Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Banzai charges don't work

Wherein another Neal Stephenson quote

So I see that Moe Lane (why, is there grass there?) writes (and links to Cryptonomicon): *Or a Banzai charge, of course: but as Neal Stephenson once noted, the interesting thing about Banzai charges is that THEY DON’T WORK.
If by "once noted" he means Stephenson wrote a book that contained a character that said banzai charges don't work, then yes.
"For us, living or dying is not the important thing," Goto Dengo says.
"Hey! Tell me something I didn't fucking already know!" Shaftoe says. Even winning battles isn't important to you. Is it?"
Goto Dengo looks the other way, shamefaced.
"Haven't you guys figured out yet that banzai charges DON'T FUCKING WORK?"
"All of the people who learned that were killed in banzai charges," Goto Dengo says.
As if on cue, the Nips in the left field dugout begin screaming "Banzai!" and charge, as one, out onto the field. Shaftoe puts his eye up to a bullet hole in the wall and watches them stumbling across the infield with fixed bayonets. Their leader clambers up the pitcher's mound as if he's going to plant a flag there, and takes a slug in the middle of his face. His men are being dismantled all around him by thoughtfully placed rifle slugs from the Huks' dugout. Urban warfare is not the metier of the Hukbalahaps, but calmly slaughtering banzai-charging Nipponese is old hat. One of the Nips actually manages to crawl all the way to the first base coach's box. Then a few pounds of meat come flying out of his back and he relaxes.
Shaftoe turns to see that Goto Dengo is aiming a revolver at him. He chooses to ignore this for a moment. "See what I mean?"
"I have seen it many times before."
"Then why aren't you dead?" Shaftoe asks the question with all due flippancy, but it has a terrible effect on Goto Dengo. His face scrunches up and he begins to cry. "Aw, shit. You pull a gun on me and start bawling at the same time? How unfair can you get? Why don't you kick some fucking dirt in my eyes while you're at it?"


Blogger XWL said...

I'm thinking it's about time for my biennial re-reading of that book.

Also, Stephenson and one of the bigger game publishers might want to think about developing a Shaftoe-centric Uncharted/Metal Gear Solid/Assassins Creed style game.

Maybe focus on a 19th century Shaftoe that hasn't previously been explored.

3/12/2010 06:51:00 PM  

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