Every child born of every mother and father asks the same questions. Why is the sky blue? What happens after we die? What am I, anyway? My guess is that when the human race as a whole has its first child, it will be a sentient machine — a robot, or an AI — and we will know it is so when it, too, relentlessly asks these same questions.
I wonder if that was the reason Osamu Tezuka created Astro-Boy, or Tetsuwan Atomu (or “Atom” for short) as he was in Japan. If an AI is meant to have the curiosity of a child, then why not create one that looks and behaves like a child, and will be treated like on by the adult (read: human) world? It made sense to me when I first read Astro-Boy in English, and now that I’ve been reading Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto — itself a reworking of one of Tezuka’s most famed Astro-Boy stories — it makes all the more sense. No child remains a child forever, but how the child becomes father to the man is critical. Read more
Shame on me. Somehow, I managed to read and enjoy The Rose Princess without managing to write a review of it. Blame it on the end-of-the-year rush, an influx of other things all competing for my attention, or a proliferation of desk clutter that makes Fibber McGee’s closet look like a paragon of personal management. I not only forgot to write about the book but needed to go back and re-read the whole thing for the sake of being able to pen a review that wasn’t just Oh yeah, new Vampire Hunter D book, it’s way awesome, go pick it up, what more can I say?
Rose Princess comes billed with one of the best back-cover blurbs I’ve seen in a while: When you make a pact with the Devil, what happens when the Devil wants out? That’s one of the several plot seeds that Hideyuki Kikuchi plants into the perennially fertile soil of the VHD universe for this book, and as always he uses D himself as the gardener to cull what comes up. Strained metaphors aside, this is a good, solid installment in the series — about on the level of a book like The Stuff of Dreams, which gave us poetic images and striking encounters in lieu of a broader understanding of the D-verse (or, for that matter, D himself). Read more