Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli movies. I first saw the movie on video and again recently during a Studio Ghibli series by the local independent movie theater. So when my Kindle showed an advertisement to buy this book for $1.99, I jumped at the chance.

In the first quarter, I could tell a few differences. For instance, in the movie Sophie meets Howl when soldiers harass her. In the book Howl is the one doing the harassing. And the differences grow bigger from there. Enough I would consider them different stories.

If you have only watched the movie, then I recommend reading the book. This story is the interesting of the two. Here Howl is a womanizer. Sophie’s development over the course of the story seemed stronger. Michael, the apprentice, actually has a real point to the story. I kind of wish the book version was the movie made.

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Algorithmic Random

Mac Keyboard
Mac Keyboard

If you are out on the Internet or around academics long enough, then you will run across the rant about random designed by humans not being really random. It might be the iTunes shuffle. It might be random sampling of an experiment. It might be a complaint of you using the word for how you spend your time online.

OK. I took that last one a bit too personal.

If a human is performing the random, then there probably is a pattern. But then in nature, things we call random typically have a pattern too. DNA mutations involve changed molecules at a position and chance that it has no bearing, disables the bearer, or gives the bearer an advantage. The lack of true randomness is a sign of intelligent design to some. And a sign that it is natural to others. Quantum mechanics. Encryption. Stock trading. Prediction. Truly random is unnatural. Well… It just means we have not yet figured out the pattern. Give us time.

Since random is the wrong word, how about algorithmic random or a-random for short. It just means a pattern-based approximation of random that is good enough for the purpose of acting random.