Haikasoru

 

Space Opera. Dark Fantasy. Hard Science.
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Harmony AND Happy Anniversary

Harmony by Project Itoh releases today! As I mentioned last month when editorial copies arrived, I am especially excited about this book, which presses all my buttons—it’s a satire, near-future SF with a darkly comic tinge to it.

It’s also Haikasoru’s anniversary—our first two titles released a year ago tomorrow. So far we’ve put out eleven books, and I think we’ve done pretty well. All You Need Is KILL is on the production fast-track at Warner Bros, ZOO was nominated for the Shirley Jackson award, and we’ve found plenty of enthusiastic readers for science fiction in translation—something many observers said simply couldn’t be done. Here’s hoping there’ll be many more years, and many more readers, to come.

It’s my anniversary, but buy yourselves a present: I recommend Harmony.

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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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