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Count Zero

Mona Lisa Overdrive

Burning Chrome




Sprawl summaries

'Neuromancer' plot summary

Case was one of the best console cowboys in the Sprawl until he stole data from one of his employers, who in turn damaged his nervous system in a way that he could not access cyberspace anymore. He went to Chiba City to have the damage repaired but spent all of his money without finding anyone who could help him Now he keeps himself alive in Chiba with drug and software dealing and murder and is caught in a suicidal spiral of drugs and murder. He is hunted down by Molly, a heavily modified headhunter ("razorgirl"), who is under contract by a man called Armitage to find Case and force him to join his crew. ¶

Armitage (whose real name is Colonel Corto and who was severly injured in a mission during the war in Russia), needs a cyberspace cowboy for a top-secret operation. He offers to have Case's brain damage repaired but in the course also has a slowly dissolving poison installed in Case's body to blackmail him. Faced with no other options, Case and Molly start the preparations for the run, during which they learn that Armitage is backed by a Swiss AI (artificial intelligence) owned by the Tessier-Ashpool industrial clan.

In preparation for the run proper they steal the personality ROM construct of McCoy Pauley (Case's former teacher) to support them during the run and forcefully recruit a perverse psychopath called Peter Riviera who is able to create holograms with the force of his mind. Armitage orders the crew to travel to the orbital spa of Freeside, a space station which is owned by the Tessier-Ashpool family. They travel with a Rastafrian spaceship (the tug 'Marcus Garvey' from Zion cluster) which is piloted by Aerol and Maelcum. Meanwhile, they figure that the whole operation is devised by the AI Wintermute in order to free it from certain limitations imposed by the Turing police which restrains artificial intelligences from evolving over a certain level. To this end, Case is supplied with a high-grade Chinese military icebreaker. ¶

Having arrived on Freeside, Case is arrested by agents of the Turing Registry who accuse him of aiding an AI to break the limitations. Wintermute kills these agents, and Case starts to launch the icebreaker. Meanwhile, Riviera has already gone to the Villa Straylight, the residence of the Tessier-Ashpools, by personal invitation of Lady 3Jane, one of the twenty clones of the children of John Ashpool and Marie-France Tessier. Molly is on her way to the Villa and is connected with Case via simstim. She kills the mad John Ashpool, but upon entering 3Jane's private cave she is severly hurt by Riviera. ¶

After killing Armitage who got out of control, Wintermute tells Case and Maelcum that they need to go to 3Jane's chamber themselves to get the code word from her. Before they arrive, Case is sucked into an alternate reality in cyberspace by Neuromancer, Wintermute's twin AI in Rio, who tries to stop their mission. After escaping, they find Molly, 3Jane, and Riviera. 3Jane has Riviera killed, and with her codeword they manage to drive the icebreaker program into the Tessier-Ashpool data cores. The result is the unification of Wintermute and Neuromancer. Together they become a being which constitutes the whole matrix. ¶

After the run, Case has his blood changed to get rid of the toxin. Molly leaves him and never sees him again. The new entity of Wintermute and Neuromancer contacts Case and tells him about its new being. He also tells him that he located a being of the same kind on Alpha Centauri. Case returns to the Sprawl and stays there. ¶

Novel information

'Count Zero' plot summary

'Count Zero' is the handle of young cyberspace cowboy Bobby Newmark, who runs into deadly ice on his supposedly safe first run. He is saved by a giant angel-like appearance in cyberspace. As he tries to contact his contractor, he is attacked by hitmen and close to death. After being put together again by a surgeon, the group of people behind his contractor take care of Bobby to reclaim the icebreaker which they provided to him to "test-drive". They are also interacting and pacting with yet unknown entities in the Matrix described as 'voodoo gods' or 'loa', which seem to be loose parts of conscious AIs set free after the unification of Wintermute and Neuromancer. ¶

Another person affected by the loa is Angela Mitchell, daughter of world-famous biochips developer Christopher Mitchell. He is supposed to be defecting from his current employer Maas Biolabs to Hosaka, but extraction expert Turner realizes at the extraction point that Mitchell sent his daughter instead. Turner learns that Angela has strange DNA patterns in her brain, which she says her father put there to augment her intelligence. This enables her to access cyberspace without a deck, but the loa are also able to take control of her. ¶

The Maas biochip technology is a hybrid technology based on immortal human cancer cells which can function as circuitry in chips. The biochips as well as Bobby's bioware icebreaker are of great interest to the super-rich Josef Virek, the wealthiest individual on the planet. Virek is confined to a life-supporting vat in Stockholm and hopes to become immortal through the biochips technology. He contracts former gallery owner Marly Krushkova to find the maker of strange art boxes that have appeared recently, resembling the work of Joseph Cornell. Through tracing the boxes back to the shop of The Finn, Virek supposes the boxes and the bioware seem to come from the same place. After a quest involving the death of her ex-lover, Marly traces the boxes to the defunct orbital spa Freeside and travels into orbit to meet the Boxmaker. She finally learns that the maker is an AI that puts together the boxes with the relicts of the Tessier-Ashpool family. ¶

Meanwhile, the loa direct Turner and Angela to Jammer's bar, where Bobby and Beauvoir are locked in by Maas associates. Bobby manages to contact Jaylene Slide, Turner's partner at the extraction site, who then burns both their contractor and Josef Virek. Bobby also realizes that it was Angie who saved his life in cyberspace. A few years later, Angela is becoming a simstim star with Bobby at her side. This storyline is continued in 'Mona Lisa Overdrive'. ¶

Novel information

'Mona Lisa Overdrive' plot summary

The first person we meet in this book is Kumiko Yanaka, a 13-year old Japanese girl who is sent to London by her father, a Yakuza lord, a in order to protect her. She is brought to Roger Swain and put under the protection of Sally Shears. We learn that Sally Shears is Molly Millions and has to work with Swain who is blackmailing her, himself being blackmailed by Lady 3Jane of Tessier-Ashpool. Sally's orders are to abduct the famous simstim star Angie Mitchell (which 3Jane is terribly envious of for no special reason) and leave a double's body dead. ¶

The double is Mona Lisa, a 16-year old naive girl brought to New York with her pimp Eddy who is then killed. She is consequently surgeoned to look like Angie Mitchell, the most famous simstim star on earth. The story of her escape from the corporate complex of Maas-Neotek and the death of her father, famous biochip designer Christopher Mitchell, is told in the sequel 'Count Zero'. Mitchell designed "lines" (so-called "vévés") in her brain by biological engineering which enable Angie to access cyberspace without a deck. This has also led to her being haunted by "cyberspace voodoo gods" ("loa") which also first appeared in the sequel. Angie learns that someone in her inner circle meant to alter her brain-patterns and therefore her connection to the loa by making her addicted of drugs which she just got detoxificated of. ¶

Angie's boyfriend is Bobby Newmark aka 'the Count' (Count Zero). After the events of 'Count Zero', Angie became instantly famous with her simstim movies, which ultimately lead to her and Bobby breaking up. Afterwards, he drifted back into the criminal underworld and ended up stealing a very expensive biochip ('aleph') with immensely huge storage capacity. Since Bobby stays permanently jacked into the aleph, he is reliant on his friend Kid Afrika who sees no other option than to move Bobby's body to a far-out deserted area. Because of an old favor he trusts the body to Slick Henry who lives together with Gentry in a place called Factory. Gentry examines the aleph and learns that it is an approximation of the whole data of the matrix. When jacking into the chip themselves, Slick and Gentry learn that the aleph is also inhabited by the personality construct of 3Jane, who had the aleph built for herself before Bobby stole it. ¶

Sally/Molly, under pressure, finally abducts both Mona and Angie and is led to the factory, which is already under attack from the owners of the aleph. The attackers are defeated, but Bobby and Angie both die during the fight. Molly brings the aleph into her possession and therefore is relieved of all past records. Bobby and Angie, along with the Finn, live on in the chip, and we learn that Mona Lisa takes Angie's identity and continues her simstim career. ¶

Novel information

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