I hate the void that a good book leaves once you’re done with it. No matter how many times it happens to a reader, the reader always hates it. I discovered James Dashner when the Maze Runner was out in theatres. Originally the plan was going to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 with the girlfriends during the weekend. When the weekend arrived however, nobody wanted to see the movie anymore so we randomly opted for The Maze Runner. Randomly. Thank God for random choices. The movie left our entire group speechless (in a good way) and this is very difficult since everyone in our girly group of 5 have different tastes. Googling got me to know about the Maze Runner books. After finishing the Maze Runner series (which left me more speechless than before), the void threatened to appear again and that led to James’s Dashner’s Mortality Doctrine Series. I have just finished The Rule of Thoughts and must sadly wait till this fall for The Game of Lives. While reading, I noted that the Mortality Doctrine series share a lot of similarities with the Matrix series (because when the Matrix series came out guess who was a major fan?). A news clip I found later on revealed that James Dashner himself was a major fan of the Matrix series and admits that the series was indeed inspired by the Matrix. You can read about it at http://www.hypable.com/2013/07/30/james-dashner-interview-maze-runner-eye-of-minds/
Read on as to how the Mortality Doctrine series and the Matrix series share certain similarities:
1. Book trilogy vs. Movie trilogy
Based on the book trilogy by James Dashner, The Mortality Doctrine encompasses three novels: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts & The Game of Lives.
Based on the screenplay by the Wachowski Brothers, The Matrix series encompasses three feature films: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded & The Matrix Revolution.
2. Two guys and a girl
The Mortality Doctrine revolves around the central character Michael & his friends, Sarah & Bryson
The Matrix Trilogy revolves around the central character Neo and his two main allies, Trinity & Morpheus.
3. Series-ly in love
Within the trio, Michael and Sarah are shown to share feelings for each other in the Mortality Doctrine series.
Within the trio, Neo & Trinity are lovers in the Matrix series
4. “Hack” Job
Michael leads a dual life in the VirtNet (not the real word, because we later realize he is not a real boy but a Tangent/computer programme). His simulated version is a school going kid by day and a hacker by night.
Neo too leads a dual life in the Matrix. He is Thomas Anderson, the computer programmer by day and Neo the hacker by night.
5. The Chosen One
Michael is recruited (or rather forced) by Agent Weber, an employee of the VNS (VirtNet Security) who is tasked with finding Kaine, to take the help of his friends Bryson and Sarah to locate the whereabouts of Kaine. If he and his friends fail to do so, he is merely informed that they will suffer for it. While Agent Weber recruits other gamers for the same task, she seems to primarily rely on Michael. His role as the Chosen One becomes more apparent because of his Tangent status. After he completes the Mortality Doctrine implementation, his state as a computer intelligent human being continues to make him a worthy adversary of Kaine.
There was a prophecy made by the Oracle of The One who would rise and bring about an end to the war between humans and machines. Morpheus finds Neo believing him to be the “Chosen One”, but his powers of The One are jump-started when he is killed by Agent Smith, after which a kiss from Trinity, who reaffirms that he is The One, reawakens him in the Matrix. Because in order to be The One he had to believe he was The One.
6. Walking The Path
In the Mortality Doctrine series, Michael and his friends are tasked by Agent Weber to locate The Path or the way to the Hallowed Ravine, which they believed to be the base of Kaine’s operations. Later on, it is realized that the Hallowed Ravine was nothing more than a lure to get Michael to complete the Mortality Doctrine implementation process.
In the Matrix series, Neo is told that he has to walk the Path of the One. Morpheus and the Oracle can guide him in his journey but he is the one who has to essentially reach the end on his own. In following his path, The One is expected to bring about the end to the war between humans and machines.
7. VirtNet vs. The Matrix
Mostly used for gaming, the VirtNet also allows users to experience other fantasy worlds. It is highly addictive to the point that people spend more time on the VirtNet than in reality. So it’s basically people existing in a virtual world. To operate the VirtNet, you require coding/programming skills. Most of the really good gamers/users are skilled at hacking as well.
A war took place between humans and intelligent machines in the 21st century. Humans stopped the solar energy supply powering the machines. After defeating humans, the machines trapped them in a simulated world called the Matrix. The machines proceeded to harvest energy from their enslaved humans. Nothing that is in the Matrix is real. The minds of humans living in the Matrix are altered to make it seem real. To get out of the Matrix you have to be unplugged. Unplugged survivors in the Matrix live in Zion, the last remaining human city outside the Matrix.
8. Living in an unreal world
When Michael completes the Mortality Doctrine implementation process, he wakes up as a human being with artificial intelligence. Michael realizes that his former life was one of a Tangent (computer programme) living in the virtual gaming programme Lifeblood Deep. Lifeblood Deep was so realistic that Michael didn’t even realize that he wasn’t real.
When Neo gets unplugged he realizes that the world he was living in (which he assumed was real) was just an illusion created by the machines for his mind.
9. Getting plugged in
Designed to give humans a taste of the virtual world, the VirtNet involves gamers entering the Coffin (a machine that plugs you into the VirtNet) that takes them from the Wake (real world) to the Sleep (simulated reality). Your Core (device) helps your brain distinguish what is real and what isn’t real in the VirtNet.
Once a human is unplugged or freed from the Matrix, in order to re-enter the Matrix you need to be plugged in. This is done through plugging a data probe (huge wiry thing with a pointed end) into a headjack (tiny metal contraption with a hole big enough for the probe to enter) located at the back of the human’s skull. In the Matrix, once you reach a hardline and the transfer process is complete, you are unplugged and return to the real world.
10. Picking your brain
Since Michael and his friends use the VirtNet for gaming purposes they have stated the importance of the Core, the device that lets your mind know what’s real and what’s not. When Kaine starts taking out victims in the VirtNet, he first destroys their Cores and renders them brain dead. He does this so that he can replace human intelligence with artificial intelligence.
The mind plays an important role in the Matrix series because machines manipulate the minds of humans into believing that the Matrix is real. By being plugged into the system, humans are denied the freedom of choice. Even after being freed from the Matrix, if you revisit the system, the mind still plays an important role because if you die in the Matrix, you die in the real world. Because your mind makes your death real. Everything else that freed humans can do within the Matrix that seems to defy human capabilities also comes because their minds have been freed from the Matrix.
11. Kaine vs. Agent Smith
Everyone believes that Kaine, the main antagonist in the Mortality Doctrine series, is a superior gamer who is holding gamers hostage within the VirtNet. All his victims are found brain-dead in the real world. Later on we find out towards the end that Kaine is actually a superior Tangent (computer program created by the VNS) who is carrying out his operations so that he can combine human bodies with artificial intelligence, therefore setting all Tangents free by sending them from the VirtNet into the real world.
Since the Matrix is a simulated reality that was designed by machines to give them power, Agent Smith’s role as an Al Program was to keep order in the system and eliminate any threats to it. He is the main antagonist in the Matrix Trilogy.
12. What the bad boys do
Kaine wants to create a world run by Tangents. Michael is his first successful experiment, after which we see the takeover begin in The Rule of Thoughts.
Believed to be deleted by Neo in the first movie, later on we find out that Agent Smith manages to free himself from the system and becomes a computer virus. Since he’s a virus instead of jumping into human bodies, he can now copy himself onto them. He strives to bring about the end of both humans and machines. He wants to create a new world that is full of……well himself.
13. Death in the simulated reality equals death in reality
Although you don’t die in the VirtNet (you just wake up and start over), you can die if you rip out your Core (this tells your brain what is real and what is not real). In the beginning of the book Michael watches a girl Tanya rip out her Core and jump off a bridge to her death. There is also one part in the Hallowed Ravine where Michael is informed that if he dies from this point onwards, he will die in reality (while this is applicable to humans, we later find out that it wouldn’t have affected him had he died, since he was a Tangent)
If you die in the Matrix you die in reality because your mind perceives that what is happening to you is real and the body depends on what the mind tells it. People also die if they are unplugged before they reach a hardline (mostly shown as a phone in the Matrix). Once you’re plugged in, your consciousness leaves you and goes into the Matrix and the hardline transfers it back to you. If you interrupt the process the brain shuts down and the body shuts down thereafter.
14. Hallowed Ravine & Exit Path vs. Blue Pill & Red Pill
When Michael reaches the Hallowed Ravine, he comes across two signs saying “Hallowed Ravine” and “Exit Path”. These two choices are presented because from this point onwards if he dies within the Sleep, he dies in the Wake as well. He can either go into the Hallowed Ravine and find Kaine, facing the possibility of death along the way or Exit Path and wake up alive and safe at home. This moment is pivotal because his choice is vital in determining the chain of events that follow. He chooses to enter the Hallowed Ravine.
Michael’s choice is similar to the one that Neo faces when Morpheus presents him with the Blue and Red Pill. If he takes the Red Pill he stays with Morpheus who will tell him what the Matrix is but if he takes the Blue Pill he will wake up at home and never know the answer to his question. This moment is pivotal because his choice puts him on the path of being The One.
15. KillSims vs. Sentinels
If I were asked to describe what KillSims looked like, I would describe them as hell-hounds of the digital world. Something like this.
They are described as taking the shapes of shadowy wolves with yellow eyes that resembled pinpricks of fire. They were designed by Kaine to help him in implementing the Mortality Doctrine programme. Essentially they destroy the Aura of the human being inside the programme and shut down his mind, making the human body ready to receive artificial intelligence. KillSims receive their orders from Kaine.
Resembling a giant digital squid, Sentinels are designed in the Machine City as killing machines programmed for only one thing-Search & Destroy. They patrol ancient sewers and passageways of dead human cities in search of Zion hovercrafts or signs of human life. Sentinels receive their orders from Agents or higher-up orders from within the Source.
Michael experiences the death of his digital self at the end of The Eye of Minds and is reborn as a human with artificial intelligence.
Neo experiences death at the end of The Matrix and is re-born as The One.
If after reading this article, you are silently asking yourself “Is this chick for real?” then ask yourself “What is real? How do you define ‘real’. If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain”
And for those of you thinking “She needs to get a life”………….
…….Well I can’t! I’m already in too Deep!
Michel, Bryson & Sarah
Neo, Morpheus & Trinity
Michael & Sarah
Neo & Trinity
Michael is chosen
Neo is chosen
Michael walking the path
Knowing the path and walking the path
Michael plugged in
Neo plugged in
Free your mind-Michael
Free your mind Neo
What Kaine does
What Agent Smith does
Die in the matrix
Red pill and blue pill scene
Neo dies and is reborn
Keanu Reeves Whoa face
James Dashner funny