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Archive for February, 2011

Mardock is everywhere!

A couple of pics of Mardock Scramble for ya!

Turn your monitor on its side for this one by translator Edwin Hawkes himself:


Right next to Jack Vance, in his local Waterstones over in the United Kingdom!


And here it is in Kinokuniya in Tokyo, in the foreign-language section. Note the yellow-covered Japanese title—it’s a magazine, actually, containing a list of ten must-read mysteries, many of which are also on the display. Also interesting is the call-outs for Orange Prize winning books. (The Orange Prize is awarded to women’s writing.)

Finally, here’s a neat review of Mardock Scramble, which reads, in part, Oefcoque comes across as a mixture of Stuart Little and T-1000 from Terminator 2…and if that wasn’t weird enough, the names of many of the characters are based on wordplays or references to certain recurring themes. Such as eggs.

PS: We had a couple of votes for a Facebook page for Haikasoru. If this interests you leave me a comment. If the demand is high enough, I’ll be sure to make one for you all.

Hard SF, now WITH girl cooties!

Here at Haikasoru HQ it looks like Valentine’s Day will never end, as love is in the air and this week we’re featured on Romantic Times Book Reviews. Not only is there a little interview with yours truly, there are two great reviews:

Rocket Girls

got four stars Nojiri himself appears to be nearly as forceful a proponent of space flight as the SSA; he has tried to play fair with the limits imposed by real world science without ever losing sight of his comedic goals.

Then The Next Continent

got a stunning four-and-a-half stars: The Next Continent, translated by Jim Hubbert, is a welcome holiday from the relentlessly pessimistic and bitter tone of North America SF. What could be a tedious exercise in engineering porn is humanized focus by its principle characters: Junior Engineer Aomine, who finds himself drafted into a central role in this grand undertaking, and Tae, the determined young woman whose vision frames and defines the Sixth Continent Project.

These reviews are especially gratifying coming from a venue primarily interested in the romance genre. For a long time, a retrograde fear of what author Debra Doyle calls girl cooties has infected the world of science fiction, and hard SF—science fiction that uses and privileges real science—was the worst of all: “Hard sf” is their science fiction of choice, because it has the fewest girl cooties of any of the sf subgenres. No subjectivity, no mushy bits, none of that messy relationship stuff getting in the way of the classic sf values of hardness and rigor (and no, I don’t think the elevation of those particular values is coincidental.), Doyle writes.

Romance, of course, is wall-to-wall girl cooties. Perhaps not surprisingly, the feeling was often mutual—hard SF was seen as the precinct of uber-nerds and nobody interested in human relationships would want to ever want to read any. Sometimes this fear of girl cooties even enters into the world of real speculative science, as biologist Athena Andreadis points out with her essay (with a not-safe-for-work drawing) on 2009′s Singularity Summit. (The Singularity being a concept beloved of hard SF fans and, increasingly, policymakers and scientists.)

But in Japan, at least as far as SF literature is concerned, girl cooties and hard SF mix just fine. Why, one might say that the units of “girlishness” in books like The Next Continent and Rocket Girls aren’t an infection at all, but actually an organic part of the human condition. Science is for everyone, after all, as it increases our understanding of the universe in which we live, and as it can potentially be used to improve all our lives. Indeed, if we want science to improve our lives rather than destroy them, we’d all better have an interest in the field and its implications for policy, health, and the environment. That’s why hard SF needs to be written for a wide variety of readers, not just for the nerdcore hardcore of those men who are afraid of “girl cooties.” Publishing hard SF titles that can be reviewed and championed by Romantic Times is one reason why I love my job.

Mardock Scramble is now on Kindle!

Ah, here we go. Enjoy reading Mardock Scramble on your Kindle or Kindle-ready device. Tell your friends!

It’s a Very Mardock (if Belated!) Valentine

Darn, I was hoping to have this ready for you all yesterday for Valentine’s Day, but it didn’t happen. (Would you believe a long line at the flower shop?) But today, here’s a present for all you iPad, Phone, iBook people out there:

Behold, Useful Monsters: Mardock Scramble 104 a novelette* in the world of Mardock Scramble, for you, for free! It’s a prequel, very exciting, and also offers a glimpse into the dark future of libertarianism gone mad and vending machine property rights. Do check it out! Of course, Mardock Scramble itself is now also available in the iBookstore! Much lighter than the 800-page print version!

Just a quick note since we’re asked this all the time: Mardock Scramble will also be on Kindle, perhaps as early as this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow. (Would you believe a long line at the flower shop?) The second it goes live I’ll tweet it. And also, we would have loved to offer Useful Monsters for free to Kindle readers as well, but Kindle doesn’t currently allow for free distribution of new titles. We do, however, have a second Mardock Scramble novelette coming right to the World Wide Web in a few weeks! It’ll be a free-for-all that’s truly free for all! So keep an eye out!

*What’s a novelette? It’s a long short story, or a short novella. You know, in the 9-13,000 word range.


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