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Instructions for Use: Read chapters in order. Contemplate the dreams of twenty-two dead Freuds. Note your position in space-time at all times (and spaces). Keep an eye out for a talking bobby sock named Bobby Socks. Beware the star-man Alpha Centauri. Remember that the chapter entitled "Japanese" is translated from the Japanese, but should be read in Japanese. Warning: if reading this book on the back of a catfish statue, the text may vanish at any moment, and you may forget that it ever existed.
From the mind of Toh EnJoe comes Self-Reference ENGINE, a textual machine that combines the rigor of Stanislaw Lem with the imagination of Jorge Luis Borges. Do not operate heavy machinery for one hour after reading.
Toh EnJoe was born in Hokkaido in 1972. After completing a PhD at the University of Tokyo, he became a researcher in theoretical physics. In 2007 he won the Bungakukai Shinjinsho (Literary World Newcomer’s) Prize with “Of the Baseball.” That same year brought the publication of his book Self-Reference ENGINE, which caused a sensation in SF circles and which was ranked No. 2 on SF Magazine’s list of the best science fiction of the year. Since then, EnJoe has been one of those rare writers comfortable working in both “pure literature” and science fiction. In 2010 his novel U Yu Shi Tan won the Noma Prize for new authors. In 2011 his “This Is a Pen” was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize, and he won Waseda University’s Tsubouchi Shouyou Prize. In January 2012, he won the Akutagawa Prize with “Doukeshi no Cyo” (Harlequin's Butterflies). His other works include Boy’s Surface and About Goto.
My good friend has a crush on a strange girl. This seems a bit odd to me, but that’s love for you. It’s just something that happens, but when it’s your best friend you start to make some really bizarre and twisted rationalizations about what is happening. Of course, if you really want to know what is going on in Rita’s crazy head, you’d be better off asking Rita herself. I’m sure it wouldn’t be some story about a bullet from the future. You might even say the only important question was whether or not Rita even likes Jay.
Ever since Jay finished explaining his “hypothesis” and burst into tears, I’ve been wondering just that. What does Rita say? Jay turned bright red, grabbed a fistful of grass and tossed it aside, and ran away, so I never found out the details. But there is no reason to think anyone could ever ask anything so directly of a guy whose thoughts were so tangled. He might even be thinking he should take a knife and cut Rita’s skull open, just to be sure.