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ALL YOU NEED IS KILL Buy Now!

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL
HIROSHI SAKURAZAKA

THE LORD OF THE SANDS OF TIME Buy Now!

THE LORD OF THE SANDS OF TIME
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ZOO Buy Now!

ZOO
OTSUICHI

USURPER OF THE SUN Buy Now!

USURPER OF THE SUN
HOUSUKE NOJIRI

BATTLE ROYALE: THE NOVEL Buy Now!

BATTLE ROYALE: THE NOVEL
KOUSHUN TAKAMI

BRAVE STORY Buy Now!

BRAVE STORY
MIYUKI MIYABE

THE BOOK OF HEROES Buy Now!

THE BOOK OF HEROES
MIYUKI MIYABE

YUKIKAZE Buy Now!

YUKIKAZE
CHŌHEI KAMBAYASHI

LOUPS-GAROUS Buy Now!

LOUPS-GAROUS
NATSUHIKO KYOGOKU

SLUM ONLINE Buy Now!

SLUM ONLINE
HIROSHI SAKURAZAKA

THE NEXT CONTINENT Buy Now!

THE NEXT CONTINENT
ISSUI OGAWA

THE STORIES OF IBIS Buy Now!

THE STORIES OF IBIS
HIROSHI YAMAMOTO

HARMONY Buy Now!

HARMONY
PROJECT ITOH

ROCKET GIRLS Buy Now!

ROCKET GIRLS
HOUSUKE NOJIRI

THE OUROBOROS WAVE Buy Now!

THE OUROBOROS WAVE
JYOUJI HAYASHI

SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE Buy Now!

SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE
OTSUICHI

DRAGON SWORD AND WIND CHILD Buy Now!

DRAGON SWORD AND WIND CHILD
NORIKO OGIWARA

MARDOCK SCRAMBLE Buy Now!

MARDOCK SCRAMBLE
TOW UBUKATA

ROCKET GIRLS: THE LAST PLANET Buy Now!

ROCKET GIRLS: THE LAST PLANET
HOUSUKE NOJIRI

MIRROR SWORD AND SHADOW PRINCE Buy Now!

MIRROR SWORD AND SHADOW PRINCE
NORIKO OGIWARA

GOOD LUCK YUKIKAZE Buy Now!

GOOD LUCK YUKIKAZE
CHŌHEI KAMBAYASHI

ICO: CASTLE IN THE MIST Buy Now!

ICO: CASTLE IN THE MIST
MIYUKI MIYABE

THE CAGE OF ZEUS Buy Now!

THE CAGE OF ZEUS
SAYURI UEDA

TEN BILLION DAYS AND ONE HUNDRED BILLION NIGHTS Buy Now!

TEN BILLION DAYS AND ONE HUNDRED BILLION NIGHTS
RYU MITSUSE

MM9 Buy Now!

MM9
HIROSHI YAMAMOTO

THE NAVIDAD INCIDENT: THE DOWNFALL OF MATÍAS GUILI Buy Now!

THE NAVIDAD INCIDENT: THE DOWNFALL OF MATÍAS GUILI
NATSUKI IKEZAWA

THE FUTURE IS JAPANESE Buy Now!

THE FUTURE IS JAPANESE
HAIKASORU

METAL GEAR SOLID: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS Buy Now!

METAL GEAR SOLID: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS
PROJECT ITOH

GENOCIDAL ORGAN Buy Now!

GENOCIDAL ORGAN
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Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? Buy Now!

BELKA, WHY DON'T YOU BARK?
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VIRUS Buy Now!

VIRUS
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SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE Buy Now!

SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE
TOH ENJOE

Noble V: Greylancer Buy Now!

NOBLE V: GREYLANCER
HIDEYUKI KIKUCHI

THE MELANCHOLY OF MECHAGIRL Buy Now!

THE MELANCHOLY OF MECHAGIRL
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Apparitions Buy Now!

APPARITIONS
MIYUKI MIYABE

The Battle Royale Slam Book Buy Now!

THE BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK
HAIKASORU

BATTLE ROYALE REMASTERED Buy Now!

BATTLE ROYALE REMASTERED
KOUSHUN TAKAMI

Edge Of Tomorrow Buy Now!

EDGE OF TOMORROW
HIROSHI SAKURAZAKA

All You Need Is Kill Graphic Novel Buy Now!

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL GRAPHIC NOVEL
HIROSHI SAKURAZAKA
NICK MAMATAS
LEE FERGUSON

Phantasm Japan Buy Now!

PHANTASM JAPAN
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Asura Girl Buy Now!

ASURA GIRL
OTARO MAIJO

Dendera Buy Now!

DENDERA
YUYA SATO

Red Girls Buy Now!

RED GIRLS
KAZUKI SAKURABA

Gene Mapper Buy Now!

GENE MAPPER
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GOTH Buy Now!

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OTSUICHI

HANZAI JAPAN Buy Now!

HANZAI JAPAN
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Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 1: Dawn Buy Now!

LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES, VOLUME 1: DAWN
YOSHIKI TANAKA

Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 2: Ambition Buy Now!

LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES, VOLUME 2: AMBITION
YOSHIKI TANAKA

The Gate of Sorrows Buy Now!

THE GATE OF SORROWS
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Saiensu Fikushon 2016 Buy Now!

SAIENSU FIKUSHON 2016
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Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 3: Endurance Buy Now!

LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES, VOLUME 3: ENDURANCE
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Orbital Cloud Buy Now!

ORBITAL CLOUD
TAIYO FUJII

Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 4: Stratagem Preorder Now!

LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES, VOLUME 4: STRATAGEM
YOSHIKI TANAKA

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Excerpt of LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES v4: STRATAGEM

Until nearly two years ago, Heidrich Lang had held an important bureaucratic position. As chief of the Bureau for the Maintenance of Public Order, his duties had involved rounding up political offenders and thought criminals, monitoring or suppressing free speech activities, and even dabbling in education and the arts. He was a fulcrum of authoritarianism within the imperial government, and as such exploited the full range of his power and influence. He stood to one day become secretary of the interior.

Lang had not been put to death as a member of the old regime by von Lohengramm’s new order. There were two reasons for this: First, as chief of secret police he’d excelled at intelligence gathering and had amassed much in the way of valuable information on the nobles. Second, as a business specialist he possessed an awareness and loyalty all his own, and had expressed his intention to follow the new ruler after the former high nobles—whom Mittermeier maliciously dubbed the “shepherds”—fell. Lang saw no reason to despair over Reinhard’s abolishment of the bureau, and he believed in himself enough to wait patiently for the day when the sun would again dispel the darkness.

His patience had paid off sooner than he’d expected. The military police, whose self-imposed disgruntlement was an apparent obligation of their work, were ordered by Senior Admiral von Oberstein’s office to release him from house arrest.

Fortunately for Lang, von Oberstein’s thorough investigation turned up no evidence to suggest he’d abused his authority in any way for personal gain. He was, among the higher-ups of the old regime, uniquely flawless in his personal conduct and was treated like a darling of the nobility despite disliking their company. He put all his diligence into his duties and was, not without reason, known as the “Hunting Dog.”

Just looking at him, von Oberstein wanted to laugh—not that he would have said as much to his face. Lang’s outward appearance was incongruous with his talents and achievements. Although he wasn’t yet past forty, 80 percent of his brown hair had vanished. What little was left clung for dear life around his ears. His ashen eyes were big and restless. His lips were thick and red, although his mouth was small. His head was relatively big for someone of his short stature. His entire body was more than plump, and the skin covering it pink and glossy. In short, Heidrich Lang gave the visual impression of a healthy baby full of mother’s milk, and guessing his professional duties by his appearance alone wouldn’t have been easy for anyone with an active imagination. As chief of secret police, he stood out for not having a more coolheaded, grizzled exterior.

But it was his voice that showed just how unique he was. The average person would have thought such a man to have the high-pitched voice of a child. What came out of Lang’s mouth was instead a solemn bass, like that of some ancient religious leader preaching the gospel to his believers. Those who stood ready to stifle their laughter were bowled over. Taking advantage of this contradiction caught his opponents off guard, and his bass had served him well as a weapon of interrogation.

But the man before him now, whose artificial eyes stared at him inorganically by way of a light computer, would decide whether Lang deserved consideration and then report back to the imperial prime minister, Duke von Lohengramm.

“Your Excellency Chief of Staff, you can spin it however you want, but government has only one reality.”

Lang spoke emphatically, and von Oberstein had already been evaluating Lang’s speech from word one.

“Oh, and what might that be?”

“Control of the many by the few.”

Lang’s voice was so much like that of a solitary man appealing to God that one almost expected a pipe organ to accompany him. Then again, holding full life-or-death authority as he did over Lang, von Oberstein was like God in that no matter how sincerely one spoke to him, it was never enough.

“We insist on democracy being rule of the many by free will, but I’d like to know your thoughts on that point.”

“If the people number one hundred, fifty-one of them can claim majority rule. And when that majority is divided into so many factions, it only takes twenty-six of those to rule over that same hundred. In other words, it’s possible for a mere fourth to rule the many. A conventional and reductionist view, I admit, but one that shows just how useless majority rule is as a democratic principle. I know a man of Your Excellency’s intelligence will understand.”

Von Oberstein ignored the knee-jerk flattery. Like his master, Reinhard, he couldn’t help but notice that those who brownnosed him were always the ones who despised him. Ignoring that he was being ignored, Lang went on.

“Since the reality of government is control of the many by the few, I’m sure you’ll agree that people like me are indispensable for keeping things in line.”

“You mean the secret police?”

“Someone to maintain a system of public order.”

It was a subtle turn of phrase, but von Oberstein again disregarded the man’s modest self-assertion.

“The secret police may be convenient for those in power, but their very existence becomes a target of hatred. Although the Bureau for the Maintenance of Public Order was only recently dismantled, there are many who would punish you for overseeing it. People like that reformist Karl Bracke.”

“Mr. Bracke has his own ideas, but all I’ve ever done is devote myself to the dynasty, never once exercising the limits of my authority for personal gain. Should you take my loyalty as cause for punishment, it won’t turn out well for Duke von Lohengramm.”

From beneath the clothes of this goodly intentioned advice, a holster of threat was beginning to peek out. If he was being accused not only for past misdeeds but also for his tenure at the bureau, then did he have something else in mind?

“It would seem Duke von Lohengramm doesn’t care much for your existence, either.”

“Duke von Lohengramm is first and foremost a soldier. It’s only natural he’d try to subjugate the universe through grand battles. But sometimes the smallest false rumor may outrival a fleet of ten thousand ships, and defense becomes the best form of attack. I would expect nothing less than the utmost discernment and forbearance from both Duke von Lohengramm and Your Excellency.”

 

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The ORBITAL CLOUD giveaway contest winners!

Thanks to all who entered. We asked you what your favorite hard SF story was, and you…had some. Here are our four winners of Orbital Cloud by Taiyo Fujii!

 

First is Mike D. for his deep cut answer Hayford Peirce’s novelette “High Yield Bond” (1975). Just the reference deserves a book!

Jmitsu wrote a sonnet about Biogenesis by Tatsuaki Ishiguro. A good one!

We’ve often said that if you liked The Martian, you’ll love the positive science fiction of Taiyo Fujii, and now Pilar will prove it for us.

Finally, Jeremiah Tolbert wins for his mention of black holes, the most mind-bending and space-bending bit of hard SF furniture (and our astounding universe.)

 

Congratulations to all the winners!

 

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It’s the ORBITAL CLOUD Giveaway contest!

We haven’t done one of these in a while, but it is that time once again—we’re giving away four copies of Taiyo Fujii’s latest book, Orbital Cloud!

If you read Fujii’s previous novel, Gene Mapper, you already know what Fujii is all about: near-future settings, hard science fiction, a positive outlook on humanity, and intriguing thriller plots. Orbital Cloud is all that and more:
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In the year 2020, Kazumi Kimura, proprietor of shooting star forecast website Meteor News, notices some suspicious orbiting space debris. Rumors spread online that the debris is actually an orbital weapon targeting the International Space Station. Halfway across the world, at NORAD, Staff Sergeant Daryl Freeman begins his own investigation of the threat. At the same time, billionaire entrepreneur Ronnie Smark and his journalist daughter prepare to check in to an orbital hotel as part of a stunt promoting private space tourism. Then Kazumi receives highly sensitive, and potentially explosive, information from a genius Iranian scientist. And so begins an unprecedented international battle against space-based terror that will soon involve the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NORAD, and the CIA.

Check out a sample excerpt on The Verge and also in the ebook version of March’s Lightspeed Magazine.

Convinced you want a copy yet?

Yeeeeeah, you’re convinced! So here is our contest:

In a comment to this post, tell us about your favorite work of hard science fiction—that is, SF that mooooostly holds true to the laws of physics as they were known at the time of the story’s writing. You can write a little hundred-word essay, or poem (we like villanelles) or fannish rant or whatever you like. Friday afternoon, we’ll pick four winners. We ship anywhere, and you can submit in English, Japanese, Spanish, Greek, or German.

So let’s play!

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Excerpt from ORBITAL CLOUD

Three minutes later, SAFIR 3’s second stage disappeared beneath the eastern horizon, and the brief show came to an end.

 

Reviewing the video, Ozzy found that the light had flashed five times in total, including a couple of flashes he hadn’t noticed.
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Now things were getting interesting. What was the most sensational way to report his findings? A weapon, he decided—that would be the most suitable for X-Man, who was well known as a kook. NASA and the professional astronomers would be sure to ignore his outlandish claims, and the stuffy astronomy community was starting to catch on as well. “There he goes again with his crazy theories,” they’d say. Fine—let them talk. All Ozzy wanted was for people to look up at the sky. Geeple would run the story. Their geeky audience would love it.

 

“Nuclear weapons are old hat. Aliens and Area 51? Naw! But a killer satellite…?”

 

It couldn’t be some obscure idea that only specialists knew about. On the other hand, it didn’t have to be original either. Most of the failed start-ups from Ozzy’s time at the converted warehouse had been trying to come up with something new and original, but the key to Ronnie’s success had been founding something that actually was original but insisting on calling it a bank, one of the least original business models people could think of. Ozzy couldn’t just call it “a man-made object propelled by bursts of light,” obviously. That would go over like a lead balloon. He needed a name that would astound the gods themselves…

 

“That’s it! Rod from God!”

 

That B movie about a superweapon that rains giant tungsten warheads on Earth from orbit! Awful film, of course, rumored to have wasted half its budget on the lead actor. The critics hadn’t thought much of it, but any self-respecting geek would remember it.

 

Okay, so this object was a Rod from God. What was its target? Since the rocket was Iranian, probably Israel or the United States, but a Rod from God aimed at the Earth wasn’t very original. Better to twist the narrative and say it was headed for…the ISS. Now that would be out there. Best of all, the average reader would have no idea how unlikely it was.

 

“‘Rod from God attacks ISS!’ Perfect. I’ll need an illustration at some point too.”

 

Ozzy quickly sketched a cylinder with a few thrusters sticking out, then took a photograph with his cell phone and uploaded it to MegaHands, a job-matching site with a thousand-dollar reward for the best image. Freelance illustrators with Hollywood aspirations would be all over it.

 

He hadn’t been able to take a gigapixel photo, but stills captured from the video would be enough for Geeple. He’d put the original images and the radar observation data up on his blog, the Seychelles Eye. The professional-looking data would be enough in itself to make the story seem reliable. He accumulated more data every day than he knew what to do with—might as well make some use of it, even if only as decoration.

 

Oh, and one more thing—a complaint to Meteor News. They’d almost made him miss his chance to photograph SAFIR 3 accelerating.

 

“Fuckin’ shitty TLE data…”

 

 

 

 

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