Vertical Vednesday - To the Light

New York, New York
July 26, 2009
Twenty years ago a strange phenomenon arose from the depths of the Japanese literary scene. A generation of young writers raised on the sci-fi, mystery, and fantasy epics of writers such as Hideyuki Kikuchi, Jiro Akagawa, and Kaoru Kurimoto began cranking out a new form of juvenile fiction inspired by the fantastic worlds and dynamic relationships found in their favorite novels, manga, and anime. In contrast to traditional forms of genre fiction these light novels, briefly called "fast novels," have always been quick lively reads filled with adventure and ambition, and because of their accessibility they quickly earned the attention of the Japanese TV and film industry.

Today, light novels are anything but light. A high percentage of Japan's new wave of literary greats, including OtsuIchi, NishiOishin, and Ohtaro Maijoh, are now coming from the pages of pop fiction magazines such as Kodansha's Pandora and Kadokawa's the Sneaker. Their books are bringing new life and new perspectives to an industry that was reluctant towards change. And after two decades of literally fighting their way through the Japanese publishing scene, light novels are looking to take on the world with heavyweights like FAUST, the Haruhi series, and Another Death Note.

In the next edition of Vertical's semimonthly book club, America's J-Lit leaders will guide readers through a lifetime of light novels--from the early fantastic tales of Slayers and Lodoss Wars to the mind-breaking Drill Hole in My Brain--as we reveal why the next wave of Japanese pop-culture will soon take us into the light.

Location: Books Kinokuniya New York, 1073 Avenue of the Americas
Date: July 29, 2009 (Wednesday), 6:30pm-8:00pm
Special Guest in attendence... Roland Kelts author of Japanimerica
Soft drinks and snacks will be provided.
Please RSVP by emailing [email protected]

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