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Battle Royale – Recommendation

Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.

Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan – where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller – Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.


Koushun Takami (高見 広春 Takami Kōshun) is the author of the novel Battle Royale, originally published in Japanese, and later translated into English by Yuji Oniki and published by Viz Media and, later, in an expanded edition by Haika Soru, a division of Viz Media.

Takami was born in Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture near Osaka and grew up in the Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku. After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University’s liberal arts correspondence course program. From 1991 to 1996, he worked for the news company Shikoku Shimbun, reporting on various fields including politics, police reports, and economics.

The novel Battle Royale was completed after Takami left the news company. It was rejected in the final round of the literary competition for which it was intended, owing to its controversial content. It went on to become a bestseller when finally released in 1999 and, a year later, was made into a manga and a feature film.

He is currently working on a second novel.


Vicky (booksandstrips) or I think it was Jen (fictionalJenn) recommended this movie and then said it was actually based on a book, which I found and want to read. The movie was fascinating!

Any movies which were initially books are you interested in watching? Have you read the books?

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Wednesday Book Review: Moxyland

Moxyland

Title: Moxyland

Author: Lauren Beukes

Genre: Dystopian

Book procurement: Bought on Takealot.com.

Synopsis:

A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. Kendra, an art-school dropout, brands herself for a nanotech marketing program; Lerato, an ambitious AIDS baby, plots to defect from her corporate employers; Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, is becoming increasingly rabid; and Toby, a roguish blogger, discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more than they seem. On a collision course that will rewire their lives, this story crackles with bold and infectious ideas, connecting a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society’s white knight.

Review:

Well that was embarrassing (Thanks Rache!)

Ahem so… Moxyland was a fascinating book by Lauren Beukes, the second novel I have read by a talented local (South African) author and her debut novel which won the Authur C. Clarke award and I can see why.

Set in a future South African context where everyone needs a pass to access almost everything and cellphones are more than just a device for making phone calls, messaging people and checking social media platforms, four characters intermingle in the biggest conspiracy ever! Told from each of their perspectives, we sink into a world of corporate espionage, underground activists, immersive gaming and an alarming prospect of technological advancement.

It took a while to get into the book, only because I was reading The Time Traveler before this, and the change in tone, narrative and culture was a bit of a shock. My favourite character was Toby, who took his blogging to a whole new level, which was exacerbated by his cockiness and  satirical nonchalance to the world around him.

The interweaving stories around the four characters and how they were connected in some way was imaginative and fun. The world-building was exceptional; it took the historical and cultural aspects of our third world country and intermingled them with Umbrella Corporation style institutions, for an ominous “nothing-is-as-it-seems” macrocosm.

The cliff-hanger ending gives me a semblance of hope that Lauren Beukes will perhaps dabble with a Moxyland sequel (please!).

Rating: A twisted 4 out of 5

Monday Book Recommendation: Moxyland

Moxyland

A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. Kendra, an art-school dropout, brands herself for a nanotech marketing program; Lerato, an ambitious AIDS baby, plots to defect from her corporate employers; Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, is becoming increasingly rabid; and Toby, a roguish blogger, discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more than they seem. On a collision course that will rewire their lives, this story crackles with bold and infectious ideas, connecting a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society’s white knight.


I will be doing the Wednesday Book review on this Arthur C Clarke award winning author, who also happens to be a local (South African) author. Turned out be a really great book.

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