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The Countdown continues or, Old Man’s War

by nickmamatas

When people here at work started asking me about the audience for Haikasoru books, I learned very quickly that shrugging and saying, “People who like science fiction, and adventure, and Japan” was not a satisfactory answer. Marketing people like demographic information. Well, they like demographic hunches at least. Nobody was outfitting me with the means to engage in large-scale consumer preference studies, after all. I mean, we’re talking about books here, not video games or movies. It’s the difference between selling to the tens of thousands instead of the tens of millions.

My hunch was that our primary audience would be those people in their late teens and early twenties I started calling “manga graduates.” That had a sort of buzzy, hip appeal. It made salespeople, even vice presidents, nod and point their chins in glee. “Yes, yes, manga graduates. That’s right. That sounds good.” But my secret hunch, indeed my secret dream, was that the old guard of fandom would like Japanese SF too. It’s more optimistic and fun than the sometimes dour stuff coming from the West. But it is also organically fun and wild and high-concept, instead of being so in a self-conscious retrograde opposition to the New Bleak.

Looks like I’m a genius! To wit, The Crotchety Old Fan (self-proclaimed) writes that All You Need Is KILL:

is destined to become a classic, at least in its English language translation. …

This story will find a place amongst the seminal military science fiction works pantheon – Starship Troopers, The Forever War, Ender’s Game (the latter I’ve only read in original magazine form; I don’t believe it belongs in the pantheon, but that’s probably colored by my distaste for the (fairly recent) political screeds of its author – many others do include it); it even manages to draw in elements of Gerrold’s War with the Chtorr series (which is itself somewhat of an homage to RAH’s Starship Troopers).

Seriously, he likes the book better than I do! Read the balance of Crotchety’s comments here at his recent blogpost.

Aside: I almost typed “Crotchy” rather than “Crotchety” up there. Looks like this post will earn a coveted “it was a monkey!” tag.

Anyhow, I’m excited and in less than a week you too will have the chance to see what got some Old Fan to drop his cane and dance around the room. This calls for an enormous number six!

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