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Hiroshi Sakurazaka [Archive]

Good news

We sort of knew about this already, but it’s been confirmed now. From today’s Variety:

Warner Bros. has tapped Doug Liman to direct time-travel actioner “All You Need Is Kill,” produced by 3 Arts Entertainment.

The studio’s been developing “All You Need Is Kill,” based on the 2004 Japanese novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, since April when it bought Dante Harper’s adaptation. Producers are Erwin Stoff, Tom Lassally and Jason Hoffs with Hidemi Fukuhara exec producing.

Hey, I know two of those guys! Now that the director news is confirmed, we can expect other information to hit over the coming months: who will star, etc. if only Keanu Reeves was fifteen years younger…that’s what the copyeditor in the cubicle next to mine keeps saying, anyway! Anyway, you best pick up a copy of All You Need Is KILL so to better follow along with the wild ride to come. Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s follow-up Slum Online is worth checking out too!

In non-Haikasoru news, the nominees for the World Fantasy Awards have been announced and I am thrilled to see that the motion picture Ponyo has been nominated for the Special Award category! I edited The Art of Ponyo and will be at the World Fantasy Convention this October. I hope to bring home a statue for Mr. Miyazaki!

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Slum Online review in Locus

A new month brings a new issue of Locus Magazine, and the July issue features a review of Slum Online. Locus is a paper magazine, so the review isn’t online, but here are snippets from it:

The novel (translated from its original 2005 Japanese publication) certainly depicts a way of life that is both science-fictional and increasingly common, with a main character who spends more time in his virtual life than his real life, and who has sufficient emotional investment in both worlds to blur the line between them.

Etsuro walks the streets of Shinjuku with Fumiko looking for the blue cat, and Tetsuo stalks the slums of Versus Town in search of Ganker Jack, but in both cases, he’s really searching for a sense of direction, purpose, and self-worth. While not published as a young adult book, Slum Online would certainly appeal to readers similarly wrestling with identity on the cusp of adulthood.

Check it out!

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Who loves ya baby? The DENVER POST, that’s who!

Just came across this double-review of our hot new books, The Stories of Ibis, and Slum Online over at the Denver Post’s occasional science fiction column.

Ibis got the nod as an “excellent novel” “infused with the history of American science fiction.” Heck, that’s what I’ve been saying for months now! Columnist Fred Cleaver also dug Slum Online and especially enjoyed the novelette “Bonus Round”, which Sakurazaka wrote especially for you, to give Haikasoru readers a little something extra. (“Bonus Round” appeared in a Japanese-language anthology at almost the same time as our novel hit the shelves.)

Two out of three books reviewed in a leading newspaper’s book page are ours. The future is Japanese after all.

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Why 4/20 is the greatest day of the year…

No, not for that reason, for a much better one! It’s release day for The Stories of Ibis and Slum Online.

As today is a special holiday all about wasting one’s time instead of engaging in productive pursuits, we’ll share with you something from Haikasoru’s own three million dollar man, Hiroshi Sakurazaka. People seemed to get a real kick out of All You Need Is KILL, a story of a young soldier stuck in a video-game style time-loop, and now we have “Slum Online—a very different story with a similar theme—the love of the game and misspent youth. Here’s what he has to say on the subject when Slum Online was released in Japan:

Writing Slum Online by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

When I was a kid, I used to go to the arcade with the money that I had swiped from my parents. At the time, arcade games used cellophane over the screen to simulate color graphics. Plus, they had a two-way joystick for control and one button to press; it was primitive as hell. Put a piece of wire of an electronic lighter into the coin slot, switch it on, and you got yourself a free game. (Felony!) Oh, those were the days.

Now video gaming has evolved into a domestic entertainment with a superb visual treat. You can go online and be in a virtual battlefield with your opponent. It’s a part of everyday life. But back in the day, the simple black-and-white shoot’em-ups were the craze, and I was totally hooked.

Now, I’m not denying those superior graphics and state-of-art technology. I am a firm believer in technology. The more it advances the better off the world will be. Who knows? Someday, we may be able to insert a plug in our necks to send signals to our brains. Hooray for the future. Lots of transparent pipes running through buildings and futuristic robotic maids! Wouldn’t it be fun? When that time comes, I’ll be one of the first to be in Akihabara and get in an early-morning line for a brand-new plug-in device.

The point is, it’s not the vivid life-like images that bring personality into the virtual space. Two-dimensional blocky graphics and coarse texture that are associated with the earliest video games can breathe life into characters. It all comes down to the player’s state of mind, I think. If you have been a gamer all your life, you must have developed a double, your own virtual representation. And the cyber you always feels somewhat detached from the real you.

That was what I wanted to tap into. I wanted to translate into text that surreal feeling that words cannot describe.

I would like to offer special thanks to SF Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Mr, Shiozawa who let me explore “what I wanted to write the most,” and to toi8 who magically transferred that indescribable feeling into visuals, and finally to my parents who let me steal their money and pretended to not notice.

I hope you enjoy this novel—another virtual world on a different plane!

We hope you do too. And come back tomorrow, for some special comments from Hiroshi Yamamoto, author of The Stories of Ibis.

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