The Two Faces of Tomorrow - James P. Hogan & Yukinobu Hoshino

This manga was apparently adapted from an old science fiction novel and it's a curious book. The idea at the root of the story is not a new one: artificial intelligence becomes self-aware and revolts against humans. However, this one had a great twist: "Spartacus" was designed to revolt. Much of the Earth is managed by an enormous computer network, and before upgrading it to a new AI system, everyone wants to be sure that there won't be problems with computers taking over the world.

So, a space-station colony is set up as an experiment, running the new AI system and given instructions that will inevitably lead to conflict. Then the scientists and military personnel on board begin to test the boundaries, eventually leading to all-out war with Spartacus. The title refers to Dr. Dyer's statement that there are "two faces of tomorrow": one in which the machines revolt and kill humans, and another in which a supercomputer network leads to unprecedented advances in human history.

I haven't read a lot of manga but this doesn't feel typical, probably because it was adapted from a non-Japanese scifi novel. It does, however, use a lot of extreme facial expressions and dynamic backgrounds and camera angles in the midst of conversations filled with techno-babble, which can be somewhat amusing. Everyone is very intense and can usually be seen with a bead of sweat running down the cheek.

The illustrations of the space station and droids are great, and definitely help me picture the world, but I'd be interested to read the original novel to see if the dialogue is any better. It's a cool story that takes the computer-versus-man idea in a slightly different direction and I really enjoyed it.

Fed to jonathan's brain | June 18, 2007 | Comments (0)


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