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Archive for August, 2011

ICO contest winners announced!

Thanks again for all the great entries to our ICO: Castle in the Mist giveaway! Here are our winners:

JibaraRukyasu for his discussion of the “spiritual vibes” of the game.

Kermit, for pointing out that “[s]imple controls mean the challenge always lies in navigating ICO’s contextual puzzles, rather than being frustrated by difficult button-pressing combinations,” which expressed why I don’t pay many video games at all.

Ben, who summed it up beautifully by saying, “Most games are power fantasies, and the functions assigned to the buttons on the controller reflect that. The buttons are to *accelerate* or *fire* or *jump* or *punch*.

ICO has a button to hold hands.”

And finally, Carrie, who wrote, “each new area brought back a slightly giddy feeling I rarely feel as an adult, the feeling you have when you’ve found a secret, magical place.”

Thanks everyone for playing!

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Finally, the ICO giveaway contest

Well, we had a great time at Worldcon. We did not win the Hugo, but we met lots of great people, had two wonderful panels on Japanese and cross-cultural science fiction, and made novelist N.K. Jemisin jump up and down and glee by presenting her with a copy of ICO: Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe.

The new hotness.

And now it’s your turn to jump up and down! We’re giving away four copies of ICO, to the readers with the best answer to this question:

What makes ICO such a great videogame anyway. Describe why it stands out from the pack to someone not familiar with modern gaming.

Of course, we’ll take answers in English, Spanish, German, Japanese, Greek, or French. You have till Friday at noon, Pacific, to post your answer as a comment to this blog post. Then we will select four winners and send those free copies out immediately. You don’t need to be in the US to play—we ship everywhere!

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ICO is out!

ICO: Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe is out today! People are excited about this one. In fact, one guy taped himself opening his book package and put it up on YouTube:

You may be wondering, “When’s the giveaway contest!” Usually, we do one before the book comes out, but last week we had a short work week and this week we’ll be at Worldcon, so…Monday. Get your essay-writing muscles limbered up for this one. And if you’ve already purchased the book, thank you! I hope the gamers out there try some of our other titles, like the fighting game novel Slum Online, or Miyuki Miyabe’s The Book of Heroes. And Ico fans, please do leave a review on amazon, goodreads, your blog, or wherever you like!

Happy reading!

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I will be participating in this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, Renovation. Worldcon is the most important of SF cons—as opposed to full media conventions—and the most prestigious. I’ve attended in the past, but never as a Hugo Award nominee. As some of you may remember, I’m up for Best Editor, Long Form, for my work here at Haikasoru! You’ll be able to watch the ceremony live via Internet, or follow along via a text stream at 8PM Pacific, Saturday August 20th. Exciting stuff!

Also, I’ll be on several panels, some of which involve Japanese science fiction. Here’s the full list.

Thu 14:00 (A05) 1 hr
Remembrances of Joanna Russ
Joanna Russ was one of the field’s first feminist writers and a leading literary critic. While many are familiar with her fiction and her critical work, her influence went far beyond that. Our panel remembers Joanna Russ, and assesses her personal impact on them and on others in the field.

Fri 17:00 (D03) 1 hr
Post-Modern Fantasy, Epic and Otherwise
There’s been considerable discussion of Fantasy, Fantastika, and Post-Modernism. What is this about, and why is it interesting for those who read, review, or critique present day fantasy?

Sat 11:00 (D03) 1 hr
Fantasy and Horror in the New Century
What to look for and where to find the darker side of literature.

Sat 14:00 (A09) 1 hr
Speculative Japan
Science fiction is a well-established literary field in Japan, with an energetic fandom that hosted the 2007 Worldcon. Yet, Japanese SF is not much read in North America. How has Japanese SF developed over the past forty years? How does it address both traditional Japanese literature and Western ideas, as well as current cultural and literary developments?

Sat 16:00 (A03) 1 hr
Cross-Cultural Influences in SF
How are cross-cultural influences manifested in Science Fiction? We look at the impact of both modern and ancient cultures on on SF. How, say, has American SF been affected by Japan? What are the trans-Atlantic influences in play? We expect a wide-ranging discussion.

Sun 11:00 (A03) 1 hr
Revolutions in SF, Fantasy, and the Real World
Revolutions vary from the disparate traditional tropes of the French and American revolutions to non-violent revolution (Gandhi’s India), The entrenched power may be colonial, class-based, or simply authoritarian. How well does SF & F represent the ideals and ambiguities of revolution, the need to rebuild, and the cultural stresses that result.

There’s also another panel of interest to Haikasoru fans, which I will not be participating in, but which I will certainly attend as an eager audience member:

Fri 17:00 (A04) 1 hr
Seiun Awards: An Introduction to Japanese Science Fiction
This panel will give you an update on what’s going on in the various fields of Japanese science fiction: novels, films, and fanacs. What is more, the panelists will carry out the Seiun Awards Ceremony in order to celebrate the winners of the 2009 and 2010 Seiun Awards, the Japanese equivalent of Hugo established in 1970.

Famous American Seiun winner John Scalzi will be on this panel, so be sure to pepper him with obscure trivia questions about the Seiun!

We hope to see some of you there!

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