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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Suzuki Koji

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To purchase Loop

Title: Loop
Author: Suzuki Koji
Genre: Novel
Written: 1998 (Eng. 2006)
Length: 288 pages
Original in: Japanese
Availability: Loop - US
Loop - UK
Loop - Canada
Loop - Deutschland
  • Translated by Glynne Walley
  • Loop is the third and final volume in the Ring-trilogy, which also includes Ring and Spiral

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Our Assessment:

B- : interesting ideas, plodding presentation

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Loop is the final volume in the Ring-trilogy. It begins early in the 21st century, when Kaoru Futami is ten years old, a curious youngster who is part of a happy family.
       Jumping quickly ahead another decade, things have not turned out so well: Kaoru's father, Hideyuki, has been infected with the Metastatic Human Cancer (MHC) virus, a nasty, virulent virus that causes cancer and appears unstoppable and untreatable. Hideyuki has been through a number of operations, but the cancer moves inexorably forward. Kaoru, having watched how his father has suffered from this mysterious disease, has now become a medical student.
       At the hospital where his father is being treated Kaoru meets the mother of a young patient and begins a torrid affair with her -- at some risk to himself, as well, since the MHC virus spreads through human contact (and, it turns out, also infects animals and plants).
       Years earlier Hideyuki had devoted his life to a research project: the Loop project, a computer simulation of the emergence of life. It had gone stunningly well for a while, enormous computing power generating fabulous results -- but then the plug seems to have been pulled. But Kaoru learns that there are some connexions between the project and the MHC virus (for one, nearly all his father's colleagues on the project died) -- and even between the artificial life generated in the Loop and what we perceive as real life .....
       Among the discoveries he eventually makes as part of the Loop is of the presence of the Ring-virus -- the video-tape which, if you watch it and don't take specific steps, dooms you to death exactly one week later.
       Kaoru has to get to the bottom of all this, and travels to America, where the Loop turns out to be more accessible -- though his travels lead him far beyond what he might have originally expected.
       Suzuki has a pretty ingenious idea, and Kaoru's ties to the Loop are fairly well-handled, making for some suspenseful bits on his origins (and his fate) and his attempts at saving the world and his loved ones. Unfortunately, much of the novel is padded with parts that aren't nearly as gripping and even detract from the bigger ideas at play here. The often clinical human touch doesn't work to good effect for much of the novel, perhaps all the more noticeably so because there's an exciting premise that the reader would likely much rather read more about.
       Suzuki plays with some big ideas here, and while not everything about the virus(es) and the Loop project are scientifically convincing it's intriguing enough to hold ones interest. Too bad much of the fiction around it isn't nearly as appealing.

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Loop: Reviews: Other books by Suzuki Koji under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Japanese author Suzuki Koji (鈴木光司) is apparently an authority on childrearing. He was born in 1957.

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