Haikasoru

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MM9

by nickmamatas

Hiroshi Yamamoto, whose The Stories of Ibis is out now, is a master of science fiction. Which isn’t simply to say that he is an excellent writer, but that he has mastered the many modes of science fiction. Ibis encapsulates everything from the world of Star Trek fanfiction to anime superheroes, from serious sociological SF to crazy robot battles—but there’s more to the genre than Yamamoto can fit into one book. One subgenre of special importance in the Japanese idiom of science fiction is kaiju, or “strange beast.” You know, giant monsters.

How giant are these monsters you ask? Check out these teeth marks:

That’s the cover to MM9, another of Yamamoto’s novels. MM stands for monster magnitude, and 9…well, that’s a pretty large magnitude. What we’re excited about is not just the existence of this novel, but the fact that it is going to be adapted into a live-action TV show along the lines of the Godzilla films or Tsuburaya Productions’ Ultraman show. (And I have to say that I love that the URL for the show is nine m’s.) Ultraman was iconic enough to be integrated into science fiction’s Hugo award in 2007, when the awards were held at the first-ever Japanese Worldcon:

It’s a big deal.

MM9‘s tagline is in English and it suggests that the show will have a bit more going on than the usual rubber-suited shenanigans we might be used to from the old (and often Bowdlerized) films that made it to the US: You can live as if nothing is a miracle, or everything is a miracle.

That sounds like the sentimental and challenging science fiction master we know. Here’s hoping that the MM9 TV show can make it over to the West in some form or fashion. We’ll take everything, with a side-order of intelligent robots. Check out Ibis—there are a couple of giant monsters in there as well!

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2 Responses to “MM9”

  1. banzai cat says:

    That sounds cool. I’ve recently seen a copy of Ibis here in the Philippines and intend to pick up a copy. Are you guys also publishing MM9?

  2. Daniel H. says:

    Wow! I’ve read this book, actually, though this is the first I’ve heard of a TV series.

    The book is made up of five short stories/novellas (called “episodes”), all but one of which appeared in magazines first. The concept is irresistable, and reminded me a lot of Patlabor in that it dealt with the hectic lives of people working in a government ministry (the Weather Bureau’s Specialized Lifeforms Division) who have to balance taxpayer PR with fighting very real menaces. It drew amusing parallels between real-life disaster management and old-fashioned monster movies (I got a Sim-City flashback here and there), and I really enjoyed his “scientific explanations” for the ridiculous things monsters regularly do in rubber suit movies.

    I did think Yamamoto’s ambition got the better of him in the last story, but overall it was a fun book, and a great idea to frame a TV series around.


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