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The 2012 Haikasoru Holiday Shopping Guide

It’s nearly year’s end, and so we thought we might write about our 2012 titles, and how they’ll make great presents for your loved ones. Or, you know, for yourself. We won’t tell.

Do you or any of your friends or relatives love Godzilla? Ultraman? H. P. Lovecraft? Mythology? The TV show The Office? The zany pseudosciences of UFOs, Bigfoot and other cryptids, and such like that? Get them a copy of MM9 by Hiroshi Yamamoto. This book combines office hijinks with ancient monsters and some quick scientific thinking. It was also a TV show in Japan:

Also, check out the show’s closing credits:

It’s a very fun book, and a breeze to read despite the scientific speculations.

For fans of Haruki Murakami, Jorge Luis Borges, or magical realism in general, check out The Navidad Incident by Natsuki Ikezawa. The fantasy element here is light, but strange—there’s a ghost and a mysteriously busy runaway bus. This book is a sort of genre-in-the-mainstream title about the politics of the developing world in the postcolonial era. And hardcover books make for wonderful gifts. Finally, the title! Navidad, get it?

Any hardcore SF fan who wants to keep up with the new writers in the field needs a copy of our anthology The Future Is Japanese. Ken Liu’s short story “Mono No Aware” has already been selected for reprinting in an annual best-of anthology, and this book also features stories by Catherynne M. Valente, Ekateria Sedia, and top Japanese writers including Project Itoh and Issui Ogawa. The anthology got a starred review in Publishers Weekly and is acclaimed generally. If you or yours are interested in the field of SF at all, this book is for you.

Got any gamers in your family or social circle? Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots by Project Itoh is what they need. More than just a novelization by some hack, Itoh was both a hardcore fan of the Metal Gear series and one of Japan’s leading science fiction novelists. This novel is a tribute to the game.

Speaking of one of Japan’s leading science fiction novelists, Project Itoh’s Genocidal Organ is my personal favorite of the year. It’s military SF, it’s about the power of memes—not cat pictures from the Internet, but ideas and how the flit from brain to brain—and it’s a wickedly dark comedy. For fans of Itoh’s Harmony, this book details the “Maelstrom” that leads to the Utopian society of that novel. Speaking of, check out the Hungarian book trailer for Harmony:

Any friend or family member interested in the work of contemporary military SF writers like David Drake or John Scalzi, or the satirical flourishes of Kurt Vonnegut, should check out Genocidal Organ and Harmony.

Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? by Hideo Furukawa is for dog-lovers, history buffs, space buffs, and lovers of fine literature. What other book combines the secret lives of dogs with the drama of the Space Race and the world-changing events of the Cold War? No other novel, of course! Have you seen the author’s passionate readings? We’ve made two videos:


These really sum up the book in a way a blog post cannot.

Finally, out today, is Virus by Sakyo Komatsu. Komatsu is a true grandmaster of Japanese SF—he’s the author of the famed Japan Sinks, and this classic from the 1960s is a SF disaster thriller of the sort that Michael Crichton used to write. It’s a hardcover, so naturally an excellent present—if you or anyone for whom you are buying a gift loves the genreish/mainstreamish thrillers of Crichton of Stephen King or Tom Clancy (Virus includes a lot of scientific and military information) this is the book to buy this month.

So get shopping!


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!


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!

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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