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THE THOUSAND YEAR BEACH giveaway contest winners!

The Thousand Year Beach is out today! Go buy it…unless you’re one of our four winners! And they are…

Jason, who got sentimental about William Gibson’s Neuromancer!

Jim Rion, who was interested in Tad Williams’s Otherland and its use of the Xhosa language.

Intern Jessica selected John Austin as a winner, perhaps because rather than despite the fact that his answer was just “?” (We get it, the intern wants more challenging assignments.)

Finally, Tatianna, for not just talking about The Matrix, but also The Animatrix!

Thanks everyone for playing, and enjoy your time on The Thousand Year Beach!

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One year later

One year ago, on March 11th, a massive earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Japan. It was the most powerful quake ever to hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful ever recorded. Naturally, here at Haikasoru all work stopped as we tried to catch up on the news. We used our Twitter feed to contact our writers and friends in Japan, and luckily everyone was unharmed.

The news from Japan just got worse, as a great tsunami hit, which in turn caused a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. It will take decades to decontaminate the area and decommission the plant. The whole thing seemed like a catastrophe straight out of science fiction—comparisons to the classic novel Japan Sinks abounded.

The SF community dealt with the disaster in its own way. Science fiction writer and friend of Haikasoru Charles Stross wrote an essay about the possible underreported effects of the disaster. William Gibson and other writers contributed to 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, a fundraising e-anthology. Transgressive/horror novelist Ryu Murakami wrote this wonderful essay for The New York Times, saying in part, “But for all we’ve lost, hope is in fact one thing we Japanese have regained. The great earthquake and tsunami have robbed us of many lives and resources. But we who were so intoxicated with our own prosperity have once again planted the seed of hope.” At Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, a special video tribute to Japanese fans displaced or otherwise effected by the quake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster was played during the Hugo Awards ceremony.

Here at VIZ, we launched the Art For Hope ebook as a fundraiser for Architects for Humanity—their anniversary update is well-worth reading. We also struggled with the cover for MM9, which we were producing at the time. We quickly decided to go with a fantastical-seeming cover with a monster in the background:

The original Japanese cover looked just a little bit too much like real footage from the disaster:

…so we felt it better to use a more whimsical, obviously imaginary cover.

A year later, things are still rough in the impacted areas, and the long-term effects are unknown. Bruce Sterling, in his story for our forthcoming anthology The Future Is Japanese describes the area as a nuclear wasteland, and as a place of new beginnings. There are no people, but wildlife has returned, including monkeys. “Monkeys are so funny. Monkeys are much kinder to each other than people are,” one of his characters says.

But we found the words of Star Trek actor George Takei more inspiring. He writes: In their resolve to rebuild, the Japanese have set a high bar for the world. In the wake of the tragedy, there was no looting, no violence, and a strong sense of order and selflessness. Elderly Japanese volunteered to help with the gritty task of nuclear clean-up, offering up their shorter expected life spans for the greater good. It is moving to me to see such human spirit, after so much was lost for so many.

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Enter Sandman Slim

The Haikasoru gang spotted Richard Kadrey’s latest book at Comic-Con last week. It’s a petite-trim, sharp little thing called Sandman Slim and I’m happy to report that the novel is already getting good notices from people like Cory Doctorow and William Gibson.

You may be wondering why we’re promoting Kadrey’s book on a blog about Japanese science fiction. The reason is simple: he’s one of us. Years ago he spent time under our circus tent editing manga. If memory serves me right, he briefly helmed Video Girl Ai, Beet the Vandel Buster, Descendants of Darkness and Angel Sanctuary before leaving to pursue his own personal muse. And back when Haikasoru was just a hopeful glimme in our eyes, Show box for iPhone Richard was nice enough to share his wisdom and give us counsel. We assembled a loose confederacy of science fiction experts to help guide us toward launch, and much of what he told us helped focus our publishing agenda. Richard’s a good guy. Go out and buy Sandman Slim today.

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