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Archive for March, 2011

The Future is STILL Japanese

It’s been a hard weekend for us here, given our many connections to Japan. If you follow our Twitter feed, you’ll see that we used it over the last few days to stay in contact with our authors. We’re happy to say that all of our authors, and the translators who live in Japan, are fine. Tow Ubukata, author of Mardock Scramble, does live close to the most heavily damaged area, but his power is back on already and he and all his relatives are safe.

We’re pleased with all the support the people of Japan have been receiving from the US. In Sakyo Kamatsu’s classic SF novel Japan Sinks, the entire archipelago goes down thanks to massive earthquakes. The quake in the book was a metaphor for all the pressures of Japan in the early 1970s, and highlighted the belief that Japanese society would need to evolve in order to “keep afloat.” And Japanese society has evolved in the decades since. Just a few weeks ago, James Fallows refuted the myth of Japan’s stagnant economy, and Japan is more open than ever to international cooperation and cultural exchange. (We’re just a tiny example of that!) While the quake, of course, will have massive negative economic impact to accompany the human costs, the people are already working hard to halt the damage, stabilize the cities, and then rebuild.

And you can help. In addition to the Red Cros and Doctors Without Borders, the Japan Society is raising funds, and also lists several people-finder resources created by Japanese mobile phone service providers. We’ll have more information soon about the sort of help we hope to be able to provide with your assistance. We’re convinced that the future is still Japanese, and we’re looking forward to bringing you visions of the future for years to come.

No Contest

As you can imagine, we are all very concerned about the news coming from Japan today. We’ve seen some of our authors active on Twitter, but the nation is reeling, as are we. So I’ll push the final day of the contest back to next week—feel free to write up an entry.

For some English-language news from Japan, might I recommend: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

Space is the Place-A Giveaway Contest!

Finally, I found the box with the books. See?

That means it’s time for the Rocket Girls: The Last Planet giveaway contest. This time, to celebrate both the book and International Women’s Day—for we are nothing if not international around here—the essay will be on gender and space exploration! The first female in space, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, was also the first civilian in space. Now, of course, there have been a number of female astronauts, including Japan’s own Chiaki Mukai, a JAXA astronaut and surgeon who was part of two space shuttle missions.

So, what do you think of the future of space exploration, and specifically, the future of women in space. Good idea? Bad idea? Best left to private interests rather than governments? Anarchosyndicalist communes only? Are the challenges of space so immense that the differences between men and women pale in comparison to the harshness of the environment? Let us know, and the four entries I like best will receive copies of Rocket Girls: The Last Planet!

Be sure to get your comment in by noon, March 18th, Pacific time. (Extended from the 11th!) Also, if you comment and it doesn’t show up right away—don’t worry. I’m having oral surgery this week so there may be some delays in approving the comments that aren’t spam.

PS: We set up a Facebook page so if you’d like to follow us over there, please do!

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