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.

Gene Mapper, by Taiyo Fujii, Translated by Jim Hubbert.304 pages pagesHaikasoru, Fiction.

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.)