The science is back in science fiction

BiogenesisSpecimens submitted for examination:

  • Winged mouse: appears to weep blood-tears; tiny “wings” vibrate and glow faintly in the dark.
  • Female: pure white hair, no memory, abnormally-low body temperature.
  • Plant: diminutive foliage, hanging bell-shaped flowers, almost completely devoid of color; needs human blood for nourishment.
  • Marine creature: bumpy tumorous exterior; seems to have mysterious cancer-healing powers when ingested by humans.

Findings:

  • Species in danger of extinction
  • Species in danger of extinction
  • Species in danger of extinction
  • Species in danger of extinction

These “specimens” inhabit the pages of Tatsuaki Ishiguro’s four imaginative, haunting, and genre-bending tales, now in English for the first time in Biogenesis.

In both content and form, the short works in the collection at first seem to be scientific notes or reports. Yet, within the matter-of-fact, expository prose are startlingly beautiful descriptions and observations. The basic question is why some species survive, while others become extinct.

And the answer that Ishiguro reveals – that the existence of all species is precarious – will both challenge you and move you deeply.

Praise for Ishiguro’s “It is with the Deepest Sincerity that I Offer Prayers. . .”

“A metaphor of perdition, on the level of all of humanity, is concretized as a small, imaginary animal via the mediating factor of incurable diseases that bring death to two doctors of medicine. In our nation, such excellent conceptions used to belong to Kobo Abe.” – Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Laureate in Literature

“The work’s novel form and style will be remembered as a turning point in Japanese literature. Moreover, the exploration of the enigma of the ‘winged mouse’s extinction’ can also be easily enjoyed as the finest of mysteries.” – Koji Suzuki, author of Ring and Dark Water

“Why does such dry writing in the format of a report touch me so? Why is it so beautiful? No matter how many times I read it, the tears keep flowing. This is no ‘fusion of science and literature.’ It is the overwhelmingly reality of animate ‘life’ itself.” – Hideaki Sena, author of Parasite Eve