We can transcend it for you wholesale

And now, for something that doesn’t go on forever about Genshiken.

Many of you are aware that the Ghost in the Shell franchise is getting a new lease on life with the double barrelled ARISE prequel, a series of OAV anime and a manga that deal with the early days of Motoko Kusanagi , Section 9, Batou and the rest of the fun gang. Coincidental to this, there are a few Ghost In the Shell “impression” pieces in Mechademia 6, and I’ve stumbled across more than a few other crit-world treatments of it, and Mamoru Oshii lately.

GIS_A1

Now while it is really kewl to learn that Hans Bellmer’s Dolls are referenced in the opening segment of GIS (deploy theory word uncanny, LOS!) I would respect these little excursions if they would only tip their hats a bit towards the influences at work, at the time that GIS made its initial commotion. Ok, lets all say Harraway together, but really, the whole post-human thing is all so 1995, right? By now we are well into the post-post-human, aren’t we?

Being a long-term netizen is a lot like being a long-term academic: What is really surprising is what you can’t find mention of. So in the interest of future crit-heads going on about GIS and not sounding like they missed something, let me suggest that:

1) Some of the more popular USA type sci-fi does make it over to Japan in translation, and
2) It does not get “imitated”, Japanese creators merely join a “conversation” that has been a large part of the speculative fiction/ scientific romance genre since it first crawled out of Mary Shelly’s book (or Cyrano’s or Lucian’s)

With this in mind here are two words every critical appraisal of Ghost in the Shell should remember to at least include in the footnotes:

Winter Market

And just in case they weren’t paying attention:

Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market Winter Market 

Or, as the Major said so eloquently:

ffew wishes

And ya know that it is a real crying shame that the CBC radio production of it is nowhere to be found on the net, or even in the CBC archives.

Here’s a timeline:

The story was commissioned in 1985 by Vancouver Magazine
a synopsis: http://workingtropes.lmc.gatech.edu/wiki/index.php/The_Winter_Market
1986: included in the anthology BURNING CHROME
Also published separately in Stardate Magazine No. 11 March/April 1986
1989: Ghost in the shell Manga
1995: Oshii’s film

To be fair, Gibson’s little cyberpunk tale was not the first to posit transcendence through merging with the netmind/ AI / global network/ yadda yadda yadda, (or the last – I always liked Marc Stiegler’s Gentle Seduction (1989) better) Here is a page that started a USA-sci-fi bibliography on it, and there are plenty more. Myself I am holding out for snagging an e-copy of Stone’s The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age (and it ain’t only gendered identity that she deals with, despite the one review) but so far all I can find are inexpensive used dead tree versions which take up valuable space, are a pig to search and block-quote, and don’t get read and cited as much as they should by the laity.

Expect a review in a few months, I will have to break down and Amazon it sooner or later. A .99cent drm-free ebook download would make it IMMORTAL! but what do I know of the realities of academic publishing?

GIS Manga cover

Back to GIS_A: It is Quite Good! The new Major is just as brooding as she always was, but I like her younger lean look. The overdone cheesecake cyborg body of the first movie and the ’89 era manga/ SAC mullet was always jarring, but I suppose it had its uses. The plotting is all gummint conspiracy upon gummint conspiracy, upon etc, but that’s fine, as it serves to set up a curious echo of Gibson’s original “waste” sub-theme. Then again, the disposable soldier / cannon fodder is hardly a new thing either. The soundtrack is good too, even without Yoko Kanno. So I await the next installment of the ARISE OAV’s and the subsequent manga chapters. I just hope they don’t go sacrificing the Tachikoma(s) again – it is a cheap plot trick on par with killing off Old Yeller, and I have a soft spot for the little beasties.

I just wanted to get my 2 words in. You heard it here first; no Gibson footnote = the crit-speak rumination on GIS is shoddy. Half points only for the word cyberpunk. Would all academic reviewing be so easy peasy.

Next time: Vocaloids, the Khôra/ Chora and the odd things one could do with a Pentium-1, 133 MHZ on a kitchen table some 14 years ago… or something else.