Lenni Reviews: Genocidal Organ by Project Itoh

By Projet Itoh; Translated by Edwin Hawkes (Image source)

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

So the old saying goes but as any fellow nerd who’s ever been called a name can tell you, this phrase is crap. But what if it was worse than crap? What if words could do worse than just break bones? What if words could be weapons of genocide? In a post 9/11 surveillance state, that is what intelligence agent Clavis Shepherd has been assigned to find out when he is sent after John Paul; the Lord of Genocide.

I dunno what it is about these Japanese imported novels but again, this book is freaking depressing and unflinchingly cerebral. You start with the brains of children scattered in the dirt then long discussions on the nature of God, Hell, language, and what it means to be free in a world where your every step, every purchase, every interaction is monitored and stored in a database somewhere. You can’t even order a pizza without having your fingerprints taken.

I had trouble with this book in some places. Even a literary nerd like me who is fascinated to hear discussions about the nature of language, how it evolves, and how it affects people hadda reach for a dictionary or re-read a paragraph because I didn’t get what the characters were talking about. It wasn’t boring but when the villain has the hero tied up at his mercy, you don’t really expect them to get into a linguistic debate. It reminded me a great deal of Ghost in the Shell (and to a lesser extent Ghost in the Shell 2 which I could rant about forEVER but I won’t) where the action is fast paced when it’s happening but the meat of the matter is in what the characters experience and how they are processed. As the audience, you take the tour of not only the drama of the chase but a massive shift in the way the characters think.

The translation is solid. Edwin Hawkes did a great job of keeping the flow of the text. I was able to read fluidly so if you chose to pick up this book (which I highly suggest) you won’t have a problem with the word flow. Heck, like me? You may wonder if what you're reading is changing your brain, too.