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Japanese Dreams: Fantasies, Fictions & Fairytales Paperback – August 31, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Catherynne M. Valente is a NYTimes-bestselling fantasy / SF author, whose novels include Palimpsest, Deathless, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. In 2011, the latter book ranked #8 on the NYTimes bestseller list. Its sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, was #5 on Time's Best Fiction of 2012. She has won the James Tiptree Jr. Award and three Locus Awards. As part of the SF Squeecast, she has won two Hugo Awards.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159021224X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590212240
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,873,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Thomas Cardamone on September 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My compliments to the editor: this book was strikingly even in the quality of the stories. As something of a literary Japanophile (preferring Tanizaki to Murakami) I fell in love with this tome. Though the authors offer up a variety of voices, they are all equally impressive in tone. They all display a competence and an economy that is particularly Japanese. A favorite was Jenn Reese's "Lady Blade," wherein a possessed sword is reawakened for battle; elegantly told, the story is infused with a mythological strength that, whether it's based on existing Japanese folklore or not, the very fact that it's impossible to tell what is imagined and what is based on tradition speaks to the overall strength of the collection. Ekaterina Sedia's "Ebb and Flow" is pure aquatic magic, and reads like an underwater fairy tale but again, with a level of polish that really puts the author's full talents on display. The same can be said for Ken Scholes' story, "Hibakusha Dreaming in the Shadowy Land of Death", a great tale of vanishing gods in an atomic age, one of three that deal with WW II, of which Erzebet Yellowboy's "The Green Dragon" is a thrilling read of a kamikaze pilot's secret love with the kind of twist one finds in the well-wrought tales of Kawabata, and if you know that writer, then you know there could be no higher praise. Really, I could go on and on about the quality of each story, and could only barely muster one criticism, and that would be that only one story deals directly with Japan's fascinating technological and cultural present: Robert Joseph Levy's nifty "The Rental Sister," but just buy this book and know you are getting one of those little collections of precious gems, to be savored slowly, as each story possesses its own particular shine and facets, and that together they make a remarkable necklace, much like the islands of Japan.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lovely and diverse collection to savour and revisit.
It would have been perfect if it could have included an actual story by Catherynne Valente.

If you enjoyed reading this, I recommend highly Ghost of a Smile: Stories
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantasies with a Japanese theme written by and for primarily Western audiences are sadly rare. So it's a shame these fine stories suffer from such a poor unprofessional editing job. Typos every few pages, unexplained switches in font styles for certain words, etc. (One particular Japanese term in the first story alone appears just italicized the first few times, then just capitalized, then italicized and capitalized for no discernible reason.) These kinds of issues are always jarring and rip me from my enjoyment of the book. Perhaps some readers will be better able to ignore them. While this may be common for self-published titles, a book produced by a publisher (even a small one) ought to be able to do better. Disappointing.
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