Friday, October 19, 2012

100 Years of Underpinnings

This week my new novel surfaced on Amazon USA, and will be out shortly via Amazon UK and Amazon Japan.

After the big earthquake and tsunami in the Tōhoku region north of Tokyo last year, I felt like I very much wanted to give something back to Japan, my home for the past 11 years – a place that’s equal parts inspiring and puzzling, a fascinating collusion of kitsch and cool, with a history ten times longer than that of my home town, Melbourne.

One Hundred Years of Vicissitude was originally an idea I toyed with in 2007, and then shelved while I finished off Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

Some of the original notes did make it through to the final version, but at least 98 percent was written between September 2011, and April 2012 – and the tone is completely different.

The novel was swayed as much by family (my late grandfather Les, my wife Yoko and my six-year-old daughter Cocoa figured significantly in its composition) as it is by my two ‘home’ towns of Tokyo and Melbourne.

Aside the essential story of identical twin geisha, war, death and saké, other things weighed in on the mix and I’ve decided to outline some of these here – as they deserve all the kudos they can get – so, if you’re curious at all, read on at the website of esteemed noir/crime/mystery reviewer/journalist Elizabeth A. White.

Monday, October 15, 2012

100 Years of Vicissitude (published)

Hey, mates,

Yep, it's now confirmed – my second novel One Hundred Years of Vicissitude has just been published and is available as a paperback through new imprint Perfect Edge Books.

The novel is available here via Amazon USA – only $12 @ the moment (a $6 discount) in case anyone is… er… vaguely curious.

The Kindle version isn’t yet available, and orders through Amazon UK and Amazon Japan take a little longer. Still, friends of mine in Scotland and San Francisco already have a copy – though I haven’t seen one yet.

What’s the synopsis?

Roughly-speaking, this is the story of identical twin centenarians born on the first day of the Great Depression, one of whom loathes the other; it’s a purgatorial tour through twentieth-century Japanese history, with a ghostly geisha who has seen it all as a guide and a corrupt millionaire as her reluctant companion. Thrown into the milieu are saké, B-29s, Lewis Carroll, Sir Thomas Malory, Melbourne, The Wizard of Oz, and a dirigible – along with the allusion that Red Riding Hood might just be involved…

Some of the action also takes place in Melbourne as this is 5% a sequel/prequel to Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, which is actually available as a free PDF/epub.

Anyway, if you're bored, take a look-see. And the pretentious-sounding title is tongue-in-cheek, fear not...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Incredible Zorori

He's a fox, he wears a Zorro mask, has 'Zoro' as part of his name (we'll forgive the missing 'r'), the blighter gets up to mischief, he unleashes belches and farts, and even has his nose shot off by a laser...

How was I ever going to be able to resist Kaiketsu Zorori, aka Incredible Zorori, a character created by Japanese writer/illustrator Yukata Hara, a man who also apparently wrote a tome called The Famous Fried Chicken Primary School.

To be honest, I was all set to do something this month that segued into a surreal Japan, the twisted lives of geisha and/or a warped afterlife, to coincide with the publication on October 16th of my new novel One Hundred Years of Vicissitude.  

But my daughter Cocoa just got back from the public library with her latest batch of the adventures of her hero Zorori, and I of course sat down to read over her shoulder. Surreal it is - comic adventures through a world populated by madcap animals and oddball beasties.

Cocoa has a lot to get through, and you can read more about Zorori @ Forces Of Geek.