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Summer, Fireworks, And a Sale!

We have a lot to celebrate around here at Haikasoru—this is our second anniversary! We love bringing you the best science fiction and fantasy from Japan, and are pleased with the response we’re getting from manga fans, readers of SF, literary award juries, and even Hollywood. We’ve decided to do a little celebration. Good Luck, Yukikaze comes out tomorrow, and to make sure all our readers are up to speed on the saga of humanity’s war against the JAM, we’ve put the ebook of the original Yukikaze on sale!

For the rest of the month, the Kindle and iBook and SONY editions will be a mere $3.99!

Anniversaries are a time to look forward, and back, and summer is a time for reading—whether it’s on the beach or before school starts and work crowds out leisuretime, we’ve got some titles you should consider.

In Japan, summertime, not autumn, is the traditional season for spooky stories. That’s part of why Otsuichi named his first published story Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse. It’s the goosebumps that’ll keep you chill on a hot summer night, don’t you know.

Hugo-nominated fan writer and critic recently wrote of the book, I generally don’t care for horror, on account of horror protagonists generally being imbeciles who deserve their fate, and I only read this because I vowed to read all of Haikasoru’s line. I was very surprised to discover that in fact I liked this one quite a lot….I am quite pleased to have discovered Otsuichi’s fiction, which I never would have thought of seeking out under normal circumstances, and I will acquire any other books by him that I encounter.

Of course, here in the United States, summer is a time not for horror, but for weddings! (Well, maybe that is a special kind of horror of its own…) Extravagant weddings are a big deal in Japan as they are here in the US, but Issui Ogawa tops them all with The Next Continent, the story of one woman’s vision of building a wedding chapel on the moon. Hard SF in the West isn’t known for its emotional resonances, but Ogawa’s book isn’t just for engineers, it’s for engineers…and for lovers! Check it out.

Summertime also means that school’s out and summer jobs are necessary. Why not check out Rocket Girls and Rocket Girls: The Last Planet (both are available as ebooks now as well). If I were one of those marketing people, I’d say that “Yukari and Matsuri find that their summer jobs as astronauts are out of this world!” but I’m not so I’ll only say, “Yukari and Matsuri find that their summer jobs as astronauts are in low-Earth orbit!”

Summer is also a time for tackling those big projects. It doesn’t come much bigger than this epic of post-cyberpunk noir and wacky anime hijinks (yes, both!) in our three-books-in-one-volume monster Mardock Scramble.

Every teen prostitute turned murderous cyborg needs a little yellow mouse for a best friend. Ibookstore users can also download the bonus novelette, “Useful Monsters” for free!

That will keep you busy for a bit. Be sure to check us out regularly for news and fun contests!

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Haikasoru and the Hugos

As many of you have heard by now, I have been nominated for the Hugo Award in the category of Best Editor, Long Fiction, along with many other great editors:

Best Editor, Long Form
Lou Anders
Ginjer Buchanan
Moshe Feder
Liz Gorinsky
Nick Mamatas
Beth Meacham
Juliet Ulman

The Hugo is the most prestigious award in science fiction, and it is voted on by the fans, specifically the fans who attend (or support) the World Science Fiction Convention, aka Worldcon. Here are some details. Fans both nominate and vote on the nominees.

Best Editor, Long Form is a relatively new category in the Hugos—for years there was a single editor category, but it was generally dominated by anthologists and the editors of short fiction magazines. After all, their names were on the mastheads, covers, and under the editorial notes or introductions to their magazines and books. Who knows who edits books? Indeed, one reason why my name appeared on the ballot is that I am closely identified with Haikasoru. Someone may have read two or three of our titles, enjoyed them, and thus put me on their nominating ballot. That same fan may have read and loved a dozen books published by Tor or Ace, and had no idea who edited them. Thus, BELF is a fairly small category—it takes only a couple of dozen votes to get on the ballot. For the more popular categories, like Best Novel or Best Dramatic Presentation (itself split into long and short, or basically feature films and TV shows/shorts) may need over one hundred votes just to get on the ballot.

It can be difficult not to make a big deal of the Hugos, since the awards are very important to the field-and I am thrilled to be a nominee for Haikasoru—but I did want to demystify the proceedings a bit. It would be great if more publishers put the name of the editor of the book somewhere on the credits/copyright page to make this category more open to the casual fans. Right now, only the people who really follow the science fiction horse race very closely vote in that category. It’s like being nominated for an Oscar in the Best Sound Editing or whatnot.

The Hugos are having some influence already. James Nicoll, himself a two-time Hugo nominee for Best Fan Writer, has been talking about Haikasoru for months and is now reviewing or having reviewed every Haikasoru title on his blog—follow his schedule here. He also talks about other things, of course, such as books he’s read, Canadian politics, and his forty-nine cats. It’s interesting stuff.

Also interesting is the fanzine Drink Tank (a Hugo nominee in Best Fanzine!) by Chris Garcia (a Best Fan Writer nominee!), especially the recent issue handicapping the Hugos (opens PDF). What he had to say about the Best Editor, Long Form category was especially interesting, I think. Here’s the page, reproduced with permission:

Chanting my name, you say? Well, that could fun. Not very likely though.

And anyway, I don’t need to win a Hugo. My co-worker Urian already created this for me, and it hangs proudly over my desk:

But I’ll see you all in Reno!

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