Japanese science fiction has a long history. The genre could be considered to stretch back as far as the eighth-century tale of time traveler Urashima Taro or 10th-century story of moon-princess Kaguya-hime, but it was the rapid changes brought on during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) that generated one of the nation’s first pieces of speculative fiction with Shunro Oshikawa’s “Kaitei Gunkan” (“Undersea Warship”). Over the decades since, Japanese sci-fi has foreshadowed changes in society, predicted wars and anticipated the emergence of new technologies. One Japan’s newest sci-fi writers to write about — and through — the latter is Taiyo Fujii.
Born on Amami Oshima, an island between Kyushu and Okinawa, Fujii was working as a software developer when digital platforms and open source programming began causing a revolution in publishing. Embracing the new world of digital self-publishing, he released his first novel, “Gene Mapper: Core,” as an e-book. It sold more than 10,000 copies and as a result he was contacted by a renowned publisher of Japanese sci-fi, Hayakawa Publishing, and asked to write a full-length novel, which has now been translated into English. (He has since published a second novel, "Orbital Cloud," as well as a number of short stories and novellas. "Orbital Cloud" won the 2014 Japan SF Grand Prize but as yet there are no plans for it to be translated into English.)