Monday, September 17, 2012

Parasite Eve- Book Review

Hey, do you remember that Parasite Eve videogame from the 90's? Well, it was a sequel to a Novel of the same name by Hideaki Sena.  It was also a movie, released direct to DVD around 2001 here in The States. 

Synopsis-  Toshiaki's wife dies in a car accident and she has an organ donor card for her kidneys.  Her mitochondria is what caused the accident and they are also manipulating her husband, a pharmicology professor who specializes in mitochondria, into taking her liver and creating cell cultures for experiments.  The mitochondria is tired of being enslaved by humanity and wants to become the lead in our symbiotic relationship.  To do this the mitochondria will have to create a hybrid baby.  Good thing one of the kidneys was transplanted into a 14 year old girl with a viable womb. 

Unfortunately the writing in this story is too acedemic.  The author really knows his stuff and tends to over explain every scientific detail.  This really slows down the story and takes all of the tension out of what could be a scary story.  Neal Stephenson also does this, but he usually just limits it to one or two places in the book.  You get a full explanation of all the science or math you could hope for in one chapter and then he lets it go.  I think this is a better approach. 

There are also translation issues.  Japanese people talk a certain way and it is perfectly normal in Japanese and not always literal.  When translated some things need to be changed to make it not sound completely stupid in English.  An example would be a graduation ceremony at the end of the novel, the character's name is called and she responds with "Hai!"  Hai literally  means yes, but in Japan it has a lot more roles, like present, or I agree, or okay, or just as an acnowledgement.  In this instance it is more like the character is saying "I am here to accept my diploma" but it is translated as "Yes!"  Another instance is at the beginning of the novel when a character calls someone.  After the character says who he is, the other character asks if that is really him.  It reads very corny in English, but in Japan it has more to do with respect and could have been translated better by having the character say "to what do I owe the pleasure of this call."  The book is full of little things like this in the dialogue, and that is annoying. 

Over all it was a pretty fun book and a bit educational if not over my head in few places.  I don't think I was ever really scared, but the book did have me hooked to see what happened.  I will not lie, I was kind of rooting for Eve as I thought a fully developed Eve would be a great antagonist and a bit more interesting than what we were given. 

This book would be pretty safe for 9th grade up, it does have some sexual situations, but nothing too graphic.  The violence isn't as bloody as you would expect.  I have a hard time calling this one Horror, but that is what it is classified as. 


The Angry Lurker said...

I may keep an eye out for this, nice one!

Pat Tillett said...

Sometimes the little differences between Japanese and English make for funny stuff! I haven't heard of this before, but I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks!