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USURPER OF THE SUN [Archive]

Norwescon Cometh

This week is Norwescon, which we’ll be attending! Harmony has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award and fun will be had by all. I’ll even be participating in a few panels. Not all of them have to do with Japanese SF, but I’ll be pleased to answer questions about Japanese themes. I’ll likely miss my earliest panel at 11AM on Friday (I’ll be in the airport still!) but these I’ll show up for:

Friday 3pm Cascade 9 Editing the Novel
Editing a 5,000 word short story is one thing – how do you edit a 100,000 word novel? A panel of professional editors discuss their own experience in editing the novel – how to keep a work that long consistent, how to maintain energy and enthusiasm, how to liaise with the author over the long haul, and how to decide how long or short a novel should ultimately be.
Kelley Eskridge, Shannon Butcher, Lou Anders, Nick Mamatas, Jana Silverstein

Friday 7-8:30pm Grand 2 The Philip K. Dick Memorial Award Ceremony
Join us for the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, presented to the best original paperback novel published in the USA for 2010.
William Sadorus, Gordon Van Gelder. And you can watch the presentations streaming live Ustream TV. I promise not to burst into tears if we lose. Or win.

Saturday Noon Cascade 7 Basic Writing Help – Horror Writing
How far is too far in a horror story? Should all the gore be included in your novel? Should you just go for everything you want or do you need to tame it down to find an audience?
Jenna M. Pitman, Stina Leicht, Jeff Burk, Nick Mamatas

Saturday 8pm Cascade 5&6 Not Another Monster Story
If you’re tired of reading the same zombie or vampire stories over and over again, our panelists will recommend other horror fiction you should be reading.
Jenna M. Pitman, Eric Morgret, Jeff Burk, Nick Mamatas

Saturday 10pm Cascade 10 Making It Out Of the Slush Pile
What are editors looking for; what makes a story stand out? What do writers need to do in those first ten pages to make their story or book catch the editor’s attention?
Jude-Marie Green, Patrick Swenson, Nick Mamatas, Lizzy Shannon

Hope to see some Seattle Haikasoru fans in attendance!

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Backlist Buying Guide!

I wasn’t going to do a holiday buying guide for our 2009 titles as they might be a bit more difficult to find on bookstore shelves, but because YOU demanded it (well, because a couple of people demanded it), here we are!


All You Need Is Kill
Who I Thought Would Like It: Fans of action-packed SF.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Fans of action-packed SF…eventually. The common publishing wisdom in the United States is that 50,000-word novels don’t sell. Personally I think they do sell just fine, but are most often sold by being embedded in another 50,000-word novel that just happens to be about the same characters opening and closing doors, raising their eyebrows, discussing their hobbies (often hobbies shared by the author), sipping beverages, and having and then recounting ominous dreams. This book really picked up when the movie news hit. Of course, movie news doesn’t last forever, but it was in April of this year when a critical mass of readers finally found the book and then word-of-mouth took over. Even after the bump of the movie announcement, and a subsequent spike following the announcement that Doug Liman would be helming the picture, sales have remained strong. So, good!


The Lord of the Sands of Time
Who I Thought Would Like It: The manga crowd.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Old-school SF fans. The folks who came of age reading the SF of the 1950s really dug this one. Perhaps it’s because many paperback novels from that era, and really, into the 1970s, were fairly short, but this audience didn’t mind another 50,000-word novel. Some actually explicitly declared missing exciting and plot-filled novels that could be read in a single sitting. They didn’t find Messenger O goofy, liked the time-travel and Many Worlds conceits, and found the whole thing rather rollicking!


ZOO
Who I Thought Would Like It: I was afraid nobody would like it!
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Horror fans, thankfully. Two things need to be understood: a) generally speaking, horror doesn’t sell in the United States anymore unless “disguised” as thriller, or paranormal romance, or some other genre; and b) short story collections don’t sell in the US either. So putting out a horror short story collection was very risky—one can imagine the intersecting area of two small audiences as our total potential audience. Well, as it turns out, that intersection was big enough to buy some copies and hungry enough to snap up Otsuichi rather greedily. And ZOO was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. His follow-up, Summer, Fireworks, And My Corpse was also nominated for a prize—the Black Quill award. So if you want to see a third horror short story collection, you know what you need to do, right?


Usurper of the Sun
Who I Thought Would Like It: Hard SF fans.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Correct! I was pleased to see Nojiri’s first contact novel reviewed in Locus, given a shout-out on National Geographic planetary science blog, and other places beloved of the nerd hardcore. Hard SF is always a little tricky—in recent years in the US it has become dominated by a sort of libertarian politics that one isn’t going to find in Japanese fiction—but it all worked out.

We did reissues of Battle Royale and Brave Story and those continued to sell extremely well to their young audiences. And then there was…


The Book of Heroes
Who I Thought Would Like It: Brave Story fans and creepy weirdos who like nineteenth century decadent fiction.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Many but not all Brave Story fans. Many of Brave Story’s young readers were impressed with that book’s heft. It’s a real achievement for a kid to read an 820-page book. The Book of Heroes isn’t quite the epic Miyuki Miyabe’s other novel with us was, though those who discovered Miyabe through Brave Story and picked up her follow-up quite liked it and many of her new fans are still discovering it—it’s a good backlist seller. My little daydream of Robert W. Chambers fans discovering book—the “King in Yellow” was originally his idea—didn’t quite come true either, but we can’t have all our books for young girls read by middle-aged men, can we?

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More ebook news

Just a quick update: next Tuesday, 11/9, we’ll be rolling out ebook editions of Yukikaze (with improved text!), Usurper of the Sun, and The Lord of the Sands of Time. They’ll be available as Apple iBooks (for the iPad et al), and for Amazon’s Kindle as well.

Last week when I was at the World Fantasy Convention I met several people who told me that they were going “ebook only”—one even turned down the free books in the WFC goody bags because they existed in physical space. Any hardcore eheads out there? Make yourself known!

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Science Fiction versus Fantasy—The Giveaway Contest!

Here at Haikasoru we love science fiction and fantasy. This month we’re exploring the spectrum of the field by publishing the philosophical hard SF of Jyouji Hayashi’s The Ouroboros Wave and Noriko Ogiwara’s heroic fantasy Dragon Sword and Wind Child. They’ll be out on the sixteenth, but you can get them up to a week early, thanks to our SFF Giveaway Contest!

All you need do is leave an essayish comment on this post of between 25 and 100 words (or thereabouts, we won’t count) on why you prefer SF, or like fantasy better, or like them both equally. Heck, you can even argue that there is no real difference between SF and fantasy. We’ll pick the four we like best—at least one pro-SF piece, one pro-fantasy piece, and if the other arguments appeal to us, we may pick from among them as well. Pro-SFers will win The Ouroboros Wave and fantasy-lovers will win Dragon Sword and Wind Child. Fence-straddlers will get a random choice of the two. If you happen to already have a a copy of one of the previous editions of Dragon Sword, I’ll swap out the prize for the Haikasoru title of your choice.

Haikasoru is all about international speculative fiction, so feel free to play from anywhere! We’ll also accept submission in Japanese, German, Spanish, Chinese, French, and Greek, to name a few of the languages we know around the office. You have all week, and we’ll announce the winners on Friday at noon, Pacific time. Sound good? It’s great! Let’s get to it!

Note: we do moderate comments so it may take a bit for your entry to appear.

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