it’d be funnier if it weren’t so close to the truth…..!
it’d be funnier if it weren’t so close to the truth…..!
This is a buddy-cop story with a number of interesting twists and nuances. Suffice it to say one is human and as always, the other is something else (modified human but fairly alien at the same time – this character, Chris Shane, is the central protagonist).
I won’t really discuss the plot because it would be easy to spoil it – but per usual with Scalzi, I liked the semi-regular doses of humor and humanity he gives his characters. And I liked the novel’s setup and back story – which I could easily see getting put into several sequels (hint).
Another angle on this book is that often in buddy-cop plots i’ve seen a tendency to have one be the sane one, one be the edgy one – but here, i’d argue there are nuances of each in both main characters. Clearly one is more edgy but it’s not the one you’d think and if there are more books, i’m confident Scalzi will explore this more as to the other. He’s usually not content to just treat things in a ‘Marvel Comics’ way where the super power makes up for or partially covers character flaws to produce a person we can still identify with – there’s more going on here, but it will take definitely more than one book to explore.
The pacing of the book is well done too, Scalzi is able to introduce the detailed backstory without bogging down in expository details for chapters on end (Dune sequels, I’m talking to YOU).
I guess a basic qualifier of a good book to me, anyway, is if I want to read more or hear more stories about these characters. Unlike Kerewin, I’m not as big a ‘cop story’ guy, despite keen interest in Ghost in the Shell and similar – yet here, I definitely want to read more. Bring on the sequels!
So Kerewin and I recently watched the third of these BBC movies, Salting The Battlefield, to finish the trilogy started with Page Eight and then Turks and Caicos. These were BBC ‘tv movies’ – we watched them on PBS.org via Masterpiece, for those inclined to check them out.
So these are spy thrillers, in my view the first two are pretty good, the third not quite as. Bill Nighy is the star here but in each movie there are several around him definitely providing interest. Ralph Fiennes knocks another ‘you really want to hate him’ role out of the park, he’s such a good bad guy (not as over the top as Voldemort or Harry from In Bruges, but there are definitely elements of both in his portrayal of the British PM).
And these are a bit lower-key than say, a Bourne movie, and not as complex as Tinker Tailor was (not sure of any movie that fits that bill). Still, they are probably far more realistic as regards plot and setting by contrast.
It was also obvious that the writers are definitely making both a direct and indirect commentary on the increasing British spy state as having grown out of the Bush years and why it just keeps on growing to this day – most notably in the third movie. What ends up happening to Johnny and the others is not as predictable as you might expect – but then again, this isn’t Hollywood either.
Check them out!
What they said. And what we said.
I’d likely be a crow – or a zanate! But i’d have a swank “pad”!
the one rival to Nolan Bushnell for the ‘father of videogames’ crown…..RIP.
XKCD has a point, but NASA made a big dent in that ‘space deficit’ today – huge kudos!
longtime readers – Hmmm…. – may have seen the previous posts on Ghost in the Shell – both the movies and the 2 TV Series. recently a ‘prequel’ 4-episode miniseries was done that arguably fits ahead of all of them in time, although it’s closest in plot, characters and mentality to the two TV series – Ghost in the Shell:Arise.
So these episodes are a bit of a mix – they attempt to tell more of Motoko’s backstory (I can’t remember if they did much in the series with this, certainly not the movies, with this, barring one notable episode) – and they show the forming of the team (Motoko, Batou, Borma, Paz, Saito and Togusa with Aramaki as the Chief) that continues in the two series. And they attempt to include the other characters a bit more than seen previously (in the series it’s all about Motoko, Batou and Aramaki with Togusa in close second, the rest of the team have fairly 2-dimensional roles) although with four episodes there isn’t much time for that.
Here they also develop Motoko’s origins in Army Intelligence prior to joining Section 9, which is interesting but definitely not explained enough. And her former captain (Kurutsu) is seen throughout this series, in part as a foil, in part as a potential adversary? It’s not really clear.
Like all the Ghost series and movies, the animation is top-notch, and the visuals are always interesting and offbeat. And in addition to the backstory development mentioned above, there are at least two major plot lines through the four series in parallel, and those are sometimes hard to follow but interesting also.
The Section 9 ‘think tanks’ (Tachikomas in the two TV series) are seen here as earlier versions called ‘Logicomas’ – while the characters sometimes slam their capabilities as outdated or inferior, they seem as useful as the later versions – and not quite as silly in voice characterization as the later Tachikomas are).
And another interesting side topic is the infrequent commentary on ‘cyberization’ of humans – the human dream of merging man with machine – as well as the flip side of it being forced on people in part due to corporate greed. I found it kind of ironic that the people (with one exception) doing most of the commentary on this in the show are full cyborgs (all the members of Section 9 excepting Togusa and Aramaki).
I would say that besides the first movie, the first TV series (namely the Laughing Man story cycle within) would be my favorite – but this mini-series is very well done and definitely next in line – there’s likely sufficient timeline available for yet another between this series and the events in Stand Alone Complex, certainly. Like Initial D, Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell rarely disappoints and ranks right up there with the best anime – can’t wait for the next one!
While I’m not as stoked for this as I was for the second coming of TRON - and was somewhat disappointed – doh! – I have to say, this looks pretty good. Now to avoid watching any other trailers to avoid spoilers for just over a year……
Sad – my favorite member of Cream has passed away. I generally respect Clapton but excepting Cream and a bit of his early solo stuff, can’t generally stand his career since. Ginger Baker has already been discussed in these pages – apparently he has a new solo record out too – but what a freak.
But Jack Bruce, arguably the brains and certainly the key songwriter in Cream, has sadly passed. My favorite quote from him was when he said “People ask me – do you care that Eric Clapton gets all the fame from Cream? I say no, because I get all the money!”
R.I.P……May you have reached your White Room in harmony and rest…..