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Japanese SF [Archive]

Sakyo Komatsu, RIP

Sad news today. Sakyo Komatsu, author of the classic Japan Sinks, has died at the age of eighty. Japan Sinks is one of the most important SF novels to be translated into English from the Japanese, and it combines the scientific rigor of hard SF with the sort of social speculation and commentary one might otherwise find in the work of writers such as J.G. Ballard.

Condolences to all of Mister Komatsu’s family, friends, and fans.

Visitors from afar!

Look who came for short visit!

Why it’s Japanese SF writer EnJoeToh and fantasist Seia Tanabe. It was a fun visit and interesting meeting of the minds. I thrilled them with my description of the state of American short science fiction. (When working for an SF magazine, I’d send rejection letters out on Christmas Day!)

Speaking of…will we see these writers in a Haikasoru project? Well, maybe a little one.

Yes, these are hints as to a future project!

Gene van Troyer 1950-2009

Anyone familiar with Japanese SF in the English-speaking world has heard of Gene van Troyer. He first moved to Japan as an exchange student in the 1970s, and soon became a major part of the SF scene there, working as a translation consultant for many top Japanese SF writers, and as a reviewer for SF Magazine where he covered the English-language beat.

With Grania Davis, van Troyer edited Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy, an impressive anthology of short Japanese SF in English. A second volume has been announced for 2010.

When Haikasoru was announced, he and Grania both expressed great enthusiasm for the project. We had heard of his health issues, but were surprised and saddened to hear of his death by cancer yesterday. We’d like to extend our condolences to wife Tomoko, his sons Makato and Akito, his daughter Miika, and to all his friends and readers.

Nojiri wins 2009 Seiun Award!

One of Haikasoru’s authors, Housuke Nojiri (Usurper of the Sun, Seiun winner for best novel in 2002, coming from Haikasoru on 9/14) is the 2009 Seiun Award winner for best short story!

The winning work is the comical「南極点のピアピア動画」(“Nankyokuten no Pia Pia Douga” ) or “Pia Pia Douga at the South Pole.” Pia Pia Douga is based on Nico Nico Douga, a real-life video sharing website in Japan which allows users to make comments directly on the videos. (btw, douga = video) The short story appeared in April and May issue of SF Magazine in 2008.

Here’s a synopsis —
Shoichi, a graduate student, is aiming for outer space to try to get his girlfriend back. But how? His lab fellows, the Pia Pia Douga community, and a “vocaloid” are fully supporting him to create a spacecraft from scratch. It’s a love story and a full-scale hard SF featuring a super-detailed nuts-and-bolts engineering. Ah, I almost forget, in the beginning, a comet collided with the Moon…

“Is that really a short story?” you ask.
Yes, it is. And that is Japanese SF!

野尻先生、星雲賞受賞おめでとうございます! Congratulations, Mr. Nojiri!


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