^Epub ↬ 時砂の王 ⇲ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

When I started digging into Japanese SF, I came across Viz s Haikasoru line which ultimately introduced me to this book The ending resonated with me very deeply and reminded me of Kimi no Na Wa in a way. A surprisingly deep read with a moving ending Enjoyable and innovative Not quite immersive enough to get five stars but nearly there This is the kind of book I want to read sci fi for. Japan, AD 248 A story set in Japan before the emergence of samurai Oh, Issui Ogawa That explains it Miyo, the oracular Princess Himiko, has left the palace to walk through the countryside with her bodyguard Kan They climb Mount Shiki and spy the distant harbor of Suminoe Kan wonders if any of the ships they see might be from Wei, or Kentak, or Roma Roma Did the 3rd Century Japanese know about Rome Miyo answers that the distance makes it unlikely the embassy she sent to Roma had lost half its ships on the roundtrip voyage Diplomatic contact between Japan and Rome That doesn t sound right at all But sea trade has been improving, and it s only a matter of decades before permanent trade routes can be established Already Japan has had contact with the red skinned men of Kentak beyond the Eastern Ocean Wait what The men of Kentak and Roma had been eager to exchange laws and discover that Japan, like all lands they know, follow the Law of the Messenger, an ancient commandment for all people to cooperate with their neighbors to ward of the Disaster that must eventually come.Suddenly a mononoke, a giant insect like monster appears and tries to kill Miyo Kan defends her, but he s no match for the beast Then a mysterious figure appears and slays the mononoke The man introduces himself as O, a messenger from the future, and warns Miyo that this mononoke was just the vanguard of an army that s gathering beyond her borders.O, we soon learn, is an android from the year 2598 The mononoke, or ETs, have wiped out all life in the inner solar system, and humanity has retreated to the outer system and extra solar colonies The war had stalemated, with what little momentum remained on the side of humanity, so the ETs constructed time machines to take the war into the past Humans respond by dispatching an army of androids to the past to defend the timeline.All fairly standard stuff But the book is much better thought out than most time war stories I ve read For one thing, neither side mucks about with subtelty no one bothers with covert ops to kill great leaders before they re born, or to wreck some important historical event In fact, the Messengers have totally written off their original timeline and only wish to establish a victorious future When they emerge in a past era, they immediately contact the powers that be, tell them the situation, and ask for help Unfortunately this doesn t always help, and many of the new timelines fall to the ETs And even if the Messengers do emerge victorious in one era, the ETs can just travel downwhen a few centuries and start over.As both sides move further into the past, they deplete their supplies The ETs have to rely upon what they can build in each time, while the Messengers bootstrap local cultures to a level that can stand against the enemy By the time both sides reach the 3rd Century well, things are pretty grim for both sides.However, no matter how bad the situation gets, the book itself remains optimistic Our Heroes may be fighting against a massive zerg rush with their backs literally to the sea, but the tone never flips to Doomed, doomed, doomidy doomed mode Just as in Tolkien, you know there s a eucatastrophe waiting to happen When it finally comes, it borders on a deus ex machina, even though it follows logically from the rules laid out for time travel.One thing I dislike about much SF is the way protagonists always have a post Enlightenment mindset no matter what sort of culture they re from Ogawa avoids this nicely, having Miyo be alien than O At one point, O describes the American Civil War to her and Kan, and they both respond in horror at the cruelty of the North for wanting to free slaves they believe slaves would die without masters Although Miyo s a strong female character, she is in no way a feminist in the way Robert Jordan s or George R R Martin s women are She dislikes her position of mystic royalty, for which she was selected Lama like, but she doesn t whine about it the way most Western heroes in the Campbellian style do Instead of avoiding the Call to Adventure, she shoulders the responsibility because it s her responsibility.O, for his part, is than human without any of the pinnochioisms usually found in such characters in Western science fiction He s not the sort to ask, What is this love which you speak of He does have a quest for meaning in his life, but it s an entirely human one, not much different from what Mandella goes through in The Forever War.The ETs, however, get no development whatsoever They re nothing than your typical bug horde, with no signs of reasoning despite their obvious technological prowess We eventually discover that they were created by an alien race to wipe out humanity for reasons that would make the Minbari say, Dude, that s screwed up The book is a mere 200 pages but packs in than a thousand page doorstopper One subplot of the book involves a Messenger who s composing a novel about caterpillars defending a tree from crabs that want to prune it This allegory of the war, even half finished, is said to be longer than the Mahabhrata We re given ten pages about timelines that Harry Turtledove could turn into a ten book series, and glimpses of dozen equally epic But Ogawa restrains himself to keep the story on track. I ve heard it said that readers will accept one blatantly ludicrous or impossible thing in a story without much complaint, but add in another one and eyebrows start going up, to say nothing of every additional one past that The problem with including time travel in a story is that it s almost always than one blatantly ludicrous thing at the same time, and if not done well, it s really easy to get the reader lost in trying to figure out how the time travel works instead of engaging with the story.Or at least that s what usually happens to me, and that s part of the problem I had with The Lord of the Sands of Time It s the story of a future humanity beset by an implacable alien army that has already wiped human life out from most of the inner solar system until in desperation, humanity sends AI soldiers called Messengers back in time to try to nurture humanity to a point where they ll be in a better strategic position to fight the ETs when they arrive Of course, the ETs send themselves back in time to prevent this from happening, and the book jumps back and forth between times where the Messengers try to stem the robotic alien tide.Much of the book takes place in early Japan or, technically, Yamatai and follows HimikoMiyo and O, a Messenger Miyo, the Shaman Queen of Yamatai, is probably the best part of the book None of the characters are drawn in much than broad strokes except for her and O, but she s the most common viewpoint character and half of O s personality is being a stoic AI Messenger who must defend humanity Miyo stands out partially because she s one of two characters with than one aspect to their personality, but she s legitimately interesting Taken from her parents at a young age to become the Shaman Queen, disliking her status and her isolation and rebelling in ways that maintain her power while showing that she s not just an empty symbol, she adapts quickly to the arrival of the mononoke and leads her people into battle under horrific circumstances and becoming their leader in fact as well as in name There s no hesitation and no complaining, she does it because it s her duty to her people I think a book just about Miyo, without all the time travel and the Messengers and the ETs, would be a great read.Unfortunately, the rest of the book wasn t really up to that same nuance It reminded me a lot of light novels like Scrapped Princess A Tale of Destiny I described it as bubblegum sci fi to my book group when we started reading this, and I stand by that assertion Ogawa doesn t spend a lot of time on any of the secondary characters, being content to define them by a single strong character trait Takahikone is the Scheming Vizier, Alexandr is the Warrior Poet, Sayaka is the Mysterious Woman, nearly everyone on Earth in the 21st century chapter or the World War II chapter is a member of Fractious Humanity who Cannot Unite Even in the Face of a Threat and the time travel doesn t even make a bit of sense So going back in time means they re in a separate timeline and have wiped out the future due to the butterfly effect, right Okay, that s fine But then, random Messengers start disappearing because the ancestors of the people who designed or built them are killed or never born If that s possible, wouldn t the entire Messenger army just vanish as soon as the timeline that created them became non viable But that means that they would have never gone back in time to make changes, which means they would exist, which means they would have gone back in time, which means That said, I did like the reveal on the ETs view spoiler They don t exist yet The humans sent a probe to a nearby star that disrupted their evolution by messing with their microbial predecessors, so when they finally did evolve, they built up a giant robot army and hurled in millions of years back in time to inflict as much damage on the humans as the humans inflicted on them, eye for an eye style This means that the initial timeline is actually already the result of time travel tampering That was genuinely well done hide spoiler Interesting read Humanity seeks to save itself by sending artificial soldiers, and a supporting AI called Cutty Sark, into the past to defeat the insidious ET Split across two interweaving stories one deals with Messenger O in ancient Japan, while the other looks back and yet forward at Messenger O s experiences prior to his arrival in Japan, starting in the 26th century.Shocked some Hollywood studio hasn t done an Edge of Forever with this one already the Tom Cruise film being based on a Japanese book called All You Need Is Kill Maybe I haven t looked far enough ahead into the development timeline to spot it.Short read, well worth it. I think that the Japanese have a penchant for open ended stories and for scary villains that are either faceless or else inscrutable and abhorrent in their moralities This book was no exception.In The Lord of the Sands of Time, humanity in the future has been decimated by a faceless enemy alien menace Whoever the adversary is, they have unleashed monstrous creations that are designed for one purpose to kill humanity Humanity has tried everything it can think of, from talking, to even surrendering, and the enemy will not respond.Eventually, the earth is lost and humanity is driven to the stars where they previously had some exploration At this point, mankind begins breakthroughs to defeat the enemy and begins to gain hope But there is a catch Both humanity and the aliens have utilized breakthroughs in time travel Now humanity attempts to destroy the aliens in the past and the aliens send their weapons called ET s, though a different abbreviation to stop humanity from progressing enough to oppose them.In the midst of this, breakthrough technologies allow the creation of very human like Artificial Intelligences AI s called Messengers Their task, to develop a connection to humanity before being sent backwards in time on their mission.We meet several of these messengers and their leader of sorts, another AI called Cutty Sark , through the point of view of our main protagonist, Messenger O short for Orville Orvill, like his brethren, must suffer much heartbreak, some of it seen and much unseen but alluded to, in their mission It leaves a really sad taste when considered The only good part is that this is a happy ending, and with a definitive victory, unlike All You Need Is Kill which is another Japanese work of a similar premise.Despite my reference to an open ending, it was a happy one, but it was rather abrupt and there wasn t enough of a celebration given for my taste Also, there was a hint of than memories and that s all I ll say on that to avoid major spoilers But in the end, though bittersweet, it was a happy ending.As for the deaths, well, Tolkien in fantasy or David Weber in sci fi would be reminiscent of the death toll That added both to the sadness when reading the story as well as the happiness and joy at the good ending At the same time, there was a sort of combination bitter and triumphant taste in my mouth The forces of humanity are victors and will extract a price from the enemy, but given what you learn of the motives of enemy, revenge seems like a pointless and sad effort that increases the overall evil.This really was something to think about in terms of heroes, villains, victory, ethics in war, so on I will also say that the way the action and narrative was split between the main story in early common era Japan, and other timelines, was actually quite effective There was none of the disjointedness that such plot devices sometimes can fall victim to.A really enjoyable and thought provoking read. I suspect that if you like alternate history and military science fiction, you ll really like this book The worldbuilding is cool, and the writing itself is strong However, the copy on the back cover makes it look like it s going to be a sweeping, actiony, time travel romance, and that is not what it is I don t particularly like military SF or alternate history, so the book was a disappointment for me, but it may not be for you This was my first sci fi book It made me cry, laugh and blush Words cannot describe this book except forI loved it. Over the weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of re reading an OwnVoices Japanese, science fiction novel calledThe Lord of the Sands of Timeby Issui Ogawa for Dewey s 24 Hour Readathon It s a book that I ve owned for a long time, and one that I had only read when I originally bought it After reading it on Saturday, I mentally kicked myself because this is a book that I should read frequently There s depth within the one hundred ninety some odd pages of this novel then there is within an entire multi volume saga of science fiction books.The book revolves around a cyborg named Messenger Orville who was created in the 26th century only to be sent back into multiple points in time with fellow cyborgs as an effort to save humanity from going extinct via an alien race known simply as ET.One of the main aspects of the book that I found to be very compelling is the era of 3rd century Japan, which is a focal point within the book In Japanese history, in very early times almost to ancient era, Japan was divided into four countries, each corresponding to one of the points on a compass The ruler of these regions was a woman, chosen at a very young age, to bear the title of Himiko Himiko was originally a shaman queen, and the chosen girl who bore the title of Himiko was a figurehead and person of worship for the Japanese people She was someone to whom they all looked up to for guidance and prosperity This is something that is rarely explored within Japanese literature, particularly modern Japanese literature Because this era is examined in conjunction with speculative elements, it makes this small book one hell of a fucking read If you are a fan of Japanese history at its most earliest, then this will definitely be of interest to you The adaptation of this historical era is woven quite spectacularly with the plot to create a fascinating and evocative thrill ride.Historical dressing aside, there are many other things to enjoy withThe Lord of the Sands of Timesuch as our protagonist, Messenger O The interesting notion of a fabricated machine with a highly adaptive and sentient artificial intelligence system being able to feel emotions similarly to humans is mind fucking blowing It s written with great care to portray the internal conflicts that the cyborgs face when dealing with emotions with which they have no familiarity It s wickedly smart and deliciously contemplative Couple this with human interactions and a world where relations between machine and humans are just a natural part of life, you ve got my favourite part of the entire novel.Other pleasant qualities an electrically charged pace, the different periods of history reimagined with retro futuristic traits, an authentic and bittersweet romance, and motifs fuelled with conflicting ideals on the malice, greed, and corruption that shapes human nature.I highly recommend this novel to any and all fans of speculative fiction I would also like to mention that literature like this is one of the many reasons that I fucking love Japanese literature so goddamn much.4.75 heartbeats outta 5 ^Epub ↜ 時砂の王 ☆ Sixty Two Years After Human Life On Earth Was Annihilated By Rampaging Alien Invaders, The Enigmatic Messenger O Is Sent Back In Time With A Mission To Unite Humanity Of Past Eras During The Second World War, In Ancient Japan, And At The Dawn Of Humanity To Defeat The Invasion Before It Begins However, In A Future Shredded By Love And Genocide, Love Waits For O Will O Save Humanity Only To Doom Himself