Haikasoru

 

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GOTH giveaway winners

Thanks, all who entered! There were so many good horror movies listed and defended that I couldn’t decide. So I made Intern Kathleen* do it.

And here are the winners!

It was exciting to see so many diverse movie recommendations– only one or two movies were nominated twice! Here are the four winners:tutuapp pokemon go

First up is Carrie, whose short comment reminded me of the horrors of VHS-only films and salivating domestic pets running amok.

I also enjoyed Seth Ellis‘s insightful suggestions, and include his conclusion for the benefit of the readers: “…the turning from the mundane to the horrifying can be very short.”

Third is Sarah Hayes, for both her reference to Otsuichi and her attention to cinematography.

Last but not least, the fourth book goes to Misty Warner, whose entry made me want to laugh and cry under a table at the same time.

Congrats to all!

*Not the Intern Kathleen from 2012-2013 who later appeared in The Battle Royale Slam Book, a new one, also named Kathleen. Must have been a demographic bulge of Kathleens about twenty years ago.

Q/A With Ken Liu (and the return of Intern Kathleen)

We are all very excited that prolific author Ken Liu received a prestigious Hugo Award nomination for his short story “Mono No Aware” in The Future Is Japanese. We decided to ask him a few questions about the story and life as an award-nominated author!

Q. Congrats: what was the genesis of the story “Mono No Aware”? A. This story began as an experiment. Claims are often made about the universalism of certain narrative conventions: the hero must be active; there must be conflict; the individual must strive and overcome obstacles and define the self against the larger society. I get annoyed with these kinds of “rules” because they are not universal at all. Storytelling conventions in non-Western traditions often are very different.

In particular, I was intrigued by works like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō that try to pursue an aesthetic primarily oriented towards creating in the reader an empathy towards the inevitable passing of all things: a sentiment known as mono no aware in Japanese.

So I wanted to write a story in which that was the dominant ideal, and to redefine heroism along those lines.

Q. You’re a prolific writer of short stories. What attracts you to the form? A. The main reason is one of time. With two young children, it’s hard for me to sustain the prolonged period of focus and attention necessary to produce a novel. But short stories allow me to work through an idea quickly and see immediate results, which encourages me to write more.

Q. Speaking of your rate of production, were you surprised that this story, out of all you published in 2012, was nominated for the Hugo? Why do you think it appeals to Worldcon members and supporting members specifically? A. I am indeed surprised. However, I’m generally not very good at predicting how well my stories will resonate with readers, so I’m not surprised by my surprise, if that makes sense. Right now, I’m just grateful that enough voters liked this story to nominate it, which is a great honor.

Q. What research did you do on Japan and Japanese cultural mores for the story? A. Well, I did the usual: lots of reading, lots of watching, and lots of talking to people who know something about Japan. My wife majored in Japanese and lived and worked for years in Japan, so she was an invaluable source as well.

However, and this is a point I want to emphasize, I do not presume in any way, shape, or form, to have “gotten” the Japanese concepts right. No matter how much research is done, an outsider’s perspective will never have the same quality as an insider’s. Reading about a culture is not the same as growing up in a culture.

To be sure that I’m respectful to the material, I employed a narrative trick: the story is told from the perspective of a Japanese child whose experience of his homeland ended at the age of eight. His knowledge of Japan is thus a combination of hazy memories, what outsiders have told him about home, and his own fierce desire to protect the memories of the people he loved. It is necessarily an idealized, filtered, distorted, incomplete image. He is constructing a Japan in his mind.

The choice thus provides the reader with an explanation for the gaps and errors in his construction. And the story, in a sense, is really an immigration story. Every immigrant constructs an image of home that may not be very close to the original.

Q. Nostalgia is a recurring motif in your work. What drives you to integrate nostalgia into science fiction settings? A. Some of the science fiction I’ve read evinces a deliberate contempt for the past, as if history doesn’t matter, as if we have to only decide to look forward and the task is done. But our lots are inextricably linked to the fates of those who came before us, and their choices determined the choices available to us. I wanted to bring some empathy with the past into the science fiction I write, to acknowledge the importance of memory and continuity with the past.

Q. If you win the Hugo this year, what will you do with the tin rocket trophy? A. Probably put it on a very high shelf so that my daughters don’t hurt themselves by playing with it—that tip is sharp.

Q. When are you going to publish a novel anyway? A. Working on it… working on it…

The hope is to be done with my first novel later this summer. Wish me luck!

Good luck, Ken!

Also, as mentioned the other day, the ebook editions of The Future is Japanese is on sale for a mere $3.99 for the month of April. And that’s not all! As it turns out, ebooks are made out of electrons, and can be kept in slim little boxes. I mean, look at poor Intern Kathleen struggling under the weight of the mighty paperback:


So…many…stories…all excellent…must…read

And now here she is with her ebook reader!

Heavy reading is totally lightweight with this ebook reader!

So remember, not only does The Future is Japanese contain Ken’s award nominated story as well as work by Toj EnJoe, Bruce Sterling, Catherynne Valente, and Hideyuki Kikuchi, for the month of April the ebook version will be as light on your pocketbook as it is on your back!
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And the winners are…

I have a confession to make. I’ve run so many of these contests, and have read so many strange books, that I gave up on this. Instead, I handed your entries over to Intern Kathleen, and she chose the winners. She also chose some honorable mentions, who will win nothing save the eternal glory of having their screen names mentioned on the Internet. Anyway, take it away Intern Kathleen!


She’s smiling only because it’s a paid internship.

Kathleen’s Top Four:

Carl T. – for his spot-on description of reading James Joyces’s Finnegans Wake – “like trying to read the Bible while overdosing on LSD.” I tip my hat to you, sir.

Jospeh T. regaled us with an uncanny reading of The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter which “combines the horror of Poe with the thrilling vengeance of Dumas,” and will be sure to stir up the residual trauma of childhood.

NF – After reading your review of After Comma, I too can’t help but wonder – “What’s in a dash?” For indeed, who needs paragraphs when you can read about “protein shenanigans” – if you can get your hands on a copy, that is…

And finally, 3.14… cheers for the awesome and surreal monolithic epic Codex Seraphinaus! As Seth E. puts it, “it just is.”

And now, the honorable mentions…

Honorable Mentions:
-Adam B for making up one of his own strange reads, for which I award him 2 cuils.

-SemperMen’s Spanish account of what I believe to be Fifty Shades of Grey, which thanks to Google Translate resulted in a hilarious meta-translation on or about the realm of 3 cuils.

-Komavary, way to Tarantino your way through Gólyakalifa!


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