©1997 William Gibson; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I'm diametrically opposed to the last reviewer's comments regarding Davis' narration.
Gibson's books contain a polyglot of races and accents. Davis is the perfect choice for these works as his ear for accents is nothing short of amazing. He's one of the few narrators who can manage southern, hispanic, and african-american accents and not force me to cringe.
The narrator delivers an outstanding performance. His voice, rythm and style are the best I've heard on Audible so far. He gives the characters distinct voices without sounding cheesy. Each character speaks with a unique dialect too (American, British, Japanese) and the Japanese words are pronounced perfectly.
Normally I am not into writing reviews, however this performance of one of my favorite books demands it.
I like realistic books that stretch the truth and the laws of physics...and also emotionally resonant narration that doesn't suck.
Didn't think I could like anything as much as I liked Neuromancer, but this I like equally as much. The way this author balances entertainment with literary value, with poetry, it's just too amazing. I can't fathom it. And what an awesome ending!
This ranks in top 20 of 100+ books I've listened to. I am a big fan of Jonathan Davis, though, so this made a big difference.
The characters all had unique personalities, and the action kept things moving along fairly well, even though Gibson's stories are fairly cerebral.
Compared favorably to All Tomorrow's parties and The Windup Girl, both of which I listened to multiple times.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
“The world hadn’t ever had so many moving parts or so few labels.”
― William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive
There 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.
Neuromancer, count zero, mona lisa overdrive
Great depth in the story,very aartistic and powerful writing, great narration by Davis for the last two (I didn't listen to Neuromancer but read it instead and it's different narrator)
Gibson is clearly a top rate author. What a great mix of plot, characters, and action. Narration continued to be top rate. Not for everyone but if you think it may be worth it based on the audible description, then you will love it. 6 stars easy!
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
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. (Originally posted at Fantasy Literature)
It's easy to forget this book was published before 1990. Gibson's prescience - not with the workings of the present-day internet - but how people relate to "cyberspace" - in business, as consumers, as criminals, as spies, - is astonishing. Isn't that the hallmark of all good fiction? An interesting story that transcends time and space: well told. The narrator of this audiobook did a fantastic job bringing authentic voices to a varied and diverse cast of characters.
"It's a Trilogy! I'll do it justice next time!"
I read Neuromancer many years ago, found it hard work but intriguing nonetheless. So when I saw another one of Gibson's books appear in one of Audible's special offers I though why not? Unusually for me I just assumed this was stand-alone and I think this took something away from it. If you're considering reading this without the other two I would say stop and get the others first.
Gibson has an interesting writing style. He hints at things often leaving the reader to fill in the background for themselves. Combined with this and the fact that me memory had little of Neuromancer left and nothing of the second book at all made this hard going. I gave it four stars because that mistake was mine but I probably only got 3 stars enjoyment out of it . . . if that makes sense!
Gibson is a clever writer though. I like the fact that he doesn't feel the need to handhold me through everything. The world of the Sprawl is not a pleasant one. The characters all have a detachment from their world borne of its nature. This most certainly isn't easy reading or for anyone who likes to warm to noble heroes. I'd also agree with some of the other reviewers that the pace and tonality of the narration, while it did fit the book very well, was on the slow and monotone side for me.
Despite all this, I will in a few years re-visit this, starting from the beginning of the trilogy of course. It's clever stuff, well thought out, and I want to do it justice next time!
if you liked neuro and count this won't fail to interest, good end to an innovative trikogy
"not as good as his others but still a must read"
not as good as his others but still a must read
not as good as his others but still a must read
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