by William Gibson
John Ashpool is not having the best day when we meet him. He's just been woken after a thirty-year cryogenic sleep, and it seems he wasn't having pleasant dreams. To quote him directly, "They told us we wouldn't dream, in that cold. They told us we'd never feel cold, either… Lies. Of course I dreamed" (15.79). The result is that Ashpool awakens in a state of delusion and paranoia, which leads him straight to suicide (almost). But then again, Ashpool did strangle his wife to prevent her plans for the Tessier-Ashpool family and the AIs to come to fruition. So maybe he wasn't all there to begin with—30 years of frozen sleep or no.
Ashpool shows us how the Tessier-Ashpool lineage has fallen. Sure they're still richer than Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg combined, but they're falling apart internally because they refuse to change. The cryofreeze, the clones, the antiques piling up in Straylight, all of these things manifest in John Ashpool's character and show us the cost of maintaining too tight a control on the world around you. Eventually, it'll all fall apart.
After waking from cryosleep, Ashpool kills one of the Jane clones and is all set to commit suicide when Molly runs into him during her incursion into Straylight. She does what she does best and shoots old Johnny boy right in the eye.