January 19, 2009

I'm number one in something!

Over the weekend at Amazon, volume one of Ai no Kusabi bobbed back to #1 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Yaoi > Novels. And briefly this morning, it ranked as high as #55,138 in Books. I've never broken the top 100,000 for my own novels.

Granted, if there was a category for Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Mormon Vampires Novels > Featuring Actual Mormons, I'd be number one in that too! (like those self-esteem courses that are supposed to make kids feel so special about being their unique little selves).

But having apparently offended the tender sensibilities of several readers with the "graphic sex" in The Path of Dreams and Angel Falling Softly (man, those are some really tender sensibilities), I have to say I'm amused (in a totally good way) by reader comments for Ai no Kusabi like:

Those who are looking for graphic scenes are going to be fairly disappointed. Aside from a heated, however vague, piece in the first chapter, there is virtually nothing of note in this book.

In the eye of the beholder indeed! So if Angel Falling Softly tests your limits, run away! (I can assure Ai no Kusabi readers that there are way more explicit passages in subsequent volumes.)

Get past those "obstacles" and some narrative repetition (the story was serialized, published as a single volume, expanded into a light novel series, and now a second anime series), and Rieko Yoshihara has insightful things to say about Caligulan moral decay and the rotten fruits of political idealism.

Granted, the supercomputer-running-everything motif (e.g., Appleseed) is a bit dated, but then again, it's mostly there as backstory and not an active part of the narrative.

As the series progresses, I'd swear Yoshihara is poking Swiftian fun at child-poor but dog-crazy Japan (to quote The Independent: "One in five families has a dog in Japan and they are treated not like pets, but like part of the family") and the "Lolita" subculture (the most morally disturbing parts).

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it. I am wont to do that (but only because it's so much fun).

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