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Tow Ubukata [Archive]

The Future is STILL Japanese

It’s been a hard weekend for us here, given our many connections to Japan. If you follow our Twitter feed, you’ll see that we used it over the last few days to stay in contact with our authors. We’re happy to say that all of our authors, and the translators who live in Japan, are fine. Tow Ubukata, author of Mardock Scramble, does live close to the most heavily damaged area, but his power is back on already and he and all his relatives are safe.

We’re pleased with all the support the people of Japan have been receiving from the US. In Sakyo Kamatsu’s classic SF novel Japan Sinks, the entire archipelago goes down thanks to massive earthquakes. The quake in the book was a metaphor for all the pressures of Japan in the early 1970s, and highlighted the belief that Japanese society would need to evolve in order to “keep afloat.” And Japanese society has evolved in the decades since. Just a few weeks ago, James Fallows refuted the myth of Japan’s stagnant economy, and Japan is more open than ever to international cooperation and cultural exchange. (We’re just a tiny example of that!) While the quake, of course, will have massive negative economic impact to accompany the human costs, the people are already working hard to halt the damage, stabilize the cities, and then rebuild.

And you can help. In addition to the Red Cros and Doctors Without Borders, the Japan Society is raising funds, and also lists several people-finder resources created by Japanese mobile phone service providers. We’ll have more information soon about the sort of help we hope to be able to provide with your assistance. We’re convinced that the future is still Japanese, and we’re looking forward to bringing you visions of the future for years to come.

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It’s a Very Mardock (if Belated!) Valentine

Darn, I was hoping to have this ready for you all yesterday for Valentine’s Day, but it didn’t happen. (Would you believe a long line at the flower shop?) But today, here’s a present for all you iPad, Phone, iBook people out there:

Behold, Useful Monsters: Mardock Scramble 104 a novelette* in the world of Mardock Scramble, for you, for free! It’s a prequel, very exciting, and also offers a glimpse into the dark future of libertarianism gone mad and vending machine property rights. Do check it out! Of course, Mardock Scramble itself is now also available in the iBookstore! Much lighter than the 800-page print version!

Just a quick note since we’re asked this all the time: Mardock Scramble will also be on Kindle, perhaps as early as this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow. (Would you believe a long line at the flower shop?) The second it goes live I’ll tweet it. And also, we would have loved to offer Useful Monsters for free to Kindle readers as well, but Kindle doesn’t currently allow for free distribution of new titles. We do, however, have a second Mardock Scramble novelette coming right to the World Wide Web in a few weeks! It’ll be a free-for-all that’s truly free for all! So keep an eye out!

*What’s a novelette? It’s a long short story, or a short novella. You know, in the 9-13,000 word range.

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Ubukata Hits America!

We hope some of you were able to make it to last weekend’s New York Anime Festival, which featured the world premiere of the anime based on Mardock Scramble—novelist and screenwriter Tow Ubukata was in the house!

Ubukata chatted with fans, signed autographs, and held a press conference on Sunday—Toonzone did pretty well with a Q/A:

Q: What do you find most appealing about the science fiction genre?

TOW UBUKATA: The main appeal is the relationship between the human and society, and when you introduce technology like time machines in it, how does that change society. You can tell a story on two different levels, you can tell a drama of the person and the drama of the society, and the story of the person and the society.

Definitely click on that link for more—there are none of those “spoilers” that so bedevil Internet people in the interview, so enjoy!

I personally haven’t seen the anime yet—which is subtitled The First Compression and is based on only the first third of the book we’ll be releasing in January (so ha ha, I know how it ends and you don’t!)—but I will be watching tomorrow at a lunchtime showing here in the High Castle. In the meantime, here’s a new cut of the trailer, which you can actually watch at work without embarrassment.

We’re all quite excited that Mardock is joining our line-up!

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