Thursday, September 3, 2015

Phantasm Japan: Fantasies Light and Dark, From and About Japan

Phantasm Japan: Fantasies Light and Dark, From and About Japan
Nick Mamatas
895.608 P493

Written by different authors, the short stories in this collection are an exploration of speculative fiction in the context of Japanese culture, and will be enthusiastically received by a niche audience that enjoys genre fiction and is familiar with Japan.

Newcomers to sci-fi/fantasy and Japanese culture may find the collection tedious and confusing, but the intended audience will revel in discovering the intricacies of each tale's world-building and delight in the appearances of creatures from Japanese myth and folklore. The entries, ranging from humor to horror with a dose of the surreal, are literary and often somewhat experimental in writing style—several use the second-person narrative voice, or switch from present to past tense for effect. Some are translated into English from Japanese; others are written in English about Japan.

Standouts include "Shikata Ga Nai: The Bag Lady's Tale" by Gary A. Braunbeck, a haunting story about memory, family, and belonging amid the Japanese American incarceration during World War II, and "For Those Who Hunt Monster Hunters" by Tim Pratt, which explores themes of race, stereotypes, and female empowerment. Most of the stories have fairly minimal teen appeal, with the exception of "Girl, I Love You" by Nadia Bulkin, which focuses on high school bullying and suicide. Buy this unique collection where it will have an audience. VERDICT This atmospheric collection of short stories weaves a mesmerizing web of science fiction and fantasy for the right reader

(from School Library Journal)

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