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Hoshi Shinichi

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Fan.

(1926-1997) One of the pioneers of Japanese sf, who began publishing work of genre interest with "Sekisutora" ["Sextra"] for Uchūjin #2 in 1957. Hoshi, who specialized in the short-short story, became the first full-time sf writer in Japan. His stories were influential on the younger generation, and he was largely responsible for the popularization of sf and its way of thinking. He developed a writing style that gives an sf flavour even to his non-sf works, and which is appropriate to his attacks on everyday values. Although he was sometimes called the Japanese Ray Bradbury, his writings are more satirical than poetic: comparison with Fredric Brown might be closer to the mark. A graduate of Tokyo University, he helped Takumi Shibano found Uchūjin ["Cosmic Dust"], the first Japanese Fanzine, in 1957. His best known story is "Bokko-chan" (1958; trans under same title June 1963 F&SF), which was assembled in Jinzo Bijin ["A Man-Made Beauty"] (coll 1961). By 1983 he had published over 1000 stories, including two sf/fantasy novels: Muma No Hyoteki ["Target of Nightmare"] (1964), in which a ventriloquist is controlled by his doll, and Koe No Ami ["The Voice Net"] (1970), in which – anticipating later tales of Internet Paranoia – a telephone network becomes conscious and takes control of human society. Other works included historical novellas, collections of unconventional short essays, and fictionalized documentaries including biographies of his father and grandfather. An important multivolume retrospective is Hoshi Shinichi No Sakuhinshu ["The Complete Works of Shinichi Hoshi"] (coll 1974; cut trans Bernard Susser and Tomoyoshi Genkawa as The Spiteful Planet and Other Stories 1978 Tokyo); other volumes of stories in translation include Nokku No Ot Ga (coll xxxx; trans Stanleigh H Jones as There Was a Knock 1984 Tokyo), collecting short-short stories. The Cost of Kindness and Other Fabulous Tales (coll trans Marianne McDonald and Torajiro Mori 1985) assembles various tales.

Hoshi vetoed media versions of his work, but after his death a number of his stories were adapted as the Anime series Kimagure Robot (2004; vt The Capricious Robot). [TSh]

Shinichi Hoshi

born Tokyo: 1926

died Tokyo: 30 December 1997



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