Space Opera. Dark Fantasy. Hard Science.
What is Haikasoru?
Our Books

fantasy [Archive]


From “Hanami,” a Lydia Chin/Bill Smith short story by S. J. Rozan

Every time I come to Washington it rains.

I don’t know why this should be, but my father used to tell my brothers and me that there’s no point in denying reality, even reality that’s ridiculous. Rain fell insistently, tracing diagonal lines across the windows, as the Acela train Bill Smith and I were riding pulled into Union Station.

“It’s still beautiful,” Bill said. “Soggy, but at least down here it’s spring.”

“You don’t have to try to make me feel better. I don’t believe I have some paranormal effect on the weather and it rains because I’m coming. I just think I unconsciously but cleverly time my trips here to make sure to coincide with the rain.”

“Not a paranormal effect on the weather, just a preternatural relationship with it? Sure, why not?”

We swung our overnight bags down and beat it to the subway. In Washington they call it the Metro and it runs on rubber wheels, and in the place we came out, Dupont Circle, it had a huge sci-fi escalator to the street. “You think we’ll be on Mars when we get to the top?” I asked as the gray sky in the round opening came closer.

“I think we’re already on Mars if we’ve really taken this case.”

“We can’t not take it. I told you, Moriko’s one of my oldest friends. We were super close in high school until her family moved here her senior year. I used to date her big brother. Maybe you can’t take it. But I have to.”

“I can’t take what, the fact that you used to date her older brother? Oh, you mean the case. What kind of person would leave his partner on her own with a client who thinks she’s a fox? Besides, from what you say she actually is a fox, though not the kind she thinks she is.”

“Hands off. That’s the whole problem here—a man after her who she doesn’t want.”

“What makes you think she wouldn’t want me?”

“Let me count the ways.”

I lofted my umbrella, Bill sunk his head in his raincoat collar, and we splashed the two blocks to the row house where Moriko Ikeda lived in an apartment on the parlor floor.

As I told Bill, Moriko and I have been close since high school. We went to Townsend Harris in Flushing, Queens, which is stuffed full of brainy Asian kids but, as my brother Tim never lets me forget, isn’t Stuyvesant. My four brothers and I all went to high schools you had to test into, but different ones. Tim was already at Stuyvesant when my tests came up; I didn’t even fill out the application. Why? The different-schools thing hadn’t applied to elementary school. I was the youngest—and a girl—and I followed my brothers all the way through Sun Yat-Sen in Chinatown. I couldn’t wait to get to a school where, when anyone asked if I was related to such-and-such a kid named “Chin,” I could say I wasn’t, not just wish I wasn’t.

Moriko and I hit it off from the beginning, even though the Chinese and Japanese kids mostly eyed each other with suspicion (and the Koreans eyed both of us that way, and the black kids eyed the Latino kids that way, and the white kids were too stunned by finding themselves in the minority to do anything but huddle together for warmth). With me and Moriko, maybe it was an opposites-attracting kind of thing. I was a short, straightforward, practical jock; she was tall, elegant, sweet, and spacey.

Never this spacey, though. She’d called yesterday to ask me to come to Washington as a last-ditch attempt to solve her problem, which was: a man had stolen her kitsunebi, and since she’d die without it, she had to do what he wanted so he’d give it back. Kitsunebi is the soul of a kitsune, a fox spirit, and in this case what the man wanted was for Moriko to marry him.

Moriko buzzed us in within seconds of my pressing her doorbell. We’d stepped into the building’s small entry hall and I was folding my umbrella for stashing when she opened the glass-paneled inner door. Her eyes lit up when she saw me, and I’m sure mine did when I saw her. Bill’s eyes I didn’t look at because I didn’t want to know.

You have to understand: Moriko is gorgeous. She’s not actually super tall, maybe five-ten, but she’s so slender that she gives a long-limbed, languid impression. She seems not to walk so much as flow, and the shoulder-length hair framing her narrow, high-cheekboned face is as black and glossy as her skin is pale.

Paler than usual, today. She led us into her apartment through a pair of large double doors, closed them behind her, and hugged me. “Thank you for coming, both of you. Though I’m feeling guilty about calling you. I don’t know what you can possibly do. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s so rude of me.” She extended her hand to Bill. “Moriko Ikeda.”

“Bill Smith. Don’t be sorry and don’t feel guilty. I haven’t been to Washington in awhile. Happy to come down.”

“I wish I could have provided better weather.”

“Don’t worry about it, that’s Lydia’s fault.”

Moriko raised her delicate eyebrows but I didn’t explain. After a moment she said, “I have tea. I’ll bring it right in.”

While Moriko went to get the tea, Bill whispered to me, “Do kitsune control the weather?”

“No. That was human small talk.”

I’m always surprised when I find myself explaining something to Bill. As he’s pointed out more than once, I’m the Asian person in our relationship. But he, rumpled, antisocial, and blue-collar as he appears—though not today; today he wore a sharp navy suit with a white shirt and blue-and-silver tie—is the one with the deep background in art, music, and all kinds of culture, including Asian culture. So long before Moriko hired us, he’d heard of kitsune; but apparently he wasn’t familiar with their fine points.

I was, because I’d looked them up.

For example, they’re usually called “fox spirits,” but that makes them sound like ghosts and they’re not ghosts. They’re regular foxes who’ve reached a great age and attained wisdom and magical powers. Like shapeshifting. Into old men, young girls, and beautiful women.

For another example, they carry their souls, their kitsunebi, outside their bodies in glowing globes of fire. In fox form, they hold the globes on their tails. When they’re humans, where to keep the globes—the kitsunebi-dama—becomes problematic. And it seemed that Blake Adderly, up-and-coming young hotshot D.C. power broker, had, in the course of dating Moriko, discovered and walked off with hers.

schnell masse aufbauen
cuerpo culturista
carpet cleaning atlanta

trenbolone for sale

The Phantasm Japan Q/A with James A. Moore

Welcome to the first of our brief Q/As with select contributors to our new anthology Phantasm Japan. First up is James A. Moore, who wrote a great, and chilling, story of the feudal era and snow people, “He Dreads the Cold.” (Phantasm Japan co-editor Nick Mamatas is asking the questions this time out.)

I was thrilled to receive a story involving samurai and the like. What made you choose this particular myth to explore?

I was absolutely delighted to get a chance to work on PHANTASM JAPAN because I have been fascinated by feudal Japan and by the amazing layers of the society since I was a kid. As to the story itself, the cold and the silence that is often prevalent in a deeply showed in area lends itself perfectly, to my way of thinking, to a horror story. Having been in a blizzard and its aftermath, I remember walking around and being stunned by the silence, when the only sound was the snow dropping from branches and the trees creaking softly in the wind. And I remember looking at the shoes and wondering what was waiting underneath.

You’re known for your novels, including some very long ones. Does it require a shift in your work or mentality to create a piece of short fiction?

I’ve always loved complex stories, and, ironically enough, I’ve also always loved short stories. “He Dreads the Cold” was very much a challenge, because, as a few editors have pointed out in the past, even my short stories are normally novel length. They might be joking, but only a little. I wanted to test myself, to see if I could provide a good scare or even solid chill (no pun intended) in a shorter format, without sacrificing any of the character development. I hope I succeeded, but I’m not the person to judge that.

“He Dreads the Cold” obviously required a lot of research. Was there anything especially interesting that just didn’t fit in the story, and had to be left out?

I wanted to incorporate as much of the “snow people” mythology of Japan as I could, but it wasn’t possible to add it all in. There are a great number of different legends and some of them are rather uniquely localized. I was fascinated by the myth of Yukinbo—apparently a one legged snow boy—but couldn’t quite find a way to incorporate him and not expand the story in ways that would have expanded it substantially and hurt the story’s flow.

What’s the coldest you’ve ever been?

When I was six years old my family moved from Georgia to Colorado (near Breckenridge before it became a ski resort town) and my brothers decided it would be fun to stuff me in their clothes, fill the clothes with range and then toss me in a snow bank. I was six. they were fourteen and fifteen respectively. In order to get inside I had to climb out of their clothes and run over to the door in nothing but my underwear. They took the liberty of locking the door. I’m gonna have to say that was a pretty cold day.

купить стероиды

Tales of the Matagama come to ebook!

Good news, fantasy fans! Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince by Noriko Ogiwara is finally available as an ebook! The Kindle and iTunes book are live, and NOOK and SONY will be along shortly.

To celebrate, and to make reading easy, we have discounted the ebooks for Dragon Sword and Wind Child. Most e-retailers will have the ebook for $3.99! So get rollin’ on the classic of Japanese heroic fantasy, the Tales of the Matagama!

oxazepam kopen

kamagra uk


It’s Friday, and that means it is time to announce our winners of our The Navidad Incident giveaway contest!

First up is SemperMeh for the point that a lot of the distinction between fantasy and magical realism is in the mind of the reader. Also he wrote in Spanish, and the word navidad is right in the title.

Moving on, there’s JM, who just sounded very clever, and who made a more sophisticated version of the argument that fantasy takes place in some other, often past, world.

We certainly don’t want to be seen as only selecting the responses that seemed to agree with our own comments, so Shelley wins a free copy as well for her spirited defense of considering magical realism a form of fantasy, and for her point about urban fantasy.

Our fourth winner is marco who looked very closely at two different modes of magical realism. If nothing else, he’ll certainly get a kick out of The Navidad Incident so we just had to send him a copy!

Those are your winners. Check back here soon for more controversy, and prizes!

kampfsport bonn
vanille yoghurt gezond

ponte vedra fitness

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)


© 2009 VIZ Media, LLC