Speculative Japan 2


Speculative Japan 2

"The Man Who Watched the Sea" and Other Tales
Introduction by Darrell SCHWEITZER

The second book of the groundbreaking Speculative Japan series, this volume presents a selection of never-before published translations covering a broad range of speculative fiction... from gritty SF to soft fantasy, it offers glimpses into the diverse and rich imaginations of modern Japanese authors.

“…the stories you’ll find collected here will broaden your view of what is possible or imaginable, provoking unusual — and sometimes uncomfortable — thoughts. That is as it should be.”
—David BRIN, preface to Speculative Japan Volume 1

While the first volume in the Speculative Japan series concentrated on outstanding works from authors positioned solidly in the SF field, we have deliberately widened the scope of this volume to include stories that are a bit outside the usual definition of "science fiction" , choosing instead to concentrate on "speculative" in an attempt to explore a bit of the immense universe of the Japanese imagination. Most of these authors are appearing in English for the first time, and are sure to open up new dimensions in reading pleasure in a variety of genres.


AWA Naoko 安房 直子
"A Gift from the Sea" 海からの贈り物
translated by Sheryl A. HOGG

ENJOE Toh 円城 塔
"Freud" Freud
translated by Kevin STEINBACH

ŌHARA Mariko 大原 まり子
"The Whale that Sang on the Milky Way Network" 銀河ネットワークで歌を歌ったクジラ
translated by Nancy H. ROSS

OGAWA Issui 小川 一水
"Old Vohl's Planet" 老ヴォールの惑星
translated by Jim HUBBERT

ONDA Riku 恩田 陸
"The Big Drawer" 大きな引き出し
translated by Nora Stevens HEATH

KAJIO Shinji 梶尾 眞治
"Emanon: A Reminiscence" おもいでエマノン
translated by Edward LIPSETT

KITAKUNI Kōji 北國 浩二
"Midst the Mist" 靄の中
translated by Rossa O'MUIREARTAIGH

KOBAYASHI Yasumi 小林 泰三
"The Man Who Watched the Sea" 海を見る人
translated by Anthea MURPHY

TAKAGI Nobuko 高樹 のぶ子
"Melk's Golden Acres" メルクの黄金畑
translated by Dink TANAKA
This translation won the 2009 Kurodahan Press Translation Prize.

TANI Kōshū 谷 甲州
"Q-Cruiser Basilisk" 仮装巡洋艦バシリスク
translated by Simon VARNAM

NAKAI Norio 中井 紀夫
"Mountaintop Symphony" 山の上の交響楽
translated by Terry GALLAGHER

HORI Akira 堀 晃
"Open Up" 開封
translated by Roy BERMAN

YAMAO Yūko 山尾 悠子
"Perspective" 遠近法
translated by Ginny Tapley TAKEMORI


  • Most of the stories contained in this collection were focused mostly on sci-fi rather than fantasy, but it was still great to read them as they offered a very fresh perspective and approach on the themes they chose to follow ... I was very happy to discover some new authors whose work I would very much like to follow.
    —Akylina Printziou, Literary Sisters
  • ...the anthology goes from strength to strength. 'Speculative fiction' can mean many different things, and I was particularly impressed by the range represented here—from the hard SF of Tani Kōshū's 'Q-Cruiser Basilisk' to Takagi Nobuko's subtle not-quite-ghost-story 'Melk's Golden Acres'. [...] For me ['The Old Man Who Watched the Sea' by Kobayashi Yasumi] was the stand-out story in a very strong collection, and inspired me to pick up a collection of Kobayashi stories last time I was in Japan.
    —Lydia Moëd
  • ...an excellent anthology without even a single dull story. The premise or idea behind each story in the book is uniquely fantastic. [...] the overall readability of the translations maintains a high standard, so even the more interesting linguistic experiments of the original authors are conveyed in solid English that is fully aware of the idioms of Anglophone speculative fiction. As a result, a reader ... can effortlessly jump from one world into another, and the experience is thoroughly enjoyable.
    Kathryn Hemmann, Contemporary Japanese Literature blog
  • There is a wide range of tone and quality in both stories and translations ... But in bringing thirteen Japanese authors to the attention of a wider English-speaking audience, this is one of the most important contributions to Japanese prose SF abroad in the last twenty years.
    Jonathan Clements, Schoolgirl Milky Crisis
  • ...you might ask, 'how Japanese is this'? And the answer is, not very. It's excellent speculative fiction, to a universal standard.
    John Paul Catton, Emails from the Edge
  • Speculative Japan is a wild journey across alien terrain. ...defies characterization in any genre, illustrating that the term speculative fiction is a rambling mansion with many peculiar residents, some comic, some contemplative, some scientific, some folkish. And these residents are now accessible to the non-Japanese reader by virtue of these new translations, giving you a bewildering glimpse of contemporary Japanese imagination.
    David Labi, Metropolis
  • With this collection, all thirteen stories [have] never before been published and all but one author [has] never before been included in either of the prior publications (Shinji Kajio is in both of Kurodahan's collections). That means there are twelve new authors! And as a bonus, each story is translated by a different translator, too. This gives the collection a broad range of content via the authors and style via the translators.
    Mike Dalke, Potpourri of Science Fiction Literature


  • viii + 274 pages
  • Trade paperback 5" x 8" (127mm x 203mm)
  • ISBN: 978-4-902075-18-2
  • Cover: Katō Naoyuki

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