Count Zero (1986) / Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)

William Gibson

13 May 2020

After Neuromancer I wanted to finish the other two books in the ‘Sprawl Trilogy’. Here’s what I thought.

Count Zero (★ ★ ★ ★ ☆)

I weirdly read this second book last. I attempted to start it straight after Neuromancer, but I couldn’t get into it.

Reading it after M.L.O was actually really nice. I found that I enjoyed the backstories of the characters that appear in M.L.O more so, I think, than if I’d read this book in the right sequence.

Unlike Neuromancer this book flicks between multiple character stories which converge at the end. It takes place about 6-8 years after Neuromancer where the AI from that book has since evolved and split into multiple AI’s which exist in the matrix.

I think it was the best book in the triology. I loved the reduced focus on tech in this book and more on characters.

Mona Lisa Overdrive (★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆)

The name of this book was used as the title track for the Matrix Reloaded movie if it looks familiar. The linkages between this triology and that film are numerous.

This book rounds out the trilogy. Like Count Zero it rotates through a set of character stories that converge somewhat toward the end of the book. It takes place some years after Count Zero.

I enjoyed the series and, ultimately, got into the concept and the world. I think it just took time to get a handle on the technology and the writing style, not that it was difficult to read, but rather it just assumed you’d follow and remember what certain things were later and by context.

“He had this idea that it was gone, sort of; not gone, but gone into everything, the whole matrix. Like it wasn’t in cyberspace anymore, it just was.”