Just as I said I would, I went home to Somerville and picked up my copies of Tsubasa and XXXHolic and then went to Barnes & Noble to pick up the rest of the Del Rey editions. (My debit card is screaming in agony right now; I decided to stop buying the English versions when it became clear that they sometimes sport inferior picture quality. $10.95 is just too much--especially when I can buy the deluxe editions of Tsubasa for 1600 yen. I need them now to check romanizations and the like. Thankfully though, the pain is temporary, as I will return the books after this week.) In any case, I also picked up the hardcover edition of Baudolino by Umberto Eco from the Bargain Books section. Though I'd really like to read In the Name of the Rose...
Upon returning to Long Valley, I decided to take a break from Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey in favor of a short sci-fi novella:
Minority Report by Philip K. Dick
Raise your hand if you've seen the Tom Cruise film. Okay, hands down. Now, raise your hand if you've read this novella. Anybody? Hmm. Probably not as many. Well, if you know that Dick is also the author of the novel that would become Blade Runner then you might not be surprised when I tell you that Minority Report the novella is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. In almost every way, save for the premise that crime is being prevented by three precogs who predict murders before they happen. The story was first published in 1956, and as one might expect from speculative fiction of that period, it celebrates the mechanization of human existence and the use/abuse of human beings in this system. Also of maintaining order at the expense of individual autonomy. The greatest distrust is directed toward hunger for dominance in the military; clearly, the wounds of WWII are still quite fresh. Compare this to the film, with its tremendous distrust for psychic phenomena and the mechanization of human existence. I'd like to think that our society has progressed enough since 1956 in that we by default endow all people, even mentally disabled or "different" ones, with full humanity, at least in theory. The film would not work on the emotions of its audience, otherwise. I'm trying to decide, from the lens of nearly 50 years, if the novella was intended to be sinister or not. I can't for the life of me tell whether the intent is literal or ironic. The edition I procured, from Pantheon Books, is hardcover and quite attractive, its pages bound from a spine at the top of the book instead of the left. In any case, quite the thought-stimulating read, and it would have been even more so had I not seen the glossy and utterly fantastical Hollywood movie. Well worth the read; it makes me eager for my upcoming Science Fiction class and Blade Runner, which is to be assigned during the semester.