Author: Koji Suzuki.
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, horror.
Publication Date: 1995 (2005 in English).
Summary: Dr. Ando, who has yet to recover from his son's death at sea, conducts an autopsy on an old friend who has died under unusual circumstances. The corpse, that of cynical philosophy professor Ryuji Takayama, has something to tell him. And Ryuji isn't the only one who chooses to make a reappearance. You don't know what the RING is yet. The terms of the curse of the videotape undergo a jaw-dropping reconfiguration.
My rating: 8/10
♥ Ando spent his days cutting corpses open, so he knew perfectly well what he'd find inside his chest. His fist-size heart sat cradled between his two pink lungs and was beating firmly. If he concentrated, he could almost hear it. But that persistent pain in his chest - where in his innards did sorrow lodge? Was it in the heart? He wanted, with his bare hands, to scoop out the clump of remorse.
♥ The only comfort Ando had been afforded during the gut-wrenching days after his son died and his wife left him had come from a present Miyashita had given him. Miyashita hadn't told him to "cheer up" or anything meaningless of that sort; instead he'd given Ando a novel, saying, "Read this." It was the first Ando had heard of his friend's interest in literature; he also discovered for the first time that books could genuinely give strength.
♥ They'd send her long apologetic letters which only rubbed salt in her wounds, or they'd call and the first thing out of their mouths would be, "Listen, I'm really sorry about what happened last time." She didn't want them to apologize. She wanted them to learn and grow from the experience. She wanted to see a man turn embarrassment into energy and engage in a genuine struggle toward maturity. If the man did that, she'd resume the friendship any time. But she could never remain friends with a guy whose psyche remained forever, and unabashedly, that of a child who refused to grow up.
♥ Myyashita always had a joke ready, no matter how melancholy Ando's expression. Miyashita knew how to find something to laugh about in misfortune no matter whose. The only times Ando could forget his sadness was when he was with Miyashita. By now, Ando could put his finger on what it was that set Miyashita apart from his other friends: while everyone else came to him to cheer him up, Miyashita had come to actually have fun. There was no more meaningless phrase in all of language than "Cheer up!" The only way to get someone to cheer up was to help them forget, and saying "cheer up" had quite the opposite effect, only reminding the person why he or she was depressed in the first place.
♥ People only believe what they can understand.
♥ What he couldn't understand was how this virus he was looking at now could have been created via the victim's consciousness. This virus didn't invade the body from outside. Rather, it was born within the body as a result of watching a videotape; it was a function of the mind. That went beyond mysterious and Ando was dumbfounded. It represented a leap from nothingness to being, from concept to matter. In all earth's history such a thing happened only once, when life first came to be.
Does it mean, then, that life emerged due to the workings of some consciousness?
♥ "Do you know why living things evolve?"
Ando shook his head. He doubted there was anyone who could answer that question with perfect confidence.
But Ryuji's voice had that confidence as he continued. "Take the eye. I know I don't have to explain this an anatomist like yourself, Dr. Ando, but the human eye is an amazingly complex mechanism. It's next to impossible to imagine that a piece of skin evolved into a cornea, a pupil, and eyeball, an optical nerve connecting it to the brain, all in such a way to make it actually see. It's hard to believe it all happened by chance. It wasn't that we started to look at things because there was now a mechanism by which to see them. there first had to be a will to see, buried somewhere inside living things. Without it, the mechanism would never have taken shape. It wasn't chance that led sea creatures to first crawl onto the land, or reptiles to learn how to fly. they had the will to do so. Now, try and say this and most experts will just laugh. They'll call it mystical teleology, an execrable excuse for philosophy.
"Can you imagine what the world is like for a creature that can't see? To the worms crawling around in the earth, the world is only what touches their bodies where in the darkness. For starfish or sea anemones waving around on the ocean floor, the whole world is the texture of the rock they're stuck to and the feel of the water as it flows by. Do you think such a creature can even conceptualize seeing? It beggars the imagination. It's one of those things you can't contemplate, like the edge of the universe. But somehow, at a certain point in its evolution, life on earth acquired the concept of 'seeing.' We crawled up onto the land, we flew into the skies, and in the end we grasped culture. A chimp can comprehend a banana. But it'll never be able to comprehend the concept of culture. It can't comprehend it, but somehow it gets the will to obtain it. Where that impulse comes from, I have no idea."
♥ "Does any species desire its own extinction?"
"Subconsciously, isn't that what humanity desired? If all DNA were united into one pattern, there would be no more individual difference. Everyone would be the same, with no distinctions in ability, or beauty. There'd be no more attachment to loved ones. And forget about war, there wouldn't even be any more arguments. We're talking a world of absolute peace and equality that transcends even life and death. Death would no longer be something to fear, you see. Now, be honest, isn't that what you humans wanted all along?"
♥ He could feel his son's heartbeat. That rhythm was the only sure thing in a world facing destruction. It proved they were alive.