Assimilation to the Matrix

Sebastian Kearse '10, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

As communication, and individual living conditions, and technology improves, the old views how the world functions change. William Gibson's Mona Lisa Overdrive presents a world that questions humanity's adaptation to its current level of understanding. Much as in Gibson's previous work and prequel, Count Zero, the lives of different characters slowly merge, adjusting to their technology and reach a conclusion that influences one another. After his encounter with the "Count," the robot maker Gentry shows his interest in understanding the technology that is the matrix.

Gentry was convinced that cyberspace had a Shape, an overall total form. Not that that was the weirdest idea Slick had ever run across, but Gentry had this obsessive conviction that the Shape mattered totally. The apprehension of the Shape was Gentry's grail. . . . But Slick didn't think cyberspace was anything like the universe anyway; it was just a way of representing data. [75-76]

In a world that has become so centered on the cyberspace, it makes sense that one would have to understand the matrix itself.


1. "How could you figure the whole matrix had a particular shape? And why should it mean anything if it did?" (76)

2. Gentry, a character who was introduced as intolerant and a drug addict, seemed to be more aware of how things work in Gibson's world. How accurate is his assessment of the matrix?

3. Mona Lisa Overdrive constantly compares the matrix to God. Would understanding the matrix lead to omniscience and omnipotence?

4. Kumiko has to adapt to ever changing surroundings. How does technology affect her existence?


Gibson, William.Mona Lisa Overdrive. New York: Bantam Books, 1989.

Cyberspace OV Cyborg  Mona Lisa Overdrive

Last modified 1 October 2006