Recently, I had the pleasure of contacting Vertical about my services as a freelance copywriter. The marketing director came back with a different idea. Of course, I was interested in the idea but I’ll get to the idea in a second.
His idea, once he saw on my website that I review books, is to review a book they published. I had one book in mind to read since I haven’t read anything in the series before. I’m sure you’ve heard about the movie recently with Scarlett Johansson called “The Ghost in the Shell”.
You’ve seen the backlash attached to the film since Johansson is American and the story was created by the Japanese. I won’t discuss the white-washing of films today, though, but discuss my thoughts on a book in the series.
Choosing a copy of “The Ghost in the Shell” with five original short stories that are not part of the original storyline was easy for me. I’ll be going over my thoughts on the novel and my overall perception of it for you. Let’s take a look, shall we?
“The futuristic technology is fascinating.”
In the novel series, human beings essentially have two brains coinciding in their heads. They have a cyberbrain and a “ghost” brain. The “ghost” brain is the brain that you and I have right now. The cyberbrain serves as a sort of computer.
Prosthesis technology is also advanced beyond our current capabilities. A person’s entire body can be prosthetically built if that is what is needed. In the last short story, Olympian athletes use specialized full-body prosthetics to compete.
The people in the novels can also switch bodies to keep themselves alive. That is part of why they use full-body prosthetics. If they get into their eighties or nineties, they can switch into a full-body prosthetic to prolong their life.
To me, that kind of technology is fascinating. I’ve always been interested in what the human race is capable of in terms of the tech we use on a normal basis. Since this novel’s universe is based in the 2030s, who knows what we could be using then?
“To think…the novel is set only 15 years from now!”
This part is what really peaked my interest in the series. In one of the short stories, it lists the year as 2030 and another year as 2034. These dates are less than 15 years away from us. If they already have the tech that they do, what are WE going to have when we get to 2030 and 2034?
That got me thinking about that question as well. How are we going to evolve as a human race in the time this gives us? What animals are going to be fully extinct and which ones are going to be close to extinction?
Here comes the silly question as well for you to think about. How easy will it be for the technology we have in 2030 to take over the world? How easy will it be for the technology we have then to turn us into zombies and kill each other off?
The question might be a silly one to you but it’s one to think about, for sure. What if we get so far with the advancement of technology that it turns against us? People are already saying this and we’re laughing in their faces, aren’t we?
“It kept me interested from the first page I read.”
I’ll admit to seeing the advertisements for the American film based on this series. That is what peaked my interest when I first saw this book listed. It took me not even two seconds to pick out this book to review. There was no hesitation whatsoever from me and no one at Vertical was surprised either.
I started to read the book as soon as it came in the mail and was pleasantly surprised to find out how good the book started out. You could say it started off with a figurative bang, so to speak. It kept me wanting to read it further from the very first page.
Not many books can do that but “The Ghost in the Shell” managed to do it very easily. I’m a voracious reader who used to get in trouble for reading during class. I read it in about a day and a half, which is a record even for me.
“I’d never heard of the Springer Rage Syndrome so that peaked my interest.”
For those of you who don’t know what this is, Springer Rage Syndrome is when a springer spaniel goes on a murderous rampage. When the rampage is over, the dog does not remember what had happened or what it may have done.
In the Ghost in the Shell universe, this syndrome can be used as a virus in the cyberbrain. You can infect people with it to act out violence or murder upon other people. Afterwards, the infected person will be in a zombie-like state and not remember a thing of what happened.
This peaked my interest because I’ve never heard of it. I’m not even sure if it’s a real disease among the breed of dog. All I know is, I don’t want to be infected with it. I don’t want to be used as a zombie and this would be a great virus to use during a zombie apocalypse.
“The only con I see is that the first short story’s language was hard to read.”
The only thing I didn’t like about the novel was the language in “Shadow.net” by Toh EnJoe. The language was a bit confusing at times, which I believe may be due to the translation. This language made the story hard to follow at times.
For me, it brought back memories of reading books in English class, such as “The Scarlet Letter” or “A Tale of Two Cities”. I was hard-pressed to follow along the plot because the language was beyond my capability to understand.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story, though. It was a great short story to start on for the novel and one I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. I couldn’t wait to read the next story and I was accustomed to the language used by that point.
All in all, it was a fantastic book. I don’t often read short stories but these short stories were worth it. It was not a long read at all and it fascinated me from “day one”. I’d say it took me about a day and a half to read it.
I highly suggest you read this novel but have a solid grasp of the main storyline of The Ghost in the Shell beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll be lost within its pages quite quickly. The technology used in the stories is quite advanced and we haven’t reached that level as of 2017.
I want to thank Vertical for the chance to review this novel. It was my pleasure to do so and I hope to review more books for you guys in the future. You are great to work with and I’ll be suggesting you to all of my readers who have an interest in Japanese literature.