Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Mona Lisa Overdrive is a cyberpunk novel by William Gibson published in 1988 and the final novel of the Sprawl trilogy, following Neuromancer and Count Zero. It takes place eight years after the events of Count Zero and is set, as were its predecessors, in The Sprawl. The novel was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1989.
Taking place eight years after the events of Count Zero and fifteen years after Neuromancer, the story is formed from several interconnecting plot threads, and also features characters from Gibson's previous works (such as Molly Millions, the razor-fingered mercenary from Neuromancer).
One of the plot threads concerns Mona, an innocent young prostitute who has a more-than-passing resemblance to famed Simstim superstar Angela (Angie) Mitchell. Mona is hired by shady individuals for a "gig" which later turns out to be part of a plot to abduct Angie.
The second story focuses on a young Japanese girl named Kumiko, daughter of a Yakuza boss sent to London to keep her safe while her father engages in a gang war with other top Yakuza leaders. In London she is cared for by one of her father's retainers, who is also a powerful member of the London Mob. She meets Molly Millions (having altered her appearance and now calling herself "Sally Shears", in order to conceal her identity from hostile parties who are implied to be pursuing her), who takes the girl under her wing.
The third story thread follows a reclusive artist named Slick Henry, who lives in a place named Factory in the Dog Solitude a large, poisoned expanse of deserted factories and dumps, perhaps in New Jersey. Slick Henry is a convicted (and punished) car thief. As a result of the repetitive brainwashing nature of his punishment, he spends his days creating large robotic sculptures and periodically suffers episodes of time loss, returning to consciousness afterward with no memory of what he did during the blackout. He is hired by an acquaintance to look after the comatose "Count" (Bobby Newmark from the second novel, Count Zero, who has hooked himself into a super-capacity cyber-harddrive called an Aleph). A theoretical "Aleph" would have the RAM capacity to literally contain all of reality, enough that a memory construct of a person would contain the complete personality of the individual and allow it to learn, grow and act independently.
The final plot line follows Angela (Angie) Mitchell, famous simstim star and the girl from the second Sprawl novel Count Zero. Angie, thanks to brain manipulations by her father when she was a child, has always had the ability to access cyberspace directly (without a cyberspace deck), but drugs provided by her production company Sense/Net have severely impeded this ability.
The story of the reclusive artist that makes cybernetic sculptures is a reference to Mark Pauline of Survival Research Labs.
- Mona Lisa Overdrive at Worlds Without End