Friday, December 9, 2011

10 Billion Days And 100 Billion Nights

I was pleasantly surprised last night to hear NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse covering "perhaps the greatest Japanese science-fiction novel of all time", Ryu Mitsuse's 1967 book 百億の昼と千億の夜 (Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights). (Usually the only sf he pays attention to is of the Stephen King/Michael Crichton variety.)

The premise of the novel is reminiscent of the kind of extravagant metaphysical drama that Roger Zelazny was known for, and its psychedelic overtones reflect the zeitgeist of the time. Here's how the publisher's blurb describes it.

Ten billion days—that is how long it will take the philosopher Plato to determine the true systems of the world. One hundred billion nights—that is how far into the future Jesus of Nazareth, Siddhartha, and the demigod Asura will travel to witness the end of all worlds.

Sounds trippy. This is one of the few works of Mitsuse-san's to be translated into English. Another is his novelette, The Sunset, 2217 A.D., which was included in Frederik Pohl's anthology, Best Science Fiction for 1972. Let's hope we see even more in the future.

10 Billion Days And 100 Billion Nights reviewed by Alan Cheuse


Robert Saint John said...

I *just* got this on the Kindle earlier this week. There a few books ahead of it in my queue, but I'm really looking forward to it. We don't get nearly enough Japanese SF in the West.

Jerry Cornelius said...

Especially not of the classic titles. I just wish my local library carried more of them. They're okay when it comes to manga, but not so great on the book side of things.

Anonymous said...

Any idea how/where to get the original japanese version of this book?