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The 2014 Haikasoru Gift Guide

What better present is there than a book? Not only does it show that you think the gift recipient is intelligent, you get to show off your own taste and sophistication as well. That’s what they call a win-win situation. We have a wide assortment of books, and appeal to several different audiences, so here is our recommendation list for this holiday season.

What should you buy for:

A junior high or high school student

High school students need Battle Royale Remastered, our new translation of the cult classic, and the non-fiction companion title The Battle Royale Slam Book. Imagine the year-end term papers anyone so outfitted could write. Sometimes these poor things are told to read a book over winter break, and write a reaction paper, with sources! (The Slam Book is good for that.)

“Okay teacher, I will. I will.”

Someone who doesn’t actually like to read

All You Need Is Kill: The Graphic Novel. It has pictures. It’s a Western-style comic book. It makes a good gift bundle along with Edge of Tomorrow and the manga, and perhaps even the film DVD. It’s a transmedia experience with a very low word-count.

My ahead-of-the-curve friend who already reads everything, hears about all the new writers first, and is impossible to shop for

They need a copy of Phantasm Japan, which has stories by some of the best new writers, and is anchored by a stunning illustrated novella by Dempow Torishima. It’s…well, it’s hard to describe. No matter who your avant friend is, he or she will be surprised.

Young people who love science

Did you know that all our books are still in print? That means Rocket Girls and Rocket Girls: The Last Planet are still available! Ready for a wacky adventure with solid science grounding? These are the books for you. Highly recommended for anyone who loved Andy Weir’s novel The Martian.

My uncle who won’t stop talking about conspiracy theories and the end of the world at our family parties and just ends up upsetting everyone

Shut him up with a copy of Virus. It’s a thriller, like a Japanese Michael Chrichton novel, by Japanese science fiction grandmaster Sakyo Komatsu. This book has everything…submarines, nuclear weapons, fast cars, two billion corpses, biochemical warfare, real science, international cooperation at the South Pole, and hunger-mad politicians! And it’s long enough that Uncle Herbie will probably fall asleep with it tented up on his stomach somewhat early in the evening. Snoring is better than going on about the gold standard and chemtrails all night, isn’t it?

Old-school types who still tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve

People do that? Yes, or they used to. Still somewhat common in The United Kingdom. For some creepy yet all-ages fun, you need our ghost story collection by Miyuki Miyabe Apparitions.

My creepy cousin who just sits at the dinner table with everyone else and doesn’t eat or make a sound

Definitely Asura Girl. Say no more.

Happy shopping, and happy holidays!

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Thanks for all the great entries! I like them so much that I actually decided to pick five winners, instead of our usual four! And here they are:

Greg wins, because nothing is spookier than a playful ghostly child.

Coming in next is Kenneth Hite, who tells us a classic little ghost story. And it includes cats, so it is clearly For the Internet.

Then there’s Stephanie F, who certainly deserves something for experiencing real-life night terrors.

Farklebarkle gets a book too, for living in the Witch City of Salem MA, and experiencing some real-life ghosts while there.

And Brandi Weed reminds us of the master of the ghost story, M. R. James, with her comment.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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It’s the APPARITIONS giveaway contest!

Halloween is over, but the nights are growing longer and the trees are bare-branched and bony. It’s still ghost season, friends, and you’re in luck! I’ve got four copies of Miyuki Miyabe’s historical ghost story collection Apparitions to give away! See?


Miyabe is already well-known to you, dear readers. We’ve published three of her fantasy novels so far, and her thrillers are also available in English. But Apparitions, a collection of ghost stories about the Edo period and its mercantile system, is different. It’s creepy and it’s kooky. And all you need to do to win a copy is to tell me of your favorite ghost story—a fictional one, something you experienced, a local legend—right here in the comments to this post in about 50-100 words. As always, we also accept senryu and haiku and other poetic forms, as well as entries in Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, and German. Then on Friday at around noon, we’ll pick the four we like the best and send out the books. We ship anywhere, so don’t worry about the cost if you live on some other continent.

Let’s get spooky!

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From “The Futon Storeroom”

That night near midnight, when O-Mitsu came round for her as she had promised, O-Yū felt, oddly enough, just a little bit relieved. It was easier to go ahead and get it over with than sit with her mind playing through one scenario after another. As O-Mitsu had instructed, O-Yū meekly folded up her bedding, set her pillow on top, and carried it all with both hands as she followed behind O-Mitsu until they arrived at the room that was known as the futon storeroom.

O-Mitsu said not a word while they were walking down the corridor. Then, when they arrived and O-Mitsu placed her hand on the sliding door, she suddenly said something most unexpected, though she never turned to look at O-Yū.

“O-Sato’s forty-nine days have been fulfilled, correct?”

Indeed, yesterday had been the forty-ninth day. It was often said that the souls of the dead remained in this world until the forty-ninth day after their death and afterward went on to the next world. Because of that, O-Yū had been counting the days until her sister’s forty-ninth. She had been terribly worried that once that day had passed, her sister’s presence might dissipate.

“Yes,” she said. “It was yesterday.”

O-Mitsu nodded and slid open the paper door.

“Go inside,” she said. (more…)

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