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Archive for August, 2012

Belka, Why Don’t You Bark?

“I want to set them loose.”
—Siberia (the sleeping land), 199X

The snow had let up, but the temperature remained below zero. The road was hemmed in on each side by a forest of white birches. The young man trudged onward, bundled from head to toe against the cold, snow crunching underfoot. He had been walking an hour already. Then, at last, he saw a house. A cabin—made of logs, rough-hewn. Clearly inhabited. The smoking chimney proved that.

The young man’s face brightened.

The place looked as if it belonged to a hunter. The man noted the four skis propped against the wall. Two inhabitants, maybe? Or was one pair an extra? You’d think there’d be a guard dog, but there wasn’t. Instead, the owner himself pushed the door open, stepped outdoors. Must have heard the footsteps in the snow. Realized he had an unanticipated visitor. He was old. An old man. His expression softened in response to the young man’s greeting. “What are you doing way out here?” he said. “So deep in the hills, this time of year, in this no man’s land? There is not a dacha for miles. Lost your way?”

“Does the road lead to a village?” the young man asked.



Today is the day! Genocidal Organ by Project Itoh is out today. It should be on the shelves of your local bookstore, and online retailers are shipping paper copies and zapping electrons to e-readers as we speak. It’s a bittersweet occasion—we’ve published all three of Itoh’s novels now (have you read Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots and Harmony yet?) and a novella in The Future Is Japanese. That’s nearly all the Itoh fiction there is, save for a short story called “From Nothing, With Love”. As the author died young in 2009, we’ll never have anything else by him. At least not solely by him. We still might see a posthumous collaboration…

I’m very excited about the book, and took some time to discuss its merits in in an essay for Locus last month, and last week for SF Signal. I hope you check it out!

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Well, we have our winners. Thanks to everyone for playing!

First up is Rafe for his poem. And I’m in it! It was very compelling.

Then, our first ever German-language comment from Kevin wins a prize. He points out that Western democracies engage in propaganda more subtly than authoritarian countries do.

Then there’s bes, who asks some questions about Itoh’s potential as a writer, had he lived, that I frequently contemplate. So I wanted to honor that with a prize.

And last, but not least, Jody. I’m a sucker for a rant.

Thanks again, all players! And stay tuned for our forthcoming titles and new giveaways!

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The GENOCIDAL ORGAN giveaway contest!

Didn’t we just have a giveaway contest? Eh, whatever, here’s another one—this time for the brand-new Genocidal Organ! Woohoo!

The book is by Project Itoh, and basically involves the power of political propaganda to create humanitarian disasters. So, two themes for this essay contest, with two winners from each theme. (Remember, we judge on quality.)

Theme one: Project Itoh. We’ve published his novels Harmony and Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots, and his novella “The Indifference Engine” in The Future is Japanese. If you’re an Itoh fan–and you’ve read virtually everything he’s published by now–tell me what’s so neat about him, about his science fictional themes, why he’s cool, that’s sort of thing.

Theme two: political propaganda. Are we all ultimately just slaves to it. Does the media, and language itself control our thoughts, or just enough of them that we’re suckers for side-choosing and demagogues? Is there a way out of this royal, social, mess? Let me know!

The usual rules apply: leave your essay in the form of a comment. English, Spanish, Japanese, German, and Greek are fine. You can make it a poem, if you like! Noon Friday, Pacific Time, I pick the winners.

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