The Sprawl

William Gibson

In William Gibson’s fiction, the Sprawl is a colloquial name for the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis (BAMA), an urban sprawl environment on a massive scale, and a fictional extension of the real Northeast Megalopolis. The novels ‘Neuromancer’ (1984), ‘Count Zero’ (1986), and ‘Mona Lisa Overdrive’ (1988) (collectively known as the Sprawl trilogy) take place in this environment, as do the short stories ‘Johnny Mnemonic,’ ‘New Rose Hotel,’ ‘Burning Chrome,’ and ‘Fragments of a Hologram Rose.’

The Sprawl is a visualization of a future where virtually the entire East Coast of the United States, from Boston to Atlanta, has melded into a single mass of urban sprawl. It has been enclosed in several geodesic domes and merged into one megacity. The city has become a separate world with its own climate, no real night/day cycle, and an artificial sky that is always grey. It is said of the Sprawl that ‘the actors change but the play remains the same.’

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