The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories Paperback – 1 Jun 2000
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Thirteen science fiction stories deal with Japan's ability to cope with new technology, and the westernization of their culture. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
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Two major events occurred in the development of Japanese Sci-Fi in 1950's, the first being the - now considered legendary - fanzine Cosmic dust (Uchu-jin, ''') was founded, although the first science fiction magazine in Japan was Seiun ('') in 1954, but this was discontinued after only one issue.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The introductions to the book were interesting in themselves, giving a background to the not-straightforward process of translating into English due to the complexities and nuances of the Japanese language.
The editors do inform the reader that the stories in the volume are quite different to most of the English-language SF, and those who are looking for hard SF are most definitely looking in the wrong direction. The stories collected, which were written between 196x and 199x, are very much at the 'speculative' end of SF, to the extent that some would argue that they do not constitute SF ('it's SF Jim, but not as we know it!). The stories are also on the short side of short SF, which does have implications. I personally would tend to shy away from a collection of such short stories, regardless of origin.
The stories themselves tend towards the contemporary, and reflective, and are about people, and the environment. They tend toward the contempletative, with the protagonist(s) in number of the stories being almost detached from what is happening (a la Ballard) - which is no mean trick when there is a massive confrontation between tyrannosauri and triceratops(es?) in the neighbourhood. A couple of stories would be more accurately described as horror stories, and several could be stories from the likes of Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected and so forth.
All in all and interesting read, and worth the purchase if nothing else just to give an extended flavour of SF in a different culture.
Some definately do fall in the science fiction realm, and one of those is the mind-blowing "Fnifmum" by Taku Mayumura, not only one of the greatest science fiction short stories I've ever read but one of the greatest short stories, period. Incredibly original, "Fnifmum", written in an extremely unique style, presents possibly the most utterly Alien lifeform ever imagined, yet one that the reader comes to know and relate to, demonstrating that there can be points of common connection between even the most diverse of beings; "Fnifmum", the being, is even stranger and more foreign than Lovecraft's Chthulu, and by a good distance at that. An absolute must-read for anyone who wants to see how far literature can stretch with enough imagination.
On the other end of the spectrum, but also excellent, is the Completely non-SF "The Savage Mouth" by Sakyo Komatsu, a relentless horror piece that is a welcome addition to the book to a horror fan such as myself but which may not be liked by science fiction fans who aren't also into horror. Also imaginative and disturbing (but in a different direction) is "The Legend Of The Paper Spaceship", which is extremely well done, but may have gone a little Too far in one respect (that's one of the Extremely rare times I'll say that about any piece of fiction; book, movie, or otherwise).
Shinichi Hoshi's "He-y, Come On Ou-t!", another tale on the cusp of different genres, is an extremely effective parable for the modern world that seems to be becoming more relevant with each year. It carries a surprise but hauntingly appropriate ending that I think will stay with most readers. Tensei Kono's "Triceratops" has an enchantingly dreamlike feel and runs along the borders of science fiction, fantasy/fables, the metaphysical and probably several unnamed genres; this collection certainly excels in hitting some unfamiliar notes.
I highly recommend this volume to both Science Fiction fans and non Science Fiction fans; whatever your tastes in reading, this is likely to be among the freshest and most innovative tomes in your library. How about a collection of, say, "The Best Japanese Fantasy" or "The Best Korean Science Fiction Short Stories" as a followup? (Incidentally, I recently discovered while browsing this site a collection called "Science Fiction From China". I haven't read it yet, but thought it might be of interest to anyone checking out this book)