In case you don’t know, I’m in graduate school, working on an MA in English literature. I’m on my thesis these days, working on and off whenever I can get my lazy ass to focus. The thesis itself primarily leans towards a critical/practical and theoretical analysis of William Gibson’s early work (the “Sprawl” trilogy”), but one of the main points I make is Gibson’s influence, particularly on the Ghost In The Shell franchise.
I know, that’s the movie poster from the first film which is radically different from the original manga, but whatever.
I’ve been re-reading the original manga (the 2nd edition in the US via Dark Horse, re-rereleased in 2004) and generally re-remembering why I love it so much and wanted to work with it. Probably my first real exposure to realistic cyberpunk, post-futurisim, and realistic radical views of applications of technology, it brought the post-Virtual Reality generation of nerds, punks, comic geeks, and Gibson and Dick fans frothing to the gates of a new world.
Probably one of the closest approximations of Gibson’s written world (visually), despite being from the other side of the law/line that Gibson writes about primarily, it’s fascinating to see futuristic visions of medical technology, cybernetics, military warfare and technology (reflecting the realism of living in a post-Cold War world where battlefields aren’t always that simple)…man, I get a techno-literary boner just glancing at the book in my bag.
Of course, a large chunk of the science is theoretical/outright fantasy. The concepts of being able to utilize things like fiber optics to mimic human tactile sensation (never mind the very idea of outright brain transfer into a wholly artificial body), advances in artificial intelligece resulting in symbiotic relationships with hive-mind battle robots, and the general slow dissolution of conventional world powers as technology advances to the point that normal diplomatic tools (ie nuclear weaponry) have lost their power, if not outright rendered impotent, are all (as of right now) mostly in the realm of fantasy.
Pretty cool, huh? I mean never mind the story/stories of the GITS franchise (two volumes of manga, two films, two TV series and a follow-up film to that, and a rumored live-action adaptation?)* are brilliant, with a mixture of conventional action and tech-thriller stuff (robots and explosions and guns, OH MY!) and hardcore but still not too cerebral political dealings (Tom Clancy can suck it, and so can Dale Brown)…
Could you imagine driving a mult-legged tank like that?
I know, awesome, right?
*) The various GITS series all actually take place in their own universes, so to speak. The first two movies are different from the manga volumes, and the TV seasons and the Solid State Society movie are different as well, though many have noted the similaries, personality-wise, between those and the original manga.