Happily ever after

Matt Haxby '08, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Rhode Island School of Design (Fall 2006)

In Count Zero, the second of William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy, the cast consists of characters from gritty, dysfunctional backgrounds. Aided by artificial intelligences parading as Haitian deities, they overcome a grand, tangled web of corporate conspiracy. At the end of it all, Turner, a loyal corporate samurai, starts a family in the woods where he grew up, Angie Mitchell, a woman with the ability to link to cyberspace at any time, falls in love with Bobby Newmark and trains to be a simstim celebrity, and Marly Krushkova, an art historian owns two successful galleries in Paris.

He shrugged again. "Look at that little prick." he said. "Do you know he's drawing a salary nearly the size of mine, now? And what exactly does he do to earn it? A bodyguard . . ." His mouth set, thin and sour.

"He keeps her happy." Tally smiled. "We got them as a package. It's a rider in her contract. You know that." [244]


It seems as though the events of the novel have little impact on the characters' overall lives and ambitions. Are these where-are-they-now endings consistent with the character development throughout the story?

The tone of the ending is unambiguously happy. Is this fitting with the bleak setting of the book and the genre of cyberpunk in general?

The four main characters were all obedient to the pantheon of artificial intelligences in cyberspace. Could Gibson have given them happy futures to say something about Faith and rewards?

In Neuromancer, the first novel of the trilogy, the happy future of the protagonists Molly and Case ends up not working out. What does it mean that Gibson's sensibilities have changed to the more traditional?


Gibson, William Count Zero. New York: Ace Books, 1986.

Cyberspace OV Cyborg  Mona Lisa Overdrive

Last modified 29 September 2006