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Christmas [Archive]

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!

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!


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