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Usurper of the Sun (Novel) Paperback – September 15, 2009
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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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)
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Top customer reviews
The plot is clever, and the first-contact part of the story is very well-imagined with some notion of just how alien aliens might be.
A good read.
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.
Bad: The characterization was a bit thin. The reading could get a bit dry.
Good: The reading was a bit dry because the author used Science! and Engineering! and discussed Ideas!
Seriously, I get happy when there's one brilliant idea in a sf novel. This book was full of them. I feel that it truly reflected what the nature of an encounter with aliens would be like. It opened my mind up to difficulties and ideas I'd not even considered, which I'm still pondering off and on thoughout the day. And best yet, that encounter was a reflection of humanity more than anything, of us at our best and worst.
I do recommend this novel, bearing in mind that it is hard sf. It does get easier to read about a quarter of the way in though, and I found the concepts within made the dry parts (which are skimmable after all) more than worth it.
The best thing I can compare it to in western media that people would recognize would be Carl Sagan's "Contact", though besides being well written, (mostly) scientifically accurate, first-contact stories, they aren't otherwise very similar to each other.
In my personal opinion I liked "Usurper of the Sun" better, though I did read "Contact" last several years ago, but I get similar "feelings" from this book as I remember having from reading "Contact".