We are in Tokyo! Arrived via Northwest. Flight ok—tiny seats but at least they serve up all the bad movies you want on your tiny screen (Namastey London isn’t bad: it had the proper amount of cheesy pop and fun dancing).
We were met at the airport by Kelly’s editor at Hayakawa, Naoki Shimizu, who very kindly accompanied us all the way to our hotel (the amazing Hotel Grand Palace). He also gave Kelly a copy of the new hardcover Japanese edition of Magic for Beginners—which has a lovely painting of a telephone box on the cover, a review in the Nikkei paper, and her schedule (Tues/Wed: busy!)
How sensible it seemed that there are regularly scheduled buses from the airport to all the big hotels. We picked up a rental cell phone at the airport, maybe we ate something, but mostly what we did was wonder why we were awake until, happily, we were not.
Now it is Saturday evening. We started out the day with the fabby Japanese breakfast at the hotel (rice/rice porridge, miso soup, poached eggs, pot of green tea, some fishy and meaty bits for those that like that sort of thing) then made a quick trip out doors. It is melty: hot and humid. So it was a slow trip around a few blocks then to Lawson to see how the onigiri had progressed in the last 10 years. (Still tasty!) Lucky we got those snacks, because Mari Kotani had arranged for us to see the Takarazuka Revue. We were originally meant to go on Tuesday with Eileen Gunn and others but Kelly has interviews all day so we were thinking we would miss it. However, Mari not only arranged for us to go today, but also bought our tickets. Mari is traveling with Eileen, John Berry, and Ellen D., so we have not seen her yet. Instead her assistant, Yasuko Nakaegawa came to the hotel and took us (in a taxi with those groovy self-closing doors) to the Takaruzaka Theater (Thanks Yasuko!). We got there just on time and loved our seats: by themselves on the end of a row so that we could both stretch our feet out each way. (Still cramped up from the flight!)
The Revue was fantastic and shouldn’t be missed (even if you somehow managed to miss it in its home city of Osaka while teaching there for a year, cough). It’s an all-women cast, something still unusual today. (The audience was also something like 90% women.) There were two shows, Valencia, 90 minutes of something about Napoleon and Spain, then a mind-blowing 30-minute show, Space Fantasista. Which is really something to write home about. Not so much the plot (um, the origins of the universe?) but the lights, songs, dances, and the way way way out costumes. Feathers. Lots and lots of feathers. There was a shop where you could buy a special edition $600 DVD of one of their shows. We bought four, of course. Be ready for them at Xmas!
After that it was hard to be impressed by anything. Except we were in Ginza and went to goggle over the new toys at the Sony store (shiny! small! like Apple, but Sony!), eat pizza (hee hee! Italian food is great in Japan), go to HMV (hello Mayumi Kojima! Super Butter Dog!—nothing new but listened to a lot. Any recommendations welcome!), wander round lovely stores (all the lovelier with a/c—we were told it is an extra hot summer this year, yay…!), and take the subway back. Yay public transport. Now to avoid sleeping too early so that we will not zoink awake at 5 AM. Again.
We have some email access but will be mostly off it until Sept. 14 when we will be back in the office in Easthampton (and to the Brooklyn Book Fest on the 16th, eek!). There may be some more We Did This and That from Japan. It Depends. We are going to the WorldCon (schedule below) and then will travel about some. Most of that will probably be off the grid. Yay!
|Fri||1400||What Do You Read Passionately Besides SF||Is cross-genre reading all that popular? Can an author of one genre rightly expect his/her readers to follow when the author switches genres? What, as a fan, do you like to read? Do you read outside that genre? As an author, do you write outside that genre?||Grant CARRINGTON, Kelly LINK, Kirsten (KJ) BISHOP, Marianne PLUMRIDGE-EGGLETON, Susan DE GUARDIOLA, Carolina GOMEZ LAGERLOF|
|Fri||1700||Introducing the Triptree Award and the Sense of Gender Award||Reona KASHIWAZAKI, Yutaka EBIHARA, Hisayo OGUSHI, Tomoyo KASUYA, Megumi KOBAYASHI, Yasuhiko NISHIZAWA, Natsuko MORI, Mari KOTANI, Kelly LINK, Candas Jane DORSEY, Eileen GUNN|
|Sat||1600||Is It Really Strange?: New Slipstream||Bruce Stterling coined the term Slipstream nearly twenty years ago. Since then a bunch of new writers has written a lot of that kind of unclassifiable strange fiction. But is it a type, or subgenre? One thing is clear now. Many writers in their thirties now prefer to write bizarre and surrealistic stories within our genre. And it happens in Japan, too.||Kelly LINK, Patrick NIELSEN HAYDEN, Mark L. VAN NAME, Takashi OGAWA|
|Sun||1000||Small Press Publishing in the United States, Japan, Europe …||Some of the most exciting work in science fiction, fantasy and horror is produced by small presses. What makes a book good? Can small presses save us from degeneration? What challenges in design, production, and marketing do small presses face? Can labors of love make money?||Daniel SPECTOR, Bob EGGLETON, Charles ARDAI, John D. BERRY, Kelly LINK|
Fri 1000 Sprawl Fiction
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Lou ANDERS, Yoshio KOBAYASHI
“Sprawl fiction” was coined to show how new writers, most in their thirties, are trying to expand our genre yet still loving its very core, straight SF. Terms like “new Weird”, “interstitial”, “strange fiction” or “new fabulist” don’t cover the trend fully. It is a natural reflection of our urban society and probably heralds the new stage of our evolution; to the stars. We talk about why the new generation slipstream is not the fusion of literary fiction and SF/F.
Fri 1200 How Healthy is the Short Story
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Joe HALDEMAN, Larry NIVEN
For decades, there has been talk of the death of short fiction in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Are markets shrinking? Is the quality less than it was thirty years ago?
Fri 1700 Kaffeeklatsche
Participants: Gavin J. GRANT
Sun 1400 The Short Story’s Role in Fantastic Fiction
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Larry NIVEN, Pat CADIGAN
Short fiction rarely gets the attention that novels do by reviewers. It is harder to sell collections and anthologies than novels. The panelists, writers and editors of short fiction discuss their thoughts about the shorter forms (short story, novelette, novella) of fantastic fiction.
Sun 1600 Lost Tribes of Cult Novels
Participants: Elizabeth Anne HULL, Gavin J. GRANT, Yoshio KOBAYASHI
Where have the cult novels gone? They were once legion; “Stranger in a Stranger Land”, “Cat’s Cradle”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “Illuminatus!”, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”, “Neuromancer” and “The Wasp Factory” . But what about “Snow Crash” and “Harry Potter”? Why aren’t they cult novels?