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The VIRUS giveaway contest

by nickmamatas

Hey hey, it’s been a while Haikasoruphiles, but we’re back with a brand-new giveaway contest. Just in time for the winter holidays, we’re releasing Virus: The Day of Resurrection in hardcover by Sakyo Komatsu, and we’re giving away four copies. Komatsu’s name should sound familiar—he’s the author of Japan Sinks and was a guest of honor at the 2007 World Science Fiction Convention (you know, Worldcon) in Japan—the first ever Japanese Worldcon.

Virus is a classic from the 1960s and was made into a feature film in 1980. (Enterprising people can find the whole thing on YouTube.) In it, a virus from space is altered by scientists and becomes an unstoppable killer. Soon, there only ten thousand human being left alive—on Antarctica. Then the survivors get some bad news…

Is this guy walking home from Antarctica because he left a pot roast in the oven?

Which brings us to our giveaway! Virus posits the end of the world via human folly and space germs. How do you think the world might end? Or will it ever? Do you find the whole fascination with the end of the world fascinating, endearing, or just stupid? Write us a little essay of 50-200 words, or poem, or whatever, leave it in the form of a comment on this post and you might be one of four lucky and skillful winners. (We don’t choose winners randomly; we pick the comments we find the most entertaining.) Feel free to write in English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French, or Greek, and we will ship anywhere!

Check back on Friday the 16th, at noon Pacific, when we announce the winners!

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14 Responses to “The VIRUS giveaway contest”

  1. kenneth says:

    The end of the world plot has been overdone. I think for something to be good, it needs to be different than the million other stories about zombies, nuclear war, end of days, etc. I’m not saying there aren’t good stories with theses themes, theyve just been over done. We need a new end of the world story! It needs to be exciting and give us hope. Americans are too obsessed with zombies and nuclear fallout. I think Japanese fiction may be the answer to a new end of the world story. The japanese are great at creating strange and new stories. The future is japanese!

  2. Ryan says:

    The end of the world fascinates many i think because so many of us lead humdrum lives and look forward to a big disaster all causing us to become worm food. Why would aliens cause it though, i think we are naive to think we are the most important species, other races could be out there and our intellect to them is the equivalent of an ants. I hope the end of the world is by buddha having a feast that releasing a mighty fart cloud that wipes out humanity, crikey smell that aroma.

  3. Gregory says:

    I’m going to go a little metaphysical with this. Apocalyptic stories to me mirror the existential angst we have with out own doom. We know that there will be a world without us but can not really imagine it, oh sure we can picture it but looking at that too long is like looking into the void. End of the world crisies let us be ok with everyone going right along with us to go have a chat with god… or into oblivious whatever the case may be.

  4. TwoSparkies says:

    Had a dream last night of a packed auditorium filled to capacity with the undead. There was among them a single human untouched and walking about freely. Seems they accepted him as one of their own…. Steven Tyler.

  5. Raechel says:

    The concept of the end of the world has maintained a presence within the Japanese literary and cultural imagination since long before the nation’s introit into the modern era, and I find the diverse ways in which this concept has been approached to be quite fascinating! Japan Sinks, for instance, is for me such an engaging text because of the manner in which the work intertwines modern and pre-modern aesthetics in its depiction of “the end.” On the one hand, it engages with contemporary Japanese cultural anxieties by deploying the rather ubiquitous modern dystopic image of the destruction of a “national” geographical space. One the other, this spatial destruction, as many scholars have noted, is presented through a recognizably Buddhist lens, for the the reader (or viewer, in the case of the film adaptation), rather than observe the sudden annihilation of Japan, is asked to meditate upon the nation’s destruction by bearing witness to its gradual submersion, an affirmation of mono no aware, or the sad-yet-beautiful transience of things. Or perhaps it’s an affirmation of mappo, in which case we’d better get started on our nenbutsu recitations.

  6. Nathan says:

    It is obvious that the world will end someday. I doubt it will be caused by zombies, giant worms, space viruses, killer plants, poisonous clouds, or any of the ways you see in science fiction and horror, but it is inevitable that it will happen eventually. At the very least, the sun will eventually go out and the planet will turn into a frozen ball.

    Stories of the apocalypse have been with us for millennia in the forms of myth and legend like that of the Norse Ragnarok or the Biblical apocalypse stories. They’ll still be telling these types of stories long after everyone who reads this comment is dead. It’s part of human nature.

    As with any other type of story, apocalyptic fiction can be good or bad depending on the talent of the author. Mind you, these days zombies are way overdone, and should be avoided unless the author is VERY talented or has something new to bring to the genre.

  7. Alex says:

    When considering what will be the harbinger of our eventual destruction, the first to come to mind is a meteor strike. Many possibilities exist, made apparent by the vast panoply of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels, but the terrifyingly likely idea of learning of one’s own imminent demise, as well as that of every other being on the planet, minutes or seconds before being engulfed within a rapidly approaching wall of flame is such a proposition as to, in my own mind, put any other to shame.

    There will be no farewells to loved ones, no panic, no rioting; not even a world’s end party. Only rapid and certain obliteration. The mysteries of space are truly double-edged swords, fascinating us with every new discovery while also holding the very real possibility of our eventual extinction.

    As for apocalyptic fiction, I find that the most agreeable examples are those that are believable in regards to setting and method of destruction. Of course, believability can be lacking in stories that don’t take themselves too seriously, but in serious fiction, it’s necessary that a world is properly fleshed-out before you expect readers to live there, especially when dealing with the subject matter at hand.

  8. christina says:

    Mankind’s end will be epic and meaningful! And it will happen while we’re alive, so we can be part of it, fight it, experience grand fate. Otherwise, what’s the fun? But then, once we’ve long been eaten by worms, when mankind slips on some coincidental outer space soap, will this really be the end of the world? No, our beloved planet will say, taking a deep, liberated breath, outliving us until its own end aeons away from now. Will this be the end of the world? Giggling, the universe ponders on what this strange word “end” might mean.

  9. Carl Tropea says:

    Will end when
    God awakes.

  10. Johncarlo Saavedra says:

    Here’s a short poem I wrote about the end of world

    Poem Title: Waking Up To The End

    The world splits in two
    As red raindrops fall upon our face
    The angels scream out Hallelujah 
    Calling forth our death
    The sun has exploded
    Into a supernova of destruction
    Hiding is useless
    For the fires of Hell our all around us
    Far away we witness 
    Our friends within the pools of death
    They move their fragile bodies
    With no hope left in their eyes
    All we can do is stand here and scream 
    As we realize our world is ending.

  11. Susanna P says:

    My belief is that, yes, eventually, like past species, humans will become extinct in the natural cycle that is life. Perhaps the planet itself will eventually cease to be in the greater cosmic cycle. Our perception of the “apocalypse” or the “end of the world,” though, is pretty light. Large-scale natural disasters, epidemics, and other catastrophic events occur that can decimate the human population and wreak havoc. They’ve reoccurred throughout history, but we tend to forget about a lot of them. Then people hypothesize about a future disaster causing the end of mankind, forgetting how we’ve rebounded before. Most likely, the end of humans will be brought the same way as the extinction of most other species, by not being able to adapt to Earth’s natural changes. Or, we’ll be the dodos of an alien race.

  12. Adonisus says:

    I don’t think that the world will ‘end’ in the way that we commonly interpret that phrase. I do think that the glory days of Earth’s civilization(s) will eventually end, but I don’t think humans themselves will actually go ‘extinct’ all of a sudden.

    Instead, I believe that what will happen is that once space travel and colonization become perfected, most of humanity will migrate off of Earth and on to other planets and colonies. Some stragglers will be left behind, of course. But eventually their influence will become so negligible that Earth will essentially become like a living museum than a planet.

  13. SemperMeh says:

    Dudo que esto se pueda considerar poesía pero bueno… No doy para mucho mas cuando me pongo “artístico”. Pido disculpas por adelantado.

    Que bonita es la civilización
    Menuda afición por matarnos
    Y no es solo la redención
    Aquello que buscamos

    ¿Zombis comiéndonos a montones?
    Ojala no empiecen por los cojones
    ¿Robots locos contra humanos?
    Bombas EM para los bastardos
    ¿O alienigenas haciendonos pruebas?
    Ojala sean las de V, que estan buenas

    Y de regalo un haiku mal hecho:

    El apocalipsis llego
    No quiso avisar
    Y yo con estos pelos

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