fire.
This was not as good as the first two books in the trilogy, in my opinion, but it was still VERY good I knew it was good because I was anxious and worried about the characters and what would happen to them.
I m telling you, nothing makes my heart sick with worry and aching pain than reading about a whore So Gibson immediately had my full attention when little Mona was introduced She s got a drug addiction, she s with this creep she s got no past and no future Then, to make things worse, this man comes in and we have no idea if this guy is a creep, if he s going to do something horrible with her or if this will be her ticket out of the Life, or what, I was nervous as heck and screaming at my book Luckily, I trust Gibson not to let me down and he didn t.
The writing is wonderful.
And I love, love, love when Gibson surprises me with a character I liked feeling like I knew the character, and underestimated her and then Gibson would have her do something smart or brave that was unexpected and I would cheer He s very good at this It s not as if the person is acting out of character, it s as if there s a level to the character you never realized or a layer you hadn t known existed It s amazing This is what s missing from a lot of books, the extra sauce that gets you a five star rating from me.
Another thing I liked about this book was that Gibson brings back characters from books 1 and 2 characters you thought had dropped off the face of the earth and you are so glad to see them again and find out what happened to them.
Now, Gibson s not a pretty, happy, everything is wonderful writer I mean, this is gritty cyberpunk and a lot of dirty, grimy stuff happens, a lot of inventions, a lot of cyberspace, a lot of action scenes It s pretty awesome But the most awesome thing is the human thread through the whole trilogy Addiction, poverty, fame, prostitution all these themes come back again and again When I started reading Neuromancer I was afraid all the tech stuff would be too much or too difficult for me But even thought this book is jam packed with all the cyber punk goodness a geeked out nerd could want, it also has such a touching, human element to it that hooks people like me.
I am so glad I picked up this trilogy I had avoided it for so long and all my fears were for nothing It turned out to be a 5 star trilogy for me It s definitely not for everyone, though.
The world hadn t ever had so many moving parts or so few labelsWilliam Gibson, Mona Lisa OverdriveThere is something about Gibson that keeps me coming back Part of it is how, like PKD, he seems to always have a sense of what is around the next two corners Not just the objects No The textures and smells and ambiguities too It is like Gibson doesn t just have foresight, he has foresmell and foretaste Anyway, even with that, this wasn t his best book and not in the strong half of the Sprawl trilogy In this book Gibson is weaving together four plot threads Thread One Japanese Yakuza princess in peril hides in London and hangs with Sally Shears aka Molly Milions of Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic fame.
Thread Two Angie Mitchell from Book 2 Count Zero of the Sprawl trilogy seeks to find lost boyfriend while dealing with the addiction and costs of Simstim fame.
Thread Three Mona a innocent prostitute is sucked into a crime world where she is made to look like Angie as a piece in an abduction attempt on Angie.
Thread Four Slick Henry and friends care for the comatose body of the Count Bobby Newmark from the Count Zero.
One note I did appreciate how diligent Gibson is in building strong female characters There are just as many ass kicking females as damsels in distress Gibson doesn t flirt with feminist ideas He is able to incorporate strong women naturally It isn t decoration or an after thought It appears as natural to him as writing about fabric or fashion.
Gibson weaves these various plots and characters together and it all only frays a bit toward the end I get where he was trying to go with everything, it just lost a bit of focus, the resolution wasn t great, the pay off was subpar But still I know when Gibson writes another book, I ll get sucked back in because the Matrix Cyberspace Sprawl worlds Gibson builds feel bright enough to attract and worn enough to comfort.
One of the later books of Gibson that I read It left me with the fundamental idea of warring corporations and states on the wane that still lives with me now.
Ghost in the MachineI d had this unit on the shelf for a while I d used earlier versions to jack into the matrix twice, once only recently, and enjoyed the experience It was time I did it again.
The first two times, the matrix seemed to be all order and accord I suppose all the chaos was on the outside Each time I jacked in, I escaped the chaos and found some serenity inside for a while.
This time, though, something had changed The Shape had changed Or something had changed it Maybe, even, it had changed itself In cyberspace, there are no shadows Maybe it had turned around and seen its own shadow Or its own reflection Maybe it had freaked, like it had just seen its own ghost Whatever, inside, it was like somebody had poked a stick in a hornet s nest Everybody was running every which way, real people like me who d jacked in, and data people I couldn t tell who was chasing and who was being chased There was some voodoo shit going down.
Apparently, three quarters of humanity was jacked in, watching the show And I have to say, it was some show I was tempted to stay in there, but I had this sneaking suspicion that I would never get out if I did It was strangely addictive, like watching a train crash about to happen Would you avert your eyes Would you watch or run, if it was coming towards you I decided to run I got out only half an hour ago I m safe, at least I think I am It s a bit hard to tell I haven t seen anybody else yet They re probably all still jacked in They could be trapped inside forever with all the other data Ghosts in the machine.
On the other hand, I just realised, what if I m the one who s still inside and everybody else has escaped How could I tell that this is outside, if there s nobody else here Maybe it s me who s turned into a ghost Maybe I m the ghost in the matrix, the ghost in the machine What am I going to do Wait Pretend it s life as usual read another book Write another review Wait for somebody to turn up and like it What if they liked it from the inside Would it still count What if Cracker never read one of my reviews again What if nobody ever liked one of my reviews again Worse still, what if they were still inside reading them, but didn t like them What a bummer SOUNDTRACK view spoiler The Jesus and Mary Chain Cherry Came Too Jesus and Mary Chain Darklands Trash Cracker, we re trash,Me and you,It s in everythingWe doWe re the litterOn the breeze.
Just trash Suede She s In Fashion Electricity Lindsay Medley of Steely Dan guitar soloshttps www.
com watch v 6Z WS hide spoiler Executive Summary I ve owned this book for years, and for some reason never picked it up and read it Thankfully I participated in a Secret Santa book thing of sorts, and someone out there finally got me to read it Full Review I ve always been of a Snow Crash person than a Neuromancer person I found it the easier read, and enjoyed the lighter nature faster pace of the story It took me quite a few years to circle back and read Count Zero and later Burning Chrome I enjoyed them all, but partially because I love the ideas of cyberpunk worlds and appreciate the role of these books played in the genre than for the actual story itself I know, I ll go turn in my computer geek card later I picked up this book at the same time as Count Zero, but I was just never in a rush to read it As it s been quite some time since I read those books, I m hard pressed to say this is my favorite of the series, but it s quite possible.
I always enjoyed Molly than Case Add in a Yakuza plot line on top of all the fun cyberpunk tech and I couldn t put it down Of course I read this book mostly while I was on a 5 hour plane ride, but it seemed to make the time pass rather quickly.
I thought this wrapped up several dangling plot lines of the last two books pretty nicely, and I found the pacing far enjoyable than Neuromancer.
One of these days I should really get around to reading by Mr Gibson, and I ve enjoyed everything of his I ve read and he tends to write about subjects right in my wheelhouse Maybe this will finally inspire me to do so.
So thank you Secret Santa whoever you are for getting me to finally finish this series.
The best of Gibson s three Sprawl novels Dark laughter, cold beauty, hyperlight.
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma which reading list to follow it up with Variety is the spice of life, so I ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES list.
I loves me a good series But I m terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I ve got on the goA quick look back I said in my review of Count Zero that it wasn t a direct sequel it doesn t pick up the same characters but it s set in the same world, orbiting the same scene, with some common threadsMona Lisa Overdriveproves me utterly wrong A quick summary In the Sprawl, all roads lead toMLOWe re re united with key characters from both Neuromancer and Count Zero, plus a few fresh faces, then treated to a ranging tour though Gibson s seedy world of cyberpunk espionage Neuromancer was a heist story Count Zero was a thematic portmanteu MLO is the tense, thriller climax.
If anything, this is the most accessible of the series The hard work has already been done Gibson has already gauged out his stylistic niche He s scattered his electric seeds in the darkness, and nurtured the neon flora that s emerged to grow under bickering strobe lights The ideas are still silhouetted as sharply as ever, but the characters are gentler A quick assessment of the cast With the eponymous prostitute Mona and gang lord s daughter Kumiko, we ve got two young female character, less interested in crime and technology, interested in hope, escape and survival With Slick Henry we ve got a young artist he s looking for catharsis, healing and peace They re reactive, submissive and accepting It s the old characters, Molly Sally from Neuromancer and Angie from Counter Zero, who set the agenda, drive the plot and flesh out the fiercer aspects of attitude and angst Those two are looking to force a confrontation and settle the turmoil unleashed by Neuromancer Together it all balances.
What not so good So why didn t it get 5 stars I thought it was better than Count Zero 4 stars , but not as good as Neuromancer 5 stars I was torn between a 4 and a 5 for MLO and that hesitation decided it for me I don t hesitate over 5 star ratings.
Why I hesitated is harder for me to untangle There s something about the ending that didn t quite nail it for me It needed something big and bold, something that would blow my pitiful little mind It needed something to leave me in awe What I got was good, it was clever and nuanced, but I ve been spoilt by Dan Simmons I ve experienced awe and I didn t find it here Still no awards Count Zero got swept aside in the award polls by Orson Scott Card s Speaker for the Dead which is awesome Mona Lisa Overdrive was also denied, but it was far less clear cut Gibson missed out on the Locus, second behind Cyteen Cyteen also took the Hugo, and Bujold s Falling Free nabbed the Nebula For once, I ve read all three I love Bujold but this is definitely a better book than Falling Free It s in the same ballpark as Cyteen, but in a straight head to head I d have to give this one to Gibson.
Carry on Well, this is the end of the Sprawl series, but Gibson s definitely done enough here to count me as a fan I ll probably take a bit of a break before picking up another series but I ve now got that pleasant choice the Bridge trilogy or the Blue Ant trilogy anyone got any recommendations there After this I read Cryoburn