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Mona Lisa Overdrive Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1989
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Enter Gibson's unique world—lyric and mechanical, sensual 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 Yazuka, the powerful Japanese underworld, whose leaders ruthlessly manipulate people and events to suit their own purposes . . . or so they think.
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Gibson's most obsorbing story to date. -- People
- Publisher : Spectra; Reissue edition (December 1, 1989)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553281747
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553281743
- Item Weight : 5.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #117,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Like the previous novels Gibson is minimalist, disjointed, and noir. Lots and LOTS of people like that. Ultimately, I couldn't get into it. Problems I had with MLO.
Sally Shears/Molly Millions: Really an awesome character but totally underachieving her potential here. She was a bad ass assassin in Neuromancer but here she hardly ever even twitches her cat claw razors. One of the most powerful physical characteristics and it's left on the table! Why??? She could have been slashing through a couple of henchmen on a revenge sub-plot but that never happened. No. Here she's pretty much a bad ass but reasonably well behaved babysitter for most of the book with a kidnapping near the end with a VERY disjointed and confusing conclusion. So much potential wasted!
Slick: Had trouble giving a damn about Slick. His robots like "The Judge" may be pretty cool but they serve as little more than window dressing--not a whole lot of substance contributing to the story.
Gentry: Got confused with Slick sometimes. Gentry owns the factory. Slick is an ex-con with a court ordered 5 minute memory span who works in the factory. . .and that's about it..
Kumiko: Why is she in this story! She's a bystander and sucks up a third of the book. I don't get it. What is her purpose here?
Count Zero: Comatose throughout most of the book. Strangely key but superficial involvement at the end. Why, why, why?
Angie: Interesting. Central to the plot but kept at arms length throughout most of the book until near the end. Rich celebrity from Count Zero working in a popular but banal reality internet show.
Mona: Most interesting. Teen prostitute we feel for her the most. Improves her lot in life by assuming Angie's role in the show. Mmmm. . .okay. Good for her. I'm happy.
The book contains marginally interesting players but barely developed--skin deep characterizations but strangely powerful motivations. Sure wish I knew what motivated them to do what they do (Mona being the exception. We root for her to get the hell out of her situation.) The plot is unclear where it's going and then ends up in a spectacular achievement (SPOILER ALERT! We can upload our psyche--our soul--to the internet. Pretty mind blowing!) BUT accomplishes the climax in the most shockingly nonchalant manner. It's like a book building up to alien first contact and ending it with, "And then he shook hands with the first alien. The End." What? Wait! Where's the excitement? The abilities? The MAGIC of uploading yourself to the internet? It's just there and. . .close the book.
And speaking of "first contact" there were supposed to be voodoo gods in this book! Hinted at in Count Zero they barely take the stage here. Big disappointment! If you're looking for internet voodoo gods read Queen of Angels by Greg Bear. That's some REAL internet voodoo! Bear picks up what Gibson leaves on the table.
I think Gibson has. . .SOMEthing. I'm not sure what it is. He certainly has consistency. The characters are who they are without jumping the rails to do something completely OUT of character. But then again, we don't have a whole lot of input or back story on them so they could do whatever the hell they want and who are we, the readers, to challenge? And MLO is a noir book in line with the previous two. I like noir. I LOVE the movie Blade Runner! Gibson was deeply concerned that Neuromancer would be too close to the recently released movie that people would think the book was a knock off of Blade Runner. No chance of that. Two very different noir stories. I liked Blade Runner much more but that's just me.
So I suppose Gibson's followers don't mind or even enjoy massive anticipation, even tease, with little or no payoff. His minimalist style works for millions of fans but I like my unexplored territory of science fiction with a healthy dose of description, world building, and. . .well, color. Gibson doesn't paint a picture with words. He writes a gritty black and white story. Sgt. Friday would say, "Just the facts, ma'am." And that's kinda what you get. Maybe you like that kind of book. For me, I'll move on and won't look back.
Meanwhile, a teen prostitute named Mona runs afoul of a plot to abduct a famous simstim star that looks remarkably like her, and a daughter of a powerful Yakuza crime lord is whisked away from the danger of the underworld and protected by none other than Molly Millions. Meanwhile, mysterious happenings are going on once again within the matrix….
“Mona Lisa Overdrive” is the third and final installment in William Gibson’s cyberpunk “Sprawl Trilogy.” Like in the book before it, it consists of three plot threads that eventually interconnect. The pacing of the novel is absorbing, as are the characters, who are all varied and bring different and interesting personalities to the table.
There is some action throughout, but, like the two volumes before it, it is not high-octane. What this book lacks in action, it makes up for in intrigue and espionage. The reappearance of Molly Millions from the first book, “Neuromancer” is a warm, welcome, and even exciting sight, but it soon proves disappointing as she is not so fierce and feral as she is in the first book.
Cyberspace is not the big focus in this work like it is in the two installments before it. There are some scenes and sequences in cyberspace, but it isn’t as alien, menacing, and wild and adventurous as it is in the preceding novels. Instead, this last installment focuses mainly on warfare in the underworld, drugs, and the peril and price of fame, and while some of that is enjoyable and even riveting, it just didn’t hold the pull of the first two books.
I’d go so far as to say that this is the Sprawl Trilogy’s ultimate low point, and it really is a shame, because it all could have ended with a bang. Definitely not what I expected, and not in a good way either.
I give “Mona Lisa Overdrive” by William Gibson a 3 out of 5.
That said, this book is very inventive and action packed. He cleverly brings lots of story threads together. Stands up well technology-wise even all these years later.
Must read for fans of the genre. Best if you read the prequels, Neuromancer and Count Zero, first.
Top reviews from other countries
Not comparable to Neuromancer I'm afraid, but you can only make a breakthrough like that once! This book (along with Count Zero) gives a little more of the Neuromancer universe, plus Gibson's fast moving style, which is always a pleasure.