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5.0 out of 5 stars SF NOIR...POETIC DREAMSCAPES OF A DISTOPIC FUTURE...(Part 3)
I have read this masterpiece (together with the other two of the Sprawl series: NEUROMANCER and COUNT ZERO) during my university years, about a decade ago. Since then I have re-read it countless times.

Many a times the third book of a trilogy is published only to fulfill contractual obligations: this is definitely NOT the case here. Every one of those three is...
Published on Sept. 6 2007 by NeuroSplicer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Neuromancer Underdrive
Gibson has both developed and regressed in this piece, which appears far from the noirish heights of Neuromancer, and yet somehow more mature. Mona Lisa Overdrive is a complex book, which tracks the overlapping stories of five characters, using neat chapter-size sections for each. He develops each character with startling skill, no mean feat for the man who filled...
Published on Oct. 26 1998


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5.0 out of 5 stars SF NOIR...POETIC DREAMSCAPES OF A DISTOPIC FUTURE...(Part 3), Sept. 6 2007
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read this masterpiece (together with the other two of the Sprawl series: NEUROMANCER and COUNT ZERO) during my university years, about a decade ago. Since then I have re-read it countless times.

Many a times the third book of a trilogy is published only to fulfill contractual obligations: this is definitely NOT the case here. Every one of those three is a standalone masterpiece.
Sure, the Sprawl trilogy defined cyberspace, wireheads, zaibatsu-controlled society and futuristic discontent. But this is not the reason why one enjoys these novels so much. It is the beautiful poetic language. The syncopated phrases. The direct effect of verbalized brand names. The noir feeling, rare at the time in a SF novel.

Wlliam Gibson had already reaped the fame and fortune from his first two novels. In this one you will find his images more bold, his phrases more relaxed and his writing more tight. Absolutely Beautiful!

Even reading only some pages brings up powerful imagery, unforgettable prose...

Start with NEUROMANCER. Then COUNT ZERO. And finally this one.
A Masterpiece Trilogy!!! Own them all!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars demanding but brilliant, March 20 2004
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
Mona Lisa Overdrive makes a brilliant job to finish Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, but isn't the easiest accessible scifi around. It starts with the stories of four different characters, taking turns with a few pages at a time, slowly casting more light to their stories and gradually building a larger story, or equally, an environment familiar from previous Gibson books Neuromancer and Count Zero. My feeling during the first half of the book changed from the exhausting start to being overjoyed with a few surprises, then enthralled. Do not put this book down due to the heavy start, you'll regret it. It's best read with proper concentration and no breaks. And if you haven't read Neuromancer and Count Zero, read them first - missing them would be like reading/seeing LotR - Return of the King first.
Gibson's style is rather unique and has little room for compromises, concentrating on the environment and the characters more than building any grand plot, yet the simple plot of the book has an intensity that builds from just that - the reader relates to the story all the more, and eventwise less becomes more. If you had hard time putting Neuromancer down, this will for you be Neuromancer squared. The end is not as climactic in the traditional sense but never fear, there's plenty answers plus bang and boom for your buck.
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4.0 out of 5 stars demanding but excellent, March 20 2004
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
Mona Lisa Overdrive makes a brilliant job to finish Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, but isn't the easiest accessible scifi around. It starts with the stories of four different characters, taking turns with a few pages at a time, slowly casting more light to their stories and gradually building a larger story, or equally, an environment familiar from previous Gibson books Neuromancer and Count Zero. My feeling during the first half of the book changed from the exhaustive start to being overjoyed with a few surprises, then enthralled. Do not put this book down due to the heavy start, you'll regret it. It's best read with proper concentration and no breaks. And if you haven't read Neuromancer and Count Zero, read them first - missing them would be like reading/seeing LotR - Return of the King first.
Gibson's style is rather unique and has little room for compromises, concentrating on the environment and the characters more than building any grand plot, yet the simple plot of the book has an intensity that builds from just that - the reader relates to the story all the more, and eventwise less becomes more. If you had hard time putting Neuromancer down, this will for you be Neuromancer squared. The end is not as climactic in the traditional sense but never fear, there's plenty answers plus bang and boom for your buck.
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4.0 out of 5 stars solid conclusion to the trilogy, Dec 16 2003
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
First: read NEUROMANCER, and COUNT ZERO, also by Gibson. Then: read MONA LISA OVERDRIVE. Read the three books in that order, and without reading other books intermittently. Actually, consider them one large novel. This will increase your comprehension and enjoyment of these books, which have come to be called The Sprawl Trilogy.
MLO mainly follows the same pattern as COUNT ZERO. Several different characters are notable: Bobby Newmark, aka Count Zero, who is jacked into cyberspace. Kumiko, daughter of a Yakuza, supposedly protected in London. Sally Shears, aka Molly, who may attempt to kill or kidnap Angie Mitchell, a star of Internet simulation programs, and various other bit players. Of course there is Mona, an illegitimate human, since she exists without an ID number in the digital age. Mona is almost a street person, a nonentity, but she looks much like Angie Mitchell. Sinister persons have plans for Mona and Angie: they plot (apparently) to kidnap one and kill the other. Cyberspace cowboys, Yakuza, Londoner thugs, and weird freakish types populate the plot, with The Finn from COUNT ZERO playing a minor role in this novel as well. Gibson, as always, manages to make the various plots converge at the end.
Gibson's world is futuristic, both fantastic and somewhat scientifically plausible, dystopic and frightening. London is trapped in a time warp. Japan is shiny and ultra-modern. Cleveland is a dump. The Sprawl is forbidding, amazing, huge, and imposing. Cyberspace is where everyone wants to be. In MONA LISA OVERDRIVE, he mainly succeeds at delivering his vision and an entertaining plot. Kudos to Gibson for creating this amazing fictional universe; this is his forte. I found the novel's ending somewhat confusing and unsatisfying. Don't let me dissuade you! MONA LISA OVERDRIVE is a fine novel and a successful conclusion to The Sprawl Trilogy; however, if you're new to Gibson, start with BURNING CHROME (short stories) or NEUROMANCER.
ken32
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gibson did it again, Nov. 30 2001
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
William Gibson has again proved himself an extraordinary writer with Mona Lisa Overdrive. The story takes place in a futuristic world where big corporations run everything and the entertainment business is the world's largest source of income. It is here that we meet Gibson's remarkable cast of characters including Angie, a famous "stim star" that has the ability to jack-in to cyberspace without any equipment, Slick Henry, an ex-con who seems to have an uncontrollable urge to create killing machines, Sally Shears, one of the few returning characters from Neuromancer, and Mona Lisa, a prostitute who bears an amazing resemblance to Angie.
The bulk of the book is the separate stories of these individuals, bringing them together in the end in a brilliant fashion. Through this format, Gibson is able to tell a nearly omniscient view of the story by giving not only the point of view of one character, but of all of the characters. This gives an overall effect that sucks you into the book, and doesn't let go. Gibson is also easily able to use this format to show what the characters themselves aren't able to figure out. He gives you bits of information from each of the characters, and you are able to put this together while the characters are clueless. Gibson does all of this and keeps the action rolling without any confusion that allows for a very quick read.
Mona Lisa Overdrive is the third installation in Gibson's series, preceded by Neuromancer and Count Zero. Although it is not necessary to read the first two before Mona Lisa Overdrive, I would recommend it. You will understand much more, and will be able to enjoy all of the little references to the previous two. Gibson truly is a great writer, and Mona Lisa Overdrive is his masterpiece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why I read it more than once, May 9 2001
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
In such a rapidly evolving world as our own, the future is only just around the corner, and yet for the majority of us, beyond our imagination.
Gibson has a gift; he writes of a time, not far away, in which our current technological progress has succeded and is hungry for more. The world of which you read is protratyed so convincingly that, for the reader, this vision soon becomes the backdrop for the stories Gibson has to tell. A time in which the interaction between man and machine is as easy as breathing. Gibson writes of the future as if it were history.
This novel is the end of a trilogy and yet comfortably stands alone as an individual piece. With this book Gibson gives greater insight into his previous works and tells a sharp, page turning tale of corporate manipulation, zaibatsu war, and plain survival in a world that is hard to escape from. Not unlike Gibson's AI's, this story loops, intertwines and mutates what has gone before.
For a newcomer to Gibson, this book will be an eye-opener - for those who know this writer's work, it's a must.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Neuromancer Underdrive, Oct. 26 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
Gibson has both developed and regressed in this piece, which appears far from the noirish heights of Neuromancer, and yet somehow more mature. Mona Lisa Overdrive is a complex book, which tracks the overlapping stories of five characters, using neat chapter-size sections for each. He develops each character with startling skill, no mean feat for the man who filled Neuromancer's 300 pages with a host of electrifying descriptions, while failing to expand his main character's background beyond several brief paragraphs. The storyline, as per usual, is inane. The book is a cyberspace-Mafia thriller with Gibson's typical conspiratorial edge, and an ending that was meant to be profound - particularly to followers of the trilogy - but misses the spot. But it isn't the storyline which drives a Gibson novel, as any hardened fan will know. Gibson's true talent is growing his nebulous future world into new dimensions - this time into Japanese organized crime and the American 'urban refugee' scenario - and applying to it his extraordinary style; prose that has its roots in 30s detective fiction, yet, in my opinion, far exceeds the questionable efforts of Raymond Chandler and company. And this is where Gibson has failed this time around, inasmuch as he is capable of failing in the stylistic arena. Though in many ways it is a remarkable evolution from his uni-character, monologous works of the past, Overdrive is texturally thin. Unfortunately, Gibson shines mainly in his style, and so while he has stepped forward with this book, he has left many of his readers behind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gibson does it again., Oct. 13 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
This was the first Gibson book I ever read. After browsing through a local Sci-Fi bookstore, and having heard good things about Gibson from a friend, I spotted this in the used book section, and picked it up. Immediately thereafter, I was enthralled.
Gibson has taken the probable, the possible, and the fantastic, and woven them into a single, believable entity. Mona Lisa Overdrive is a worthy successor to Neuromancer, in every aspect. Such favorites as Sally (AKA Molly), and the Finn tie this into Neuromancer quite well, as do the references to Case and the union of the Rio and Berne AIs.
Gibson's style is such that it takes several readings to truly understand a book; even then, you're left wondering "what did he mean by that?" Mona Lisa Overdrive is no exception. Never having read Neuromancer previous to Overdrive, I was mystified by the events described in the book; once I read Neuromancer, many things were revealed.
The technology, the political intrigue, and the societies of Gibson's future are projections of current trends, plus the mystical dimension of "cyberspace;" the medium through which the majority of the world communicates. There is nothing new under the sun, and Gibson proves this with Mona Lisa.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Gibson attitude-laden action, June 5 1998
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
I would have appreciated being told that without reading Neuromancer and/or count zero , I would have struggled my way through this book only to be left feeling a little lost and confused at it's conclusion . So I read the other two books and even though some aspects were confusing , that's a minor fault of an otherwise 'cool' book . I enjoyed being caught up in the angst and frustration of Slick Henry in his Factory amongst the desolate Dog Solitude . I kept flicking forward to catch the next mention of Sally or Molly . Among the supposed tuffgirls in the genre , I think that she wins it by a mile . How can you go wrong with someone athletic , intelligent , directed and with a kick ass attitude . Mona Lisa became a tad irritating and tiresome after a while . Does everything in her life need comparison to her mentor's advice ? Does she have to be in awe of everything that's new ( imagine how amazed her expression must have been when she was born -wow , air! ) ? Maybe I liked Molly too much . Colin's a nifty concept which reminded me of the days when I played marathon five-setters with my imaginary tennis opponent hidden in the brick wall . I won't forget including the count , Gentry , Cherry , Petal , Swain , Eddy , Prior and the rest of the future-minded cast . For some reason , I was able to picture this world without Gibson having explaining it to the grain patterns of each oak cabinet ( ala Tollkien ) . If you're expecting personal conflict and in -depth character development , forget about reading this book . It's all about action and the mechanics and politics of the matrix, the sprawl and whatever new-fangled device Gibson dreamed up .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wanting More Of Gibson, "OVERDRIVE" was Underdriven, March 5 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Mass Market Paperback)
Don't get me wrong, this is a great book. The book ends a great triligy on this future tale of the Sprawl, Chiba, and the Console Cowboys for hire. However, What made this a great tale was the densley packed Story. Like Blade Runner, the DUNE series, and the Original series of Max Headroom on TV, the novel's visionary feel is gritty and hard edged. OVERDRIVE becomes less detailed like the HEADROOM series after the first seaon on TV.Apparently, too many people found it too complex to follow. Personally, I feel Gibson was softening the edges to be more mass appealing, make the book easier to swallow. The problem is the book wasn't as rich as the first two novels, NEUROMANCER & COUNT ZERO. The show Max Headroom became quite boring. Dumbing down the book a notch shouldn't be the price, those who pay attention closely, should have to pay. I want to get involved with the books I read. Still, the novel gives the reader another peak into this web of Hightech adventure and futuristic age. Perhaps, Gibson was just cooling our processers before dumping the program, with this softer Neuromancer vision.
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Mona Lisa Overdrive
Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson (Mass Market Paperback - Feb. 6 1997)
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