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.
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 throughout the book 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 (of Johnny Mnemonic), 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".
A lean, athletic, attractive woman who appears at first glance to be wearing mirrored sunglasses, Molly has in fact had her eye sockets sealed with vision-enhancing mirrored lenses that were surgically attached to her face by the skilled black-market surgeons of Chiba City. 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. She never lets others touch the lenses as it would leave messy fingerprints requiring extra cleaning.
Her sensory input, metabolism and reflexes are also artificially heightened by means of electronic implants and exotic forms of advanced surgeries and other medical procedures. Molly also sports razor-sharp retractable claws underneath her fingernails: ten double-edged blades four centimeters in length.
Molly is described as a tall, thin woman with pale skin and small breasts. Her eyes are covered with silver mirrored lenses, which are fused over her eye-sockets. Her hair is dark, cut in a "rough shag" in "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Neuromancer;" 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 a dark bulky jacket, and red, steel-toed cowboy boots. In "Mona Lisa Overdrive" her clothing is considered noticeably expensive, featuring a jacket with a sheepskin collar.
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 Edit
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 Edit
- 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."
- ↑ Gibson, William (2003). Burning Chrome (Johnny Mnemonic). New York City: Arbor House. p. 8. . Chrome.
- ↑ "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."