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Usurper of the Sun (Novel) Paperback – September 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Usurper of the Sun
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Haikasoru (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421527715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421527710
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Housuke Nojiri was born in Mie, Japan, in 1961. After working in instrumentation control, CAD programming and video game design, he published his first work, The Blind Spot of Veis, based on the video game Creguian, in 1992. He gained popularity with his subsequent works, the Creguian series and the Rocket Girl series. In 2002, he published Usurper of the Sun, ushering in a new era of space science fiction in Japan. After first appearing as a series of short stories, Usurper won the Seiun Award for best Japanese science fiction novel of 2002. His other works include Pendulum of Pinieru and Fuwa-Fuwa no Izumi. More information can be found on his website: http://njb.virtualave.net/web/ (Japanese only)

Customer Reviews

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Just finished reading this incredible novel called.
OrionKaelin
IN terms of believability you could take tons of theories about this book and sound like a genius.
Sa'id Patrick
It's a very straightforward presentation and a quick read.
Joe E.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Very much in the realms of a hard science-fiction first contact context, particularly reminiscent at times of Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Housuke Nojiri's 2002 Seiun award winning novel for best Japanese science fiction novel considers a scenario where intelligent life originating outside our solar system is discovered and the impact it could have on our society.

The discovery in 2006 of a large tower protruding from the planet Mercury is the first sign that something unusual is happening (although it would seem from the prologue that preparations for what is to occur start back as far as 1424). It's first spotted by a young Japanese high-school student Aki Shiraishi as part of her astronomy studies, but fascinated speculation about its origins turn to fear as a vast ring is created around the planet that threatens to block out light from the sun. As disaster beckons in the subsequent years, Aki's long interest in the construct created by what become known as the 'Builders' takes her on the first manned probe in 2022 to investigate the phenomenon and, if possible, destroy it before it destroys the earth...

The huge amounts of speculation given over to scientific concepts can make Usurper of the Sun a little bit heavy and dry reading for certain passages of the novel, but only because Housuke Nojiri takes the time to consider the matter deeply, from a scientific as well as a from a human viewpoint. It takes in the nature of intelligence and communication - and how artificial intelligence may provide us with the means to communicate, and more importantly, 'think' about the universe around us on another level if we are to make any significant breakthroughs in how to reach beyond. What is marvellous is that the author is able to consider these ideas within the context of what remains a fascinating and often thrilling science-fiction adventure.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book didn't grab me right away...in fact I put it down twice, but once I got past first 50 or so pages, it didn't matter.

The book tells the story of the ambitious Aki, the first person to see the construction of the ring around the sun. As the story unfolds, we see her great desire to make first contact and how this desire is channeled. The story shows a woman who continues to follow her earliest ambitions to the end. However, this ambition seems to come at a great cost to her, personally. I've read some Japanese horror/sci fi in the past and have come to expect characters that aren't as developed as they could be...there isn't a lot of writing with a great depth and breadth of emotions. Maybe it was the limitations of the short story format (as the three parts were originally short stories) but I wanted more about Aki.

However, the actual contact at the end is interesting and worth the read. It literally took my breath away as I read the descriptions of the aliens and the way they acted when confronted by the humans. It really took the whole idea of first contact and turned it upside down--actually imagining something completely alien is something that not only takes guts--your aliens could be so alien that the reader doesn't see them as "real characters" (ala Aliens in Aliens) or they become too much like humans--but also real skill on the part of the writer. And while I love Schismatrix, Bruce Sterling's aliens,seemed parodies of aliens, while these aliens truly seemed alien in a good, interesting, yet strange way. This was great balancing act on the part Nojiri. We got aliens that were really alien and yet managed to be human as well. This is really what saved the whole book for me.

If you haven't read Japanese fiction before, you might want to try something else first, but if you want a great first contact book, this might be it.
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By Ghanima on September 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I wanted this book, finally bought it at the used book store. First, I have to say, so believable. SF with aliens tends to feel a little outlandish. It's not a bad thing, but the very real, sparse sort if gravity this novel has was refreshing and kind of brilliant. I appreciate that it was not a love story, and I appreciate the stoic focus of Aki, the main character. I felt like the timeline developed in the chapters was stable, I never felt like I may have missed anything important. For a book that was a quick read (between those 4 and up book series so common in SF Lit.) it was awesome. Recommended it to my husband, and he liked it as well. If you're even a little on the fence about it, take a chance. it's pretty amazing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel was a very pleasant read. A restrained, thoughtful, character-focused hard science fiction yarn with a maddening yet tantalizing mystery all throughout - Why won't they talk to us? Do they not hear us? Do they not care? Are they capable of responding? Who are 'they' anyway?

I don't intend to write a novel myself, but I will say the conclusion is at once surprising, eminently plausible, and satisfying. As someone with a background in neuroscience and psychology, I found the revelations about the nature of consciousness and communication that come at the end are spot on and fascinating to see applied in the context of a sci fi story. Recommended both for the tale, and the introspection at the end.
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By Moonhawk on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
This one picked up a bunch of awards in Japan when it first came out, and made the author a name. He deserves it, the ideas that abound in this book, and the good hard science we see makes for a lot of thought provoking and interesting reading. There is a lovely tragic romance, and a lot of personal sacrifice that seem all too real, something you don't see too often. This novel can be a little tough to read at times, i think, but well worth the time spent. I recommend it to others, with the warning of what kind of novel it is, and that drops it to a a 4 star for me, though I wish I could give it the five it probably deserves, in my opinion it is just a little too 'dry' to rate that for me.
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Usurper of the Sun (Novel)
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