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Usurper of the Sun
 
 

Usurper of the Sun [Kindle Edition]

Housuke Nojiri , John Wunderley
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

UNDER A DIMMING SUN, EXTINCTION IS OUR FUTURE
AND A LONE SCIENTIST OUR ONLY HOPE

Aki Shiraishi is a high school student working in the astronomy club and one of the few witnesses to an amazing event--someone is building a tower on the planet Mercury. Soon, the enigmatic Builders have constructed a ring around the sun, and the ecology of Earth is threatened by its immense shadow. Aki is inspired to pursue a career in science, and the truth. She must determine the purpose of the ring and the plans of its creators, as the survival of both species—humanity and the alien Builders—hangs in the balance.

“A tightly focused narrative line that marches us relentlessly through 35 years of future history, and [with] a genuinely engaging heroine” —Locus Magazine

“A philosophical take on the nature of aliens and what a first-contact scenario might be like...and about a beautiful, brilliant female student who is humanity's last hope for salvation...”—National Geographic’s Breaking Orbit blog

“A compellingly poetic first contact story, gleaming with digital savvy, appealing human detail, and alien peril. Think Arthur C. Clarke meets Haruki Murakami, and gaze at Mercury in the sunset and sunrise with new awe.”—Paul Levinson, author of The Plot to Save Socrates

About the author:
Housuke Nojiri was born in Mie, Japan, in 1961. After working in instrumentation control, CAD programming, and video game design, he published his first work, The Blind Spot of Veis, based on the video game Creguian, in 1992. He gained popularity with his subsequent works the Creguian series and the Rocket Girls series. In 2002, he published Usurper of the Sun (Haikasoru 2009), ushering in a new era of space science fiction in Japan. After first appearing as a series of short stories, Usurper won the Seiun Award for best Japanese science fiction novel of 2002. His other works include Pendulum of Pinieru and Fuwa-Fuwa no Izumi.

About the Author

Housuke Nojiri was born in Mie, Japan in 1961. After working in instrumentation control, CAD programming and video game design, he published his first work, The Blind Spot of Veis, based on the video game Creguian, in 1992. He gained popularity with his subsequent works, the Creguian series and the Rocket Girls series. In 2002, he published Usurper of the Sun, ushering in a new era of space science fiction in Japan. After first appearing as a series of short stories, Usurper won the Seiun Award for best Japanese science fiction novel of 2002. His other works include Pendulum of Pinieru and Fuwa-Fuwa no Izumi.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 490 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Haikasoru/VIZ Media (4 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004AYCS9S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #249,930 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rendezvous with Ramen (or Blob the Builder) 8 Oct 2009
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very much in the realms of a hard science-fiction first contact context, particularly reminiscent at times of Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Housuke Nojiri's 2002 Seiun award winning novel for best Japanese science fiction novel considers a scenario where intelligent life originating outside our solar system is discovered and the impact it could have on our society.

The discovery in 2006 of a large tower protruding from the planet Mercury is the first sign that something unusual is happening (although it would seem from the prologue that preparations for what is to occur start back as far as 1424). It's first spotted by a young Japanese high-school student Aki Shiraishi as part of her astronomy studies, but fascinated speculation about its origins turn to fear as a vast ring is created around the planet that threatens to block out light from the sun. As disaster beckons in the subsequent years, Aki's long interest in the construct created by what become known as the 'Builders' takes her on the first manned probe in 2022 to investigate the phenomenon and, if possible, destroy it before it destroys the earth...

The huge amounts of speculation given over to scientific concepts can make Usurper of the Sun a little bit heavy and dry reading for certain passages of the novel, but only because Housuke Nojiri takes the time to consider the matter deeply, from a scientific as well as a from a human viewpoint. It takes in the nature of intelligence and communication - and how artificial intelligence may provide us with the means to communicate, and more importantly, 'think' about the universe around us on another level if we are to make any significant breakthroughs in how to reach beyond. What is marvellous is that the author is able to consider these ideas within the context of what remains a fascinating and often thrilling science-fiction adventure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars First look at Sci-Fi 19 Dec 2012
By HGibson
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book I've read with heavy science fiction elements, I did enjoy the story but I found the characters to be very poorly developed, often the narrative would be a little bogged down with scientific description and so character relationships are barely touched upon - I found Aki and Mark's relationship to be a big offender of this, it's not developed much at all and yet Aki frequently reflects upon it nostalgically as though the reader is supposed to understand her feelings.
I also feel the themes could have been explored further, the mystery of the Builders, the state of the Earth after the ring is constructed, the idea of A.I and the other degrees of intelligence, all of it could be expanded upon and delivered to the reader in a more interesting manner than how it's been written in the book. I expect the writing is a victim to the short length of the novel, detail in all areas is sacrificed.
Overall, pleasant but underwhelming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ring around the Ramen 17 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this, and i was suprised just how far the story travelled, the book itself isn't overly long and this for me definitely added to my enjoyment of the story, it cracks along at a steady pace shifting through the pratoganists life and puts the breaks on when things get serious.

I often find characters in Science Fiction to be a little detatched and lacking a little personalisation, but Nojiri's pratoganist really comes across as this dynamic clever individual who from a young age clearly has her sights set on discovering the mystery of this strange phenomenon, the story developes well to, gaining meaning and thoughtfulness as it unfolds.

Anyone who reads science fiction would probably enjoy this novel, it runs a nice line between standard SF and hard SF without ever bogging the story down in weighty explanation. People who enjoy first contact SF particularly will enjoy the novel (not me normally) everyone else will appreciate the brilliant balance and competance of the storytelling.

Lovely book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rendezvous with Ramen (or Blob the Builder) 22 Feb 2010
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very much in the realms of a hard science-fiction first contact context, particularly reminiscent at times of Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Housuke Nojiri's 2002 Seiun award winning novel for best Japanese science fiction novel considers a scenario where intelligent life originating outside our solar system is discovered and the impact it could have on our society.

The discovery in 2006 of a large tower protruding from the planet Mercury is the first sign that something unusual is happening (although it would seem from the prologue that preparations for what is to occur start back as far as 1424). It's first spotted by a young Japanese high-school student Aki Shiraishi as part of her astronomy studies, but fascinated speculation about its origins turn to fear as a vast ring is created around the planet that threatens to block out light from the sun. As disaster beckons in the subsequent years, Aki's long interest in the construct created by what become known as the 'Builders' takes her on the first manned probe in 2022 to investigate the phenomenon and, if possible, destroy it before it destroys the earth...

The huge amounts of speculation given over to scientific concepts can make Usurper of the Sun a little bit heavy and dry reading for certain passages of the novel, but only because Housuke Nojiri takes the time to consider the matter deeply, from a scientific as well as a from a human viewpoint. It takes in the nature of intelligence and communication - and how artificial intelligence may provide us with the means to communicate, and more importantly, 'think' about the universe around us on another level if we are to make any significant breakthroughs in how to reach beyond. What is marvellous is that the author is able to consider these ideas within the context of what remains a fascinating and often thrilling science-fiction adventure.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Interesting first contact 12 July 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book didn't grab me right away...in fact I put it down twice, but once I got past first 50 or so pages, it didn't matter.

The book tells the story of the ambitious Aki, the first person to see the construction of the ring around the sun. As the story unfolds, we see her great desire to make first contact and how this desire is channeled. The story shows a woman who continues to follow her earliest ambitions to the end. However, this ambition seems to come at a great cost to her, personally. I've read some Japanese horror/sci fi in the past and have come to expect characters that aren't as developed as they could be...there isn't a lot of writing with a great depth and breadth of emotions. Maybe it was the limitations of the short story format (as the three parts were originally short stories) but I wanted more about Aki.

However, the actual contact at the end is interesting and worth the read. It literally took my breath away as I read the descriptions of the aliens and the way they acted when confronted by the humans. It really took the whole idea of first contact and turned it upside down--actually imagining something completely alien is something that not only takes guts--your aliens could be so alien that the reader doesn't see them as "real characters" (ala Aliens in Aliens) or they become too much like humans--but also real skill on the part of the writer. And while I love Schismatrix, Bruce Sterling's aliens,seemed parodies of aliens, while these aliens truly seemed alien in a good, interesting, yet strange way. This was great balancing act on the part Nojiri. We got aliens that were really alien and yet managed to be human as well. This is really what saved the whole book for me.

If you haven't read Japanese fiction before, you might want to try something else first, but if you want a great first contact book, this might be it.
5.0 out of 5 stars master piece of hard sci-fi 1 Jun 2014
By Rohon Nag - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Harkening back to Isaac Asimov stories. This is a brilliant if a little disjointed story along the lines of 2001, Rama and 3001. All scifi masterpieces. It's short but the theories and brilliance in the book is mind bending. A must read for hardcore science lovers
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read. 23 May 2014
By Jeffery Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Housuke Nojiri is simply a master at what he does. Books like usurper and "all you need is kill" are great for quick reads and both are well written.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent hard sf 12 Feb 2013
By Esmeralda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a gem, and I can say that with confidence, although I haven't finished reading it. Aki is a fascinating character, and Nojiri portrays the disintegrating world without excess, and all the more poignantly for that!
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