Filled with scientific acuity and existential challenges in the tradition of Ghost in the Shell and Frankenstein, this medical fantasmagoria is a disorienting look into the consciousness and will have you questioning the future of human evolution. New life begins at the cellular level, but when that cell contains restless mitochondria, it will aspire to be much more than just a speck in a petri dish. Parasite Eve was the basis of the hugely popular video game of the same name and has been cinematized in Japan, where the novel’s smashing success helped set off a horror boom that has only been intensifying ever since.
When Dr. Nagashima loses his wife in a mysterious car crash, he is overwhelmed with grief but also an eerie sense of purpose; he becomes obsessed with the idea that he must reincarnate his dead wife. Her donated kidney is transplanted into a young girl with a debilitating disorder, but the doctor also feels compelled to keep a small sample of her liver in his laboratory. When these cells start mutating rapidly, a consciousness bent on determining its own fate awakens from an eonic sleep.
Parasite Eve was such a popular horror sci-fi book in Japan that it got translated into English, got transformed into a movie, manga and the most wildly know: the games.
I have not played the games, I’m too much of a pusseh to be able to play horror games or anything spooky that involves survival ._.
So I judged this book solely on it’s writing, or translation, and without much preconceptions. After all, I do know about the series, I’ve seen a Let’s Play by Cry (Cryaotic or ChaoticMonki) till the end, and it was after I read the book. Way after.
At first, I wasn’t very much into it. the writing style is clearly different from American and British authors, in style, substance and the way they go about it. I can’t properly explain it, but you feel it. Then, I fell in love with it. It has this simplicity and non-complication to its writing. It’s not trying to show how amazing the author is at writing and knowing an amazing vocabulary. Its subtle, yet surprisingly vivid.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, a whole bunch I must say, after that first phase of getting accustomed.
The book is heavy in technical jargon of, I assume, medicine and processes of cultivating bacteria and so on. To some it might be boring, to me it was very interesting and I never felt lost. I understood what was happening, and all the technicalities and the possibilities were surprising, made sense in-world, and more than anything, made me disgusted at Eve.
Eve is a blob of bacteria that starts getting shape, and she’s trying to annihilate the human species. After all, Mitochondria are the supreme being. They let us be what we are, we use their energy for everything. They are a parasite, but our ‘rule’ over them has come to an end. Or it will, if Eve goes along with her plan.
Alongside the Professor’s Toshiaki obsession with cultivating Kiyomi’s, his wife, liver cells propels the book, as it comes all intertwining with Mariko’s story.
Mariko basically doesn’t have kidneys and needs one, she rejected her father’s before (later you get to know why and I felt really sorry for this 13 yo girl that went through such traumatizing events) and now she receives Kiyomi’s kidney.
But poor Mariko keeps having dreams that the owner of the kidney is going to come with a schlop-schlop noise to get it back.
Eve, of course, has been orchestrating all the events of the book like a professional conductor, and the ending is horrifying and I wasn’t expecting it either.
It was both gruesome and touching, and definitely the mood of the whole book. The book has lots of disgusting moments, like male rape, and Eve forcing herself into a female’s body by sheer force.
I must say, I got pretty spooked so I had to do some research online just to check if this shit was even possible because I was all -nope- about it. Theories have been found that it can’t happen, thank heavens, but it goes to show just how versatile the story was told and engaged me, that I had these thoughts.
If you haven’t read it, you definitely should. I feel that Japan does a different type of horror and sci-fi, usually much more disturbing but in a good way. If you have read it, I wonder if you liked, or if I’m only hyping the book because I’m not too prone towards sci-fi~
Have you heard about this book before? Have you read it? If so, I’d love to know what you think of it!