Friday, February 22, 2008

Gene van Troyer & Grania Davis (Ed)'s "Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy": Annotated table of contents

Cover of anthology titled Speculative Japan - Outstanding Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Gene van Troyer and Grania DavisToC below lists only stories included in the anthology (source: this Kurodahan Press's page dedicated to this book); I don't include editorial entries.

If the 4 stories the publishers have kindly made available online are any indication, the anthology is heavily tilted towards fantasy.

Stories themselves are rather old, but appear to have been recently translated to English.

List below is ordered by how much I like a story - best first. Unread stories come at end, in order they appear in the book. "download" link will fetch you the full text of the story. I provide a short description of the story; link on story title jumps to more detailed notes on the story - in case I've posted some.

My rating is in brackets (ABC: A = worth your time; C = don't bother). Just remember I prefer science fiction to fantasy; someone with opposite inclinations will likely rate them very differently.

Table of contents (15 stories, best first).

  1. [ss] Hirai Kazumasa's "A Time for Revolution" (B); Hayakawa SF Magazine, January 1963; translated by David Aylward; science fiction: Humans from far future dystopia telepathically & parasitically control those from a much earlier era - in an effort to change history & avoid this dystopia!
  2. [ss] Fukushima Masami's "The Flower's Life Is Short" (B); download; Hayakawa SF Magazine, October 1967; translated by Judith Merril & Yano Tetsu; fantasy: In an age where normal life expectancy is beyond 100, A 68-year old woman is feeling lonely & regretting the decision of avoiding permanent matrimony in her younger years.
  3. [ss] Kono Tensei's "Hikari" (C); download; Shukan Shosetsu, 3 May 1976; translated by Dana Lewis; fantasy: Normal humans being overrun by "luminous folks"!
    A strange family - man, woman, & their three kids - are moving through the countryside. They are "not human... I don't even think they're alive... They don't sleep... They don't eat... They don't even sweat. They don't get angry. They don't argue. All they do is smile." When a blade cuts their skin, no blood pours out - there are no innards inside - only strange light shines out! Title is apparently the Japanese word for light.
    Whichever town they land in soon ends up getting converted to their own kind - light folks. Rest of the people end up abandoning the town. So humanity is sort of getting divided into two - normal flesh-and-blood people, & light folks. Former are getting to be a minority, & they're afraid.
  4. [novelette] Yamano Koichi's "Where Do the Birds Fly Now" (C); download; Hayakawa SF Magazine, February 1971; translated by Dana Lewis; fantasy: Somewhere during their evolution, birds had figured out a way of traveling in 3 dimensions, unlike mammals. Now they've gone a step beyond - they can now fly in forth dimension too!!! In a story involving alternate universes, huge 4D flying predators seem to be overrunning humanity one alternate world at a time!
  5. Komatsu Sakyo's "The Savage Mouth"; translated by Judith Merril: Not read.
  6. Mayumura Taku's "I'll Get Rid of Your Discontent"; translated by Hattori M & Grania Davis: Not read.
  7. Ishikawa Takashi's "The Road to the Sea"; translated by Judith Merril & Yano Tetsu: Not read.
  8. Toyota Aritsune's "Another 'Prince of Wales'"; translated by David Aylward: Not read.
  9. Ohara Mariko's "Girl"; translated by Alfred Birnbaum: Not read.
  10. Tsutsui Yasutaka's "Standing Woman"; translated by Dana Lewis: Not read.
  11. Hanmura Ryo's "Cardboard Box"; translated by Dana Lewis: Not read.
  12. Yano Tetsu's "The Legend of the Paper Spaceship"; translated by Gene van Troyer: Not read.
  13. Kajio Shinji's "Reiko's Universe Box"; translated by Toyoda T: Not read.
  14. Kawakami Hiromi's "Mogera Wogura"; translated by Michael Emmerich: Not read.
  15. Yoshimasu Gozo's "Adrenalin"; translated by the author & Marilyn Chin: Not read.
First published: 2007


K said...

Not to be a bother, but is there any way that you could give me the pdf of "The Savage Mouth" by Sakyo Komatsu (since your blog mentions that you haven't read it), or at least point me in the right direction to download it? You can contact me at Thank you.