Molly Millions (also known as Sally Shears) is a recurring character in stories and novels written by William Gibson, particularly his Sprawl trilogy. She first appeared in Johnny Mnemonic, to which she makes an oblique reference in Neuromancer (where she is mostly referred to as "Molly" with no last name given). Her most recent literary appearance was under the name "Sally Shears" in the book Mona Lisa Overdrive.
- 1 Description
- 2 Bio
- 3 Johnny Mnemonic
- 4 Neuromancer
- 5 Mona Lisa Overdrive
- 6 Character history
- 7 Inspiration
- 8 Relationships
- 9 Portrayal in other media
- 10 References in pop culture
- 11 Notes
- 12 External links
A thin girl, dark hair cut in a rough shag. Polished burgundy nails against white, slender, tapered fingers. She wore black leather, open over a T-shirt slashed diagonally with stripes of red and black; leather jeans the colour of dried blood. Occasionally she wore a huge pair of black plastic sunglasses that completely covered her insets.
Molly is described as a lean, athletic, attractive, tall woman with pale skin. Her body is spare, neat, and muscular like a dancer's. Her hair is dark, cut in a "rough shag"; in "Mona Lisa Overdrive," her hair is short enough for her to be mistaken for a man. The fingernails that house her retractable blades are implied to be fake, and are usually burgundy in color; on one occasion they were "mother of pearl" (in "Mona Lisa Overdrive").
Her clothing tends to consist of some combination of leather, jeans, jackets, and boots. She sometimes wears leather jeans "the color of dried blood." In 'Neuromancer" she wears tight black glove leather jeans, a bulky black jacket of a light-absorbing matte fabric; beneath it, a bulletproof sleeveless gray pullover with plain steel zips across each shoulder. A black nylon shoulder rig hangs beneath her arm sports a fletcher gun. And red, steel-toed cowboy boots with lacquered heels. In "Mona Lisa Overdrive" her clothing is considered noticeably expensive, featuring a jacket with a sheepskin collar.
Sometimes she wears glasses in order to hide her inlaid lenses.
Molly is armed with a fletcher gun, which shoots darts of various properties, eg. explosive or cancer-inducing. The barrel can be dialed to auto or single-shot. When resting she is seen disassembling and cleaning it.
She has skills in lockpicking ancient mechanical locks; she carries a little roll of black chamois with picks.
She had body modifications in Chiba City; when seen sleeveless, her thin arms display faint traces of Chiba circuitry:
- two silver mirrored lenses of low-temp isotropic carbon inlaid surgically, rising smoothly from her high cheekbones, sealing her eyes in their sockets; at first glance they resemble mirror glasses. The lenses are probably vision-enhancing; but don't seem to cut down the sunlight (Case wondered if the built-in amps compensated automatically). She never lets others touch the lenses as it would leave messy fingerprints.
- Microchannel image-amps
- They allow her to see in the dark by converting photons into a pulse of electrons. The switch is one of her lower front teeth.
- Her nails are artificial. Beneath them there are 10 narrow, pale blue steel scalpels 4 cm in length. They are double-edged razor-sharp blades that stick straight out from her fingers.
- A clock readout with blue characters is chipped into her optic nerve, low in her left peripheral field. The Finn detected that the clock was a silicon coat of pyrolitic carbons in her head, and saw it fist time so probably she had it installed shortly before Neuromancer. Case thought it was just a showoff.
To accommodate the inset lenses her tear ducts have been re-routed to her mouth; consequentially, on the very rare occasions Molly cries, she spits out or swallows the tears instead.
Her sensory input, metabolism and neuromotor reflexes are also artificially heightened by means of electronic implants and exotic forms of advanced surgeries and other medical procedures. Even while wearing a plastercast her movements are calculated, like a dance.
When Molly was "a little kid", she joined some other youths who illegally occupied a squat down the polluted Hudson, of which she remembered the huge mutant rats, fed by the chemicals. One night a rat was scrabbling under the floor of their squat until, and at dawn they brought an old man to kill it. Molly noticed how he armed a revolver and while the kids were hanging on the walls, the man was silently stepping on the floor, feeling the movements of the rat below. An hour passed when suddenly he shot blindly on the floor, killing the rat, and left. Later Molly went down and saw that he had managed a blind shot right between the rat's eyes.
Growing up she decided to become a razorgirl. In order to get her augmentations she started working as a meat puppet in the Sprawl and was planted a cut-out chip. After her first trips to Chiba, it turned out to that her circuitry was incompatible with the chip; she started to experience her worktime as dreams. After she had installed the blades, and made some trips to augment her reflexes (3 were still on schedule) the puppet house found out. Her pimp ordered some custom software from Berlin (presumably some violent scenarios for sadistic clients) and switched her to it without telling her. However she started to realise as her dreams got ever worse, but she remained silent, still needing the money. Her boss had a whole clientele going to rent her violent services, and gave her a raise (but she knew that she was getting just the 1/8 of the charge).
After one more trip from Chiba, it seems that the cut-out chip was so disturbed that she awoke while she was with a senator, and a dead woman all in blood (presumably a torture session). The fat-faced senator complained what was wrong because they hadn't finished yet. She gave the Senator what he really wanted (presumably she killed him) and the house put a bounty on her head and had to hide for a while.
Molly seems to be much travelled with many connections and friends. She knows a bar on a Damrak thoroughfare in Amsterdam, several bars and places in the Sprawl, is an old friend of the Finn and Bobby Quine, is well known by Dog and the Lo-Teks (to whom she claimed she did a lot of favors), as well as Larry and the Panther Moderns. She also seems to feel familiar with the Rastafarians of Zion.
She is experienced in orbital travel; she spent a month serving as a gambler's bodyguard in Freeside.
When Molly was young, 2 months after she had left the puppet house, she was looking for a job in the Sprawl.
She was in the Drome when she approached the table of Ralfi Face. She noticed that they aren't lively and offered them good "free base" (cocaine) 8k for 1g. She sat before they could stop her, annoying Ralfi, and his bodyguard Lewis attempted to slap her out of the chair. With a movement of her hand, she cut his wrist tendons and he left bleeding. She took a control unit from him and noticed that Johnny stands frozen and silent; Ralfi offered her 250k to give it to him and leave. Molly instead was in look for a job, especially now that his bodyguard was incapacitated. She and switched the control, releasing Johnny, who immediately offered her 2 million to hire her to which Ralfi for some reason didn't respond. She commented that his shotgun in the gym bag is "crude".
They moved out taking Ralfi with them. She talked with the Magnetic Dog Sisters while Johnny ushered Ralfi through the door. They witnesed how an assassin cut Ralfi to pieces, and Johnny attemted to shoot him, and missed. They crouched in the narrow gap between a surgical boutique and an antique shop. Around the corner and saw a single police Volks module in front of the Drome, red lights flashing. She explained that Johnny missed the assassin because he had enhanced reflexes. She was excited to face another professional.
Molly suggested to hide in the Pit of Nighttown. As he explained the situation and technology implanted to his head, Molly thought bringing him to Jones a cyborg dolphin equipped with a Squid, living in the abandoned Funland. Through symbols, he made Johnny understand Ralfi's password, and Molly rewarded him. Johnny wrote it in a slip of paper, which Molly kept in a zippered wrist pocket.
Together they came to the office of a broadcast pirate in order to blackmail Yakuza. Initially he was reluctant to upload data to a Yakuza Comsat, angling for more money but Molly persuaded him by severing a lapel from his jacket with her razors. Then she puzzlingly read the phrase that Johnny wrote for her: "Christian White and his Aryan Reggae Band" enabling him to recite and record the program. They black box transmitted the program to the Yakuza Comsat to make them stop pursuing them, while a copy of the program was sent with 4-class surface mail to a storage space in Sydney.
Molly brought Johnny to the Lo Teks, thinking that she could confront the assassin, bringing him at a disadvantage on the Killing Floor. When the assassin stepped on the Floor towards Johnny, he fell into her trap: she appeared, without her jacket and boots. She hit the Floor and moved, making it scream. She flexed her knees making the Floor to heave, and the assassin advanced; he flung at her his lethal monomolecular wire, and Molly threw herself flat and rolled, jackknifing under the filament, with her claws snapping in an automatic rictus of defense. The drum pulse quickened, and she bounced with it. Then started her mad-dog dance, jumped, twisted, lunged sideways, dancing on the metal sea that rose and fell. Molly's trick to disorient the assassin with this "cultural shock" worked, as he found himself frustrated and revulted. He then attacked her once more; but at that moment the Floor carried Molly down, the molecule passing just above her head; the Floor whip lashed, lifting the assassin into the path of the wire, amputating him. Realising his defeat, he plunged himself down through a gap. Molly rode the remaining movements of the Floor silently, her face white and blank.
After that, Johnny let Molly take care of his new appearance "with a local anesthetic". Johnny partnered with Jones and Molly, who handled their business in the Drome and was bagman, muscle and watchdog.
She was happy with him, they had enough money in Swiss orbital accounts, and moved to a converted factory space along with young comers from Sense/Net, and she added some tech stuff to improve its security. They were thinking that perhaps they had already enough and could quit and go to Europe, although they had no plans what to do there.
But the Yak didn't forget them. One time she was returning to their place where Johnny waited for her, and saw someone leaving (perhaps Hideo), a plain humble person. Without a word, they stared at each other. He was cold and silent like a monk, and Molly felt death, reminding her of the old rat-killer of her youth. Upstairs she found Johnny sitting, killed.
After that, she never met anoyone that could care a bit.
She is hired by a rich mysterious employer, Armitage, who was a veteran of the Screaming Fist. She noticed that Armitage became rich suddenly and kept becoming richer, but couldn't discover who backed him or his plans, and nobody in the Screaming Fist had the name or face of Armitage.
Together they had spontaneous travels to Los Angeles, Macau and Chiba City. There she was assigned to stalk on Case and recruit him for their operation. In the meantime Case had heard that Wage wants him dead. He was leaving Julius Deane when he felt that someone was after him. While looking at a display window of a surgical boutique, he noticed her reflection: Dark hair and clothing, mirrored glasses, slender; thinking that she is an assassin, he immediately ran away.
Later he again felt his stalked behind him, so he ran to the arcade and Matsuga's former office, staging an ambush. Molly injured the Japanese security man with nunchucks. Case was overwhelmed with fear and jumped through the window. He saw only her head looking out, saying "shit", noticing that it is a woman from the northern Sprawl.
Molly then went to the Cheap Hotel to wait for him. while there, Linda Lee came to take his Hitachi computer, and left nervously. When Case finally came, he found her sitting at the far end of the capsule, knees up, aiming him with a flechette pistol. She told him to close the hatch, and apparently she knew that he had rent a gun from a waiter, which he had already returned. She asked why he pulled that scene at the arcade.
She took Case to Chiba Hilton to meet Armitage. She sat cross legged on a silk futon fieldstripping the fletcher even without looking at it. Armitage persuaded Case, offering to fix his health problems and damage. She accompanied him to an unnamed clinic telling him how Armitage arranged for his cure, pointing out that he doesn't know for whom really they are working for. Case woke up a few days later, on Wednesday, in his capsule with Molly beside him, she offered to massage him and then they made love.
They went to Deane as he claimed that he wanted to finish some business before leaving and insisted that he must see him alone. She correctly guessed that he actually wanted information on Armitage, and reluctantly allowed him to talk to him for a minute. Later they went to Namban to pay his debt to Wage; Molly longed for one of the Joeboys to make a move and start a fight. At Chat she asked Ratz about fights and he directed them to Sammi's.
During the fight, they witnessed the murder of Linda Lee. One of them told her that it would be cheaper to kill her than buying the RAM from her. She kiled the other assassin. In her dying moments Molly didn't allow Case to approach her. He told them that the assassins were friends of Deane, since the had a bag of ginger candies.
After a postoperative check they left Chiba with Deane on a hovercraft. They traveled to Europe on their way to the Sprawl. They stayed in the Old City section of the Amsterdam-Centrum and one time she went to the canal's edge to buy orange juice and eggs. One time when Armitage was off to business, she led Case to a bar she knew on a Damrak thoroughfare. Later he took him shopping in Paris.
Back to the Sprawl
Once they reached the Sprawl, they stayed in a loft. She had a bag with neatly folded clothing and small gadgets (a tiny German stove, infrascan perimeter, screamers) and since Case always looked at shurikens, she bought him one. There Armitage provided them equipment for their job, and she noticed how Case stared at the Cyberspace VII.
Outside they took a tube to Manhattan for breakfast and led him through bars and clubs, maintaining her conections with a nod, and taking care of business. Then she took him to Metro Holografix so that the Finn could examine them for implants. She talked with him about the season's fashions, about sports, about a political scandal in California... She briefed Case about the job Armitage wants from them, to steal Dixie Flatline's construct from the Sense/Net library and to contact Peter Riviera; but also discussed about his mysterious background. Molly proposed the Finn to Armitage for their tech, and he fit her for a SimStim broadcast rig for their job.
Case first felt her sensorium when he went to Memory Lane in order to speak with Larry and hire the Panther Moderns for their plans. Larry surprised her when, thanks to his ultra-sensitive microsoft, sensed that she isn't "alone" and demanded case to disconnect. In the following days she was on reconnaissance trips with her rented cadre of Moderns, in order to infiltrate the Sense/Net Pyramid. Unknown to anyone else, she paid Larry to have the Moderns, with their weird lines of communication, to investigate on Armitage and who is running him.
On the appointed night, when Case mapped the ICE of she was equipped with the simstim broadcast unit, a radio and scrambler stuck under a micro pore tape across her ribcage; the scrambler blurred her visuals for Case. Also she had a Moderns's chameleon suit stuck around her ankle and a throat mike camuflaged as an analgesic dermadisk. Disguised as a tourist with a huge pair of sunglasses to cover her insets, a pink plastic raincoat over a white mesh top and loose pants of a last year's Tokyo style and chewing a gum she entered the lobby of the Sense/Net Pyramid. Hands in pocket flexing to release tense. She strolled past the lobby and around midnight she entered an elevator. A guard inquired if she is an employee, and popping her gum she punched him and slammed his head against the elevator wall before he got the beeper on his belt. She put a derma on him to keep him under. She closed the door and stopped the elevator; she connected a black box from her pocket to the keyhole of the panel's security and went to the basement. Then she undressed and removed the chameleon suit from her ankle to wear it.
She fights 3 guards, cutting out the eyes of one of them, but her left leg was broken, and Case screamed in agony when he flipped to her and he said to Brood to ask what happened. She used 3 dermas on her left wrist, over the veins, and asked for a medical team outside. She asked from Case to hold for 2 more minutes and limped towards a pair of gray steel doors. She followed Case's directions to the left, and ignored a librarian cowered between 2 lockers, crying and petrified. Case opened for her the door and gave her the serial number "0467839" of the black storage unit from the rack. She found her way to the elevator, removed the black box and returned to the lobby. As she removed the derm from the guard's neck, she ignored a woman who hurtled backward from the hysterical crowd and struck the rear wall of the elevator. She kicked away her diguise and covered her head with the chameleon suit and passed through the chaos; NYPD Tacticals and BAMA Rapids containing the horde of hysterical employees. She met two Moderns in the lobby and Tommy walked her out. Then she fainted. They took her to Gerald Chin's clinic in Baltimore and gave her a paper with grid coordinates and entry codes of an Armitage data base.
Molly was cared by a medical team in Baltimore. She occupied the capsule assigned to dentist Gerald Chin. Case went to take her and ask about Wintermute but she silenced him with their private jive. After a lunch with crab (which she dissected with disturbing ease) they tubed back to New York, mostly silent. Back at Finn's, with silent signs and writing on paper they were led to the concusion that Wintermute, an A.I. of Teshier-Aspoole is behind their boss.
After a discussion concerning Wintermute and Teshier-Ashpole, she handed him a paper with grid coordinates and entry codes of an Armitage data base for Case to crack; Case identified the coordinates as London. She recovered in the loft, with a transparent rigid micropore cast ran from her knee to her crotch, 8 derms of different kinds on her left wrist, an Akai transdermal inducer unit beside her. Case found out about Armitage but after reading 2 hours his findings in the night, was too tired to talk about it when she asked.
Leaving behind the cast and the transdermal inducer, and a bit pale, they followed Armitage to Istanbul and met the Finn at Istanbul Hilton. With a gesture she understood they were here for Riviera. Next morning Armitage woke them up and met Terzibashjian whom Molly soon despised, specifically because of his turkish sexist views, threating him with her fletcher. That evening they went to the Spice Bazaar where she hid in the shadows near Ali's shop and waited for Riviera to exit. She framed him with a light beam; although he tried to escape with an illusion she shot him with a toxin-flechette, in the process amputating Terzi's finger. Later she cursed Terzi and scolded him for interfering.
Later she instructed their Mercedes to go to Topkapi where they discussed about Terzi and Riviera's psychological profile. case told her that he did the London job and revealed Armitage's connection to Col. Willis Corto of Screaming Fist. She supposed that Wintermute took over his mind while in the French clinic. Then they went to Beyoglu for breakfast, she went to Fener to collect Riviera's things from his house, and stocked up his drugs from Ali.
They took a THY liner from Yesilkoy to Paris, she was sitting First Class in the window seat with Case next to her. Riviera made a trick to Case, and she slapped him, threatening that he can hurt him really bad without damaging him. In the JAL shuttle to Freeside Molly asked Case if he ever left Earth before, hoping he won't get SAS. She explained its effects to him very different from airsickness.
She and Aerol helped Case to climb clumsily into a corridor. As he was lying flat relieved in the partial artificial gravity, she produced a fat bundle of elastic cable and asked him to string this up, and hung them with battered yellow plastic sheets. It was intended to practice together working in zero gravity. Case and Riviera were about to fight when Molly stepped between them.
Armitage called Riviera for lunch, and Case returned saying that he was sleeping with holograms floating above his head. Molly who was looking at the parts of her fletcher said that he's stoned, and to leave him.
Later Armitage briefed them on Freeside. She explained to Case what is a "velodrome", and laughed when Riviera made appear pustules on Armitage's face.
One night Molly sensed someone coming and crouched on the foam. With stuning speed she passed through and slashed the sheet of yellow plastic. It was a Zionite, Maelcum, who said that the Elders of Zion wanted to talk to "Cateye" and the "cowboy", and to make it dark to not wake their boss. Molly told him that he can cut him very fast, and Maelcum just said to not stand talking. They went to the spherical chamber where the 2 surviving Elders floated, and one called her "Steppin' Razor", according to a religious story, and will bring a scourge on the darkest heart of Babylon. She noticed that one of them didn't talk patois, and he explained he was from Los Angeles. They said that a voice called Winter Mute instructed to help them go to Freeside.
They offered Maelcum's tug, Marcus Garvey for that.
She sat in a g-web beside Maelcum's pilot module, asked how long it will take until Freeside and he said that they will reach it soon. Molly asked if Zionites ever think in hours and he just said that that he goes there whenever he can. Then she asked if Case ever contacted Wintermute all that time he spent plugged, and he told her how some payphones in Hilton rang next to him and a voice said it was Wintermute. Molly scolded him for hanging it up because he was scared. She ordered him to try now and ask Flatline for help. Then he jacked out to tell Molly that buzzing an AI was how Dixie got flatlined and earned his nickname; Molly insisted that they two can make it. During that operation Case flatlined for some seconds. Molly tried to calm Maelcum saying that these guys do such things. Maelcum insisted that his EEG was reading dead and Molly said that Case is ok now.
Molly did most of the talking through customs, and they stepped into Rue Jules Verne, giving him advice to overcome the strange perspective, as she was used after her previous job there. Seeing he was not well she asked him what happened when he flatlined, taking his hand to find a cab and lie down in their room in the Intercontinental. Case commented it was "unreal", and as they passed by a window displaying furs grown from mink DNA on a collagen base, Molly thought he meant the furs and commented that it doesn't matter.
They leaned at the hotel balcony looking at some French tourists sliding over the stream, and mentioned something about her plans to visit there, or Europe, but refused to say about Johnny, giving her shoulders an involuntary toss; she reminded to Case that they needed sleep.
The next morning, she wore loose black silks and black espadrilles and a big straw hat to have the exotic look of a tourist. She insisted that Case's Sprawl pallor would attract attention and she should coat him with a bronzer, to have the look of "a cheap-ass hood who's up for what he can get" and while it doesn't look real, Case would care enough to fake it. The tube finished before doing his left foot.
The next morning they had breakfast on the hotel's roof garden, and Case told her about meeting Wintermute in cyberspace; over cheese croissant asked if it was real like simstim. She pointed out to Case that the weird smell is the freshly cut grass. As they were finishing their coffee Armitage and Riviera arrived, the latter asking for his "medicine", but she thought he coulod off himself, and smiling said that she wouldn't, unless Armitage ordered her to give the packet to him. Armitage assigned her to hike up the far end to the axis, with themountains, bicycle loop and hand gliders, and work out in zero-g. He said that perhaps the next day she would hike in the opposite direction of Straylight.
She returned to the hotel and she was sleeping when Case returned from his job; although he was never sure with her glasses. She woke up when Case was back, noticing that he was high on a drug he couldn't even pronounce. Molly scolded him, fearing that he will be in bad shape if that got past his system and wears off, as they had scheduled a big dinner date to watch Riviera's show. Case dismissed her complaints and took off his clothes, and said that she should take advantage of his unnatural erection, and clibed into their temperfoam.
They went to the Vingtième Siècle where Armitage was waiting for them and had ordered steaks with real meat. She ate silently while Case suffered from the aftereffects of Betaphenethylamine, and sawed his steak without eating eat. Molly emptied her plate and chastised him for wasting a steak from a real animal raised for years, forked a mouthful up and chewed. She cheerfully noted that he looked fucking awful. Later the lights dimmed preparing for Riviera's dreaming real show, and she picked her teeth with one of her burgundy nails. The show was called "The Doll", with Riviera making appear and being intimate with hologram that looked like Molly. It hit a nerve about her past, and after Case left in disgust, Molly followed to avoid killing Riviera. She went to the hotel and took her things. When Case returned to their table Armitage said that she left to prepare herself.
She went to a Freeside nightclub in a cubicle where she was meditating, being briefed from Wintermute; believing that Wintermute wants her to hate Riviera. When the doors opened she kicked the figure who entered, who was Case looking for her. She explained how Wintermute is possibly manipulating her to hate Riviera, and said about her past in the puppet house; she said that the run will be next day, as Riviera is a guest of Lady 3Jane in Straylight. Case told her how Wintermute appeared as Lonny Zone, possibly manipulating his hatred; Molly said that perhaps Case hates himself.
The next morning the Turing Police attempted to arrest Case, and interrogated him about the whereabouts of "Kolodny", but Wintermute killed them off.
Soon Molly began the run: she found her way to a wide tube of fluted lunar concrete, lit by white neon rings every 2 meters. Case connected to her SimStim and saw her freefalling and rising through the tube. She found her way to a service tunnel of some kind, when Wintermute informed her, with her ocular digital display, that Case was linked to her. She exited through a hinged grill, unzipped the suit and took her pistol. Surveying the corridor, she started narrating to herself (for Case to listen) about how she had met Johnny, his death by a cloned assassin, who reminded her of the mysterious rat-killer of her youth, and how Case reminds her of Johnny. She passed through a gallery paying little attention to the cabinets museum cases and their antique contents, and descended a left stairwell. She watched the sealed doorways that opened at intervals along the corridor and Wintermute instructed her to enter the 3rd door left. Passing by an enormous crystal candelabrum, she knelt to the old door; from a roll of black chamois she took a needle-thing pick and worked on its primitive mechanical lock (which Wintermute could not open) relying on touch.
She picked it and dialed the barrel of her fletcher to full auto; inside was a closet room with ranged steel cabinets. Wintermute instructed her to open the 5th drawer of the 3rd cabinet, but she ignored it and opened all of them, until in the 5th one she found what it wanted, a round key, like a coin, with the word CHUBB.
Mona Lisa Overdrive
After the events in Straylight Molly leaves Case and during a conversation with The Finn's construct 14 years later indicates she lost the fortune she made in 'a bad year in Hamburg.' She then moved to London and became more of a fixer/facilitator than a physically involved field operator. Molly becomes the part operator of a German casino in Aix-la-Chapelle but seems bored and participates in illegal prize fighting under the name "Misty Steele" as a hobby.
Five years after she retires from prize fighting she is contacted by a man named Prior, who has extensive information on Molly's criminal history and uses it to blackmail her into participating in a job in London involving a Yakuza bosses' daughter named Kumiko.
Molly and Kumiko spend time together while Molly tries to work out who is using Prior to blackmail her and why. Molly uses a console cowboy in London called Tick to identify where Prior got the information from. Tick discovers it came from Lady 3Jane Marie-France Tessier-Ashpool, which is later confirmed by The Finn's construct.
Molly uses her connection through Dr Gerald Chin to establish Prior is having Mona reworked to appear as Angela (Angie) Mitchell. Molly captures Prior and tortures him to obtain the plan to kidnap Angie and use Mona's body to fake Angies death on behalf of 3Jane. Molly takes Mona and proceeds to kidnap Angie before she can be kidnapped by 3Jane. In London Tick and Kumiko have discovered what 3Jane wants with Angie and pass that information to Molly.
Molly then manages a deal with the loa/voodoo gods of the net to have her record expunged if she gets takes Angie to the Factory in Solitude where Bobby is located. Molly delivers Angie to Bobby's location and the two are united in aleph.
After the events at the Factory Molly takes the aleph containing Bobby, Angie's and 3Jane's constructs inside and escapes with Slick and the Judge. Molly directs Slick to connect the aleph to the Judge with a solar array to keep it mobile and powers for some months to a year. Molly walks off into the dessert to hide the Judge and to 'be by herself for a change.'
In all three stories, Molly is a physically tough (but not instantly imposing) bodyguard/mercenary. She is referred to as a "razorgirl" throughout his stories and also as Steppin' Razor by the residents of Zion, a Rastafarian space station.
A useful contact for dealing with gangs and black market elements, she tends to show little remorse for the opponents she ruthlessly dispatches in the course of her objectives. In fact she shows few deep emotions towards anyone outside of hatred, suspicion or amused contempt. Nevertheless, Molly is always regarded as a loyal, morally strong character, opposed to the progressing decay of human relations in the world Gibson depicts.
An exception to her cold, somewhat cynic approach to life was Johnny, for whom she still mourned at the time of Neuromancer. This is part of the personal history she relates to its protagonist, Case, in addition to the revelation that she worked as a "meat puppet" (a prostitute) in a "puppet parlor" (a brothel where people loan out their bodies while maintained in a blanked-out state) to pay for her considerable cybernetic enhancements.
Another pseudonym, used when she rents a hotel room in Neuromancer, is "Rose Kolodny", the name by which the Turing Police refer to her. The Turing Police may have simply gotten the name from the hotel's registry, but it is sometimes speculated to be her original name. The later trilogy books speculate that she is "SINless", having been an unrecorded birth and never having been issued a "Single Identity Number". This would give her the advantage of being more difficult to track in the cyberspace environment. Critic Larry McCaffery asserts that "Molly" is a "moll".
Though she is generally an antisocial personality, Molly maintains a network of allies and even a few friends, and is capable of empathizing with certain individuals who are implied to remind her of herself, or others she has known. After her love affair with Johnny Mnemonic ended in tragedy, she had a short affair with Case in "Neuromancer," later admitting that Case reminded her of her dead partner. In "Mona Lisa Overdrive" she acts as a bodyguard and mentor to Kumiko, the daughter of a Yakuza mob boss. In the same adventure she also seeks help from a friend named Tick, and is implied to empathise with the prostitute Mona (who no doubt reminded Molly of herself at a younger age).
Perhaps her closest relationship is with the Finn, a fence who deals in stolen goods. She is more open and humorous with the Finn than anyone else, and seems to maintain her friendship with him for decades. It is likely that the Finn is the only person who could get away with calling Molly "Sweet Meat." After the Finn's death in "Mona Lisa Overdrive," Molly visits his construct, and appears more emotionally vulnerable than any other point in the series (excepting perhaps her confession to Case in "Neuromancer"). Molly and the Finn's construct converse for hours, while Kumiko observes a close relationship between the two.
Molly never marries or has any children, and is never indicated to have any family.
Portrayal in other media
The 1994 film version of Johnny Mnemonic replaced Molly with a character named Jane who did not have modifications to her eyes or to her fingers. Jane did share the modified nervous system but used a single razor attached to the tip of a telescoping "car antenna" as a weapon. It is possible that this was due to the "Molly" character being attached to the rights for any possible future Neuromancer film adaptation.
In the 2003 BBC Radio adaptation of Neuromancer, Molly was played by the English actress Nicola Walker. Actress Sasha Grey took on the role in Case, a six-hour dramatic contemporary adaptation of the novel staged in New York City in November 2009.
References in pop culture
- Molly is the subject of a song called "Mirrorshades," by the group Information Society.
- She appears in the unfinished "Neuromancer" graphic novel, released in 1989. Molly's role and dialogue are left largely unaltered from the novel, though artistic license is taken with her appeaernce. She is noticably more masculine looking, both in her body and her hairstyle.
- Molly is often credited with setting the tone for the "razorgirl" character type in cyberpunk, with several other characters bearing resemblance to her in personality and appearence. Examples include Trinity from The Matrix franchise, and Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell.
- Though few official illustrations of the character exist, Molly is immensly popular among "Neuromancer" fan-artists on a number of websites, DeviantArt in particular. Indeed, a disproportionate amount of art related to "Neuromancer," or William Gibson's works in general, revolve around this character.
- McCaffery, Larry (1991). Storming the Reality Studio. Durham: Duke University Press. .
- Twitter comment: "Key iconic for Molly was C. Hynde on first Pretenders album cover (...)"
- Twitter comment: "(...) Not so much CH per se, but this particular image."
- "Six Hours Of William Gibson's Neuromancer... Starring Sasha Grey As Molly". io9. http://io9.com/5403184/six-hours-of-william-gibsons-neuromancer-starring-sasha-grey-as-molly.
- Comments: Mirrorshades
- Razor girls: Genre and Gender in Cyberpunk Fiction
- William Gibson aleph Fan site
- Voidspace Online excerpts from Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive
- MOLLY'S MIRRORSHADES; ZEISS-IKON EYES "I could never dream up a sufficiently convincing way to imagine them being attached."