Monday, October 29, 2012

The Two Faces of Tomorrow

I bought this cheap at the second-hand bookshop. Just bought it because it was cheap, hoping it would be good, and it's turned out to be one of my favourite things I've read recently. Based on a book by James P. Hogan, it was adapted into a manga by Yukinobu Hoshino, neither of these two names mean anything to me. I don't know if it was serialised in monthly issues, or if it was just published as this big one honking book, though I suspect it might've been.
Anyway, this is a straight-up hard sci-fi story, and a fascinating one. We're at the point in our future where a central program is running a huge amount everything pretty much, and an incident involving clearing some mountain on the moon brings to light some inherent danger in this situation. Also, the system is about to undergo an upgrade to a more intelligent system, but the worry is, what if the system rebels and tries to kill us? So much of everything is run by the system, flight, cars, water, etc, you know,pretty much all we depend on.
So an experiment is put into place to run a simulation. A huge space station is built and the upgraded system is left to run the place, and, the experiment begins. And things go a little crazy there. It's a really good story, and really well told. I thought it was totally believable. It almost seems a little dated, but it also still feels quite relevant.
The art is is a more mature style, not aimed at teenagers or young men, which what most of the manga we see is. I'll just show you a page from the book, since it's easier to show than try talk about it.

So fairly realistic backgrounds and technology, but that stylised or simplified character work, but without the larger eyes or geometric heads.
I'd like to keep talking about it, but I want you to read it yourself, so don't want to spoil it anymore than I have, but it's got real science, it's destruction, it's got subtle soap opera, it's got it all, go read it!

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