Haikasoru

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VIRUS [Archive]

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:

and

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!

VIRUS giveaway winners!

And it’s Friday, so it’s time to announce our winners for the Virus giveaway contest!

First up, Carl Tropea for his tiny poem, which we reproduce here in its entirety:

Everything
Will end when
God awakes.

Then we have Christina, who wins for this line: “Giggling, the universe ponders on what this strange word ‘end’ might mean.”

We also liked the entry from NF, who points out that the apocalypse can be escapist too: “The stories are out there for our comfort. Because it’s kinda all right if we all die together. Makes the waiting time more bearable.”

Finally, Two Sparkles, for his or her terrifying vision of the future: Had a dream last night of a packed auditorium filled to capacity with the undead. There was among them a single human untouched and walking about freely. Seems they accepted him as one of their own…. Steven Tyler.

That’s it for this month, and indeed this year! We’ll have more fun giveaways in 2013!

The VIRUS giveaway contest

Hey hey, it’s been a while Haikasoruphiles, but we’re back with a brand-new giveaway contest. Just in time for the winter holidays, we’re releasing Virus: The Day of Resurrection in hardcover by Sakyo Komatsu, and we’re giving away four copies. Komatsu’s name should sound familiar—he’s the author of Japan Sinks and was a guest of honor at the 2007 World Science Fiction Convention (you know, Worldcon) in Japan—the first ever Japanese Worldcon.

Virus is a classic from the 1960s and was made into a feature film in 1980. (Enterprising people can find the whole thing on YouTube.) In it, a virus from space is altered by scientists and becomes an unstoppable killer. Soon, there only ten thousand human being left alive—on Antarctica. Then the survivors get some bad news…


Is this guy walking home from Antarctica because he left a pot roast in the oven?

Which brings us to our giveaway! Virus posits the end of the world via human folly and space germs. How do you think the world might end? Or will it ever? Do you find the whole fascination with the end of the world fascinating, endearing, or just stupid? Write us a little essay of 50-200 words, or poem, or whatever, leave it in the form of a comment on this post and you might be one of four lucky and skillful winners. (We don’t choose winners randomly; we pick the comments we find the most entertaining.) Feel free to write in English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French, or Greek, and we will ship anywhere!

Check back on Friday the 16th, at noon Pacific, when we announce the winners!

VIRUS

East of the Tonga Trench, Nereid bid farewell to tropical waters and continued on ever southward through the southern hemisphere. In the waters near New Zealand, she raised her periscope briefly, but then continued running under the sea just as before. After a week, Nereid was shaken by a strong upward shock wave and for a while afterward was rattled about by a wide, undulating front where cold and warm water mixed. Navigator Vankirk placed his hands on the auto-adjuster for differential current. They had entered into the cold, fierce Cape Horn Current.

Not long after, the ship dove to a depth of two hundred meters. This was to avoid the undersides of icebergs. The watch was increased to two men on four shifts. Eighteen days after putting the spring weather of the northern hemisphere behind it, Nereid plunged into the southern hemisphere’s autumn, ravaged by the west wind, then headed even farther, closing in latitude by latitude on the eternal winter of the polar cap. She passed under the raging Westerlies that stirred the face of the sea to a foamy froth up above, and it was then, when the dark, ghostly shadows of icebergs overhead began to appear in the forward camera view, that the order to surface was given for the first time in four months.

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