Crystal Silence


Crystal Silence

By FUJISAKI Shingo (藤崎慎吾)

Translated by Kathleen TAJI

It is 2071, and Mars is being slowly terraformed by many nations often cooperating in an uneasy truce that reflects tensions back on Earth. The water of the polar ice cap, the most important resource for all the Mars colonies, is jointly controlled by the US, China, Japan and Russia, and doled out to the second-tier colonizing groups (Europe, Canada, Australia, India) only grudgingly. A military build-up is under way as different groups jockey for control of this all-important resource, and then the bodies of what appear to be intelligent aliens are found under the Martian ice.

Nominated for the 2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards!

Saya Askai is dispatched from Earth in realtime, separating herself from the virtual reality network that encompasses civilization, to investigate... and finds herself in a battleground of cyborgs, virtual reality plagues, and Schwarzchild traps that she may only be able to navigate through safely with the help of people who probably don't exist...

We are delighted to be able to add a short story to the expanded world of Crystal Silence, with the release of the eBook edition of Left Alone, which explores the life—and death—of the cyborg named Jirō. He wasn't always a cyborg; he began life as a pretty normal kid who just loved playing games at the arcade... until he met someone who pointed him at Mars!

Originally published in 1999, Crystal Silence (クリスタルサイレンス) was promptly voted the best Japanese SF novel of the year in the annual poll run by Hayakawa SF Magazine. The book remains popular, both for its own qualities and more recent science fiction masterpieces by the author, and a revised edition was recently released as a two-volume paperback.

The author has published multiple novels and short stories and is rapidly being recognized as a leading writer of hard SF in Japan.

The Hayakawa bunko edition that we are using for the translation, a two-volume set, has cover art by Seto Hakata and WONDER WORKZ.


  • 356 pages
  • Trade paperback, 6" x 9" (152mm x 229mm)
  • ISBN
    Softcover 978-4-902075-05-2
    Ebook 978-4-902075-52-6
  • Cover: Katō Naoyuki


  • [Left Alone] is a true gem. Excellent story; believable, relatable characters; a decent translation; brilliant ending. Highly recommended.
    Made DNA, Goodreads
  • ...ambitious and audacious ideas ... questions of reality and identity play an important part in the novel. From Saya's childhood virtual playmate — cruelly unplugged and erased by her mother — to far more complex beings, the nature of 'being' is central to the novel. ...[I] have to admire the ambition here, and as far as action-adventure — on physical as well as virtual levels — Crystal Silence offers solid entertainment.
    —M.A.Orthofer, Complete Review
  • ...the sort of kinetic, multi-stranded narrative typical of Japanese manga and anime. [...] As with Stanislaw Lem and Olaf Stapledon, this is SF to make the veins on your temples throb.
    Julian White, Starburst Magazine

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About the author

Fujisaki Shingo was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1962, and currently lives in Saitama prefecture with his wife, son and one Russian tortoise. Received an MS in Marine-Estuarine Environmental Science from the University of Maryland College Park. While working as a science magazine editor, reporter and video producer, he took up writing, publishing Crystal Silence (his debut work) through Asahi Sonorama in 1999. Crystal Silence was acclaimed by the Japanese SF community, earning the Best SF Novel of 1999 designation in the annual Hawakawa's SF Magazine ratings. He is currently a freelance author working on fiction novels, and a variety of science articles and other non-fiction works.
The first real SF he read was the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, recommended to him by his father when he was in middle school, and from there he gradually moved on to Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and other less "hard-core" SF works. Colin Wilson's criticism (and his novels) strongly influenced him when he was a high-school and undergraduate student, convincing him to read a wide range of works by foreign authors outside the SF genre and driving him to the conclusion that no author has yet surpassed Dostoyevsky. At one point his appreciation of poetry by masters including Rimbaud, Rilke and TS Eliot led him to want to become a poet, but the discovery that rhyme and meter were not as easy as they seemed convinced him to abandon that goal.
Following Crystal Silence, he applied the knowledge gained through his work in scientific journals and his own university studies to pen two SF novels featuring marine settings, and collaborated on a deep-sea non-fiction book for general audiences, in the process riding Japan's Shinkai 6500 exploration submersible to an underwater caldera some 1500 meters down. He has also written works set in a near-future world where biotechnology reigns supreme, and a mystery incorporating state-of-the-art neuroscience. In July 2012 his kaiki strange-story novel will be published, based on motifs from groundbreaking Japanese folklorist Yanagita Kunio.
In the near future he intends to write another novel set in the sea, as well as try his hand at entirely new genres such as historicals.

About the translator

A third-generation Japanese American, Kathleen Taji hails from Los Angeles, California. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with a major in East Asian Studies, she went to Japan to further her education, got married, and ended up living there for well over two decades. Although she is a technical translator, translating fiction is rapidly becoming a passion as well as a compulsion, especially in the science fiction, horror, and mystery genres. She currently resides in the suburbs of Los Angeles with her zebra finch and her beloved desert tortoise, Miz Pamie.