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Celebrate Maundy Thursday* with GITS

Jeez. Give away the whole plot, why don’t you?

…Moving on. Thursday night at 7:30, I’ll be introducing Ghost in the Shell at the Projection Booth, as part of the Monsters and Martians Film Fest. The festival is sponsored by AE Sci Fi, and other hosts include Rob Sawyer and my own David Nickle (who will be discussing The Manchurian Candidate). You can find the Projection Booth at 1035 Gerrard Street East. The Projection Booth is pursuing legal action against Jonathan Hblika, who is trying to call it “Big Picture Cinema.” The sign will say “Projection Booth.” Most of the press for the event says “Big Picture Cinema.” Resolve that how you will.

I’ve re-watched GITS in preparation for the event, and I’ve also dug up a chapter of my first Master’s thesis and re-read some articles of anime scholarship related to the film. A lot of work is published on GITS; it really sparked a fire among academics with film theory training who were tired of talking about final girls and male gazes. (Though to be honest, both of those elements are pretty prominent in the film.) This weekend was spent flipping open books I hadn’t cracked in years, and it was really fun. Once upon a time, I thought I was going to have a career doing this, and while I’m happy with how my life has turned out, I do occasionally yearn for an excuse to buy new clothes and stationery every September. Academia was how I found value for a long time, and in a lot of ways it still defines me. Last week I did a reading and improptu critique for students of the Digital Futures Initiative at OCADU, and it felt really good to be in an academic environment again. I have a tendency to lecture — I’ve had men say, “You’re lecturing,” whenever I happened to be discussing something I knew more about — and it was nice to scratch that itch. You won’t have to worry about that on Thursday, though. I have a presentation prepared, so I can’t ramble on. There are pictures and everything. I’m only supposed to go for twenty minutes, and I’ve timed out my frames to match that schedule.

In any case, GITS is a film that’s close to my heart for a lot of reasons. I first watched it in high school, in between copious makeout sessions with my then-boyfriend. (He later tried to claim responsibility for my being an anime nerd, as though he could take full custody of our joint hobbies.) I re-watched it fairly regularly after that, but I really fell hardest for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the tv anime series. I mean, how could I not?

There’s a lot of both in my books. I can safely say that having completed the second one. In fact, you can trace pretty similar plots through both; both vN and GITS feature a woman finding her identity through a merger with another, greater being, and both iD and Innocence feature a man yearning for connection and realizing his old way of doing things doesn’t work, any more. (Innocence is pretty special to me, too — I first saw it at the Seattle International Film Festival after waiting in a rush line with my best friend. It took my breath away, and I was so happy to have seen it on a big screen.) I hadn’t realized how deep the influence ran until I prepared this presentation, which is why I’m excited to watch the first film big, in person, with popcorn.

*Did you know that the Thursday before Easter is also called “Thursday of Mysteries”? I didn’t. I wish more days could be days of mysteries.


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  1. April

     /  April 9, 2013

    We need more days of mystery. Arbitrarily, I declare next Wednesday a day of mystery. Why? Nobody knows!

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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