What’s the worst that can be done to a philosophy book about The Matrix? Answer: Have it written by a pop-culture hack who clearly doesn’t understand the movie. Most reviews of this book are very good ones. This one is not.
This book should have been an essay at best, not over 200 pages of his imagined view of The Matrix. I agree with the writer that The Matrix is much more than a simple movie, but that’s where our agreement ends. Like a Trekker, the would be red-pills of this world, like me, will protect The Matrix's integrity and vision. Having it applied to other philosophies that are not part of its own universe will not pass. This would be like having the Enterprise show up in Battlestar Galactica. And it’s worth pointing out that this book contains very little philosophy and is more of a social critique seen through the lens of The Matrix storyline and then it is not that either.
The first chapter begins with just that, a critique of the blue-pills that inhabit The Matrix. But it’s critiquing everyday folk, not the players in the movies themselves. At the first read, I thought maybe this is more a sociology book from a geek’s point of view; this could be ok. That we are all in a matrix ourselves and this is what can be expected for your life if you never take the red pill.
But after a few chapters the reader quickly realizes that Jake Horsley is off his rocker. He quickly moves away from the movie’s philosophy and starts renaming the character’s archetypal roles. Blue-pills become humatons, Blue-pills who realize what’s going on become Matrix Warriors, Agents become Gatekeepers red-pills become Matrix Sorcerers and The One becomes a Lucid. He then starts talking about 1st and 2nd attentions, eschatons and stalking.
This is his entire ploy, to change the lens focus to another optic entirely, that of Castaneda and Phillip K. Dick. He’s an obvious fan of both as they keep coming to the surface of the discussion throughout his work. And he then goes on to discredit Baudrillard as being unimportant to the movie. That's despite the fact that the Wachowsky brothers had the major players in their movie read Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (along with Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World by Kevin Kelly and Introducing Evolutionary Psychology by Dylan Evans) and despite the fact that the book can been seen in the first scene of the movie, when Thomas opens the book to get diskettes for Choi and the luscious Dujour.