1.02.2011

Harmony

Satoshi Ito (Project Itoh) did what most of us writers want to do: he wrote a story that resonates and will exist within the science fiction canon. Harmony is a complex novel--a dystopic analysis of the nanny state in which life is so sacred that it's almost cheap.

The premise is well rendered: most of the world subscribes to a mental adaptation system controlled by the Admedistration. Everything, from nutrition to exercise to emotion and excitement, is regulated and watched by a network of agencies whose goal is to ensure harmony (read: homogeneity).

Itoh's tale surely shines in the first third. Tuan is a protagonist one can relate to. She's smart but flawed; sentimental but cold. The beauty of the story is that we are also drawn to our antagonist, Miach, whose recollections of previous cultures, and her love of history, are simply fantastic. These sections make the narrative work.

WatchMe is the software. Tuan and Miach are the unwilling pawns in its wake. This is a story that hits home on a lot of levels. What would life be like without subversion? How would it be if we were all aware of our situations, 100% of the time?

Ito passed away before he could appreciate the results of this novel. I think this is the rock, thrown into the pond, that leaves waves crashing on the shore. If you are into science fiction, you owe it yourself to read this book.

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