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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex. The Lost Memory. Junichi Fujisaku. DH Press (2006)


This is an enjoyable science fiction thriller set in a credible and well developed context with an engaging cast. The story is set in a future Japan in a world where replacing body partially or completely with prosthetic limbs or full bodies is commonplace and having a cyberbrain, a computer addition to your brain is virtually required to manage in an information saturated society.

A seemingly unrelated series of terrorist incidents carried out by teenage boys with no previous history or discernible motive, called the "Good Morning Terrorists", attracts the attention of Section 9, a Public Security group with responsibility for combating terrorism. Led by Major Motoko Kusanagi, who has had a full body replacement, the team from Section 9 investigate the incidents as well as the threat from a criminal gang to a visiting diplomat. The plot moves nicely, the reveals are well staged and the conclusion is enjoyably paranoid and explosive.

The writer manages to translate the context of the literal information society that is presented in very visual terms in the the animated series in a very unforced way. A lot of context and explanation has to be provided to ensure that the reader can understand the actions and choices of the cast and it is do in a very natural fashion. The cast are well developed, the Major is an engaging and professional security officer, the rest of her team are varied and lively. The story itself has a very enjoyable flavour of conspiracy thriller films of the late 1970's, as the plot unfolds it becomes clear that there is something very nasty lurking in the background.

While the story is set within the continuity from Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 1st Gig, it is written by one of the writers of the animated series, no previous knowledge of any of the Ghost in the Shell comic books, films or the SAC series is required to enjoy it.

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