Ghost in the Shell: The Lost Memory / Junichi Fujisaku : 4 of 5
Although there isn't much left that I haven't experienced in the Ghost in the Shell world, I was excited to discover this series of novels authored by someone who wrote several actual episodes of the Stand Alone Complex series, and I was even able to get this first novel from PaperBack Swap! I wasn't sure how Ghost in the Shell would feel in a non-manga fiction format, but thankfully this story feels exactly like the show, with the same amount of detail, subtle character interaction, and level of complexity that demands the full attention of the reader. You definitely can't take a break from reading for more than a few days, or you might forget some key plot points! The story involves the memory of a dead boy that is being transmitted via a recorded dream (which teenage kids experience for a thrill) and triggers them to commit terrorist acts, so there's a lot of action and mystery as Motoko unravels the plot. I really enjoyed the way some concepts were described in a way that isn't possible via anime, such as what it's like to use a cyberbrain on the net (like trying to remember something you never knew, since the net becomes an extension of the mind), as well as the stigma of being "cyberbrain maladaptive" in this modern society (in which ordinary people who aren't enhanced with technology are essentially disabled). Of course, there are some great action sequences with Motoko, Batou, and the rest of Section 9, but although they are well-written, I found myself really wanting to see what was going on either as animation or illustration, just because Ghost in the Shell is so closely tied to those formats. But overall, I think the author did a nice job of bringing out the elements of the story that were improved by narrative fiction, and I definitely want to continue this series by reading the other Ghost in the Shell novels. Most of all, I'm just happy to spend some time in this incredibly cool world again!