September 06, 2023

The Space Alien

The year is 1953. The Korean War is winding down. The Cold War is heating up. The United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb the year before. Godzilla will stomp into the theaters a year later. UFOs are making appearances all over the world. And in Ranpo Edogawa's latest novel, flying saucers zoom across the skies of Tokyo.

A day after that alarming incident, a woodsman stumbles out of the forest and reports the landing of an alien spacecraft in the mountains southwest of Tokyo. A month later, Ichiro Hirano's neighbor goes missing. And then reappears as abruptly as he vanished, claiming he was kidnapped by a mysterious winged lizard creature.

That same lizard creature is now stalking Ichiro's own sister. Where did the space aliens come from? What do they hope to accomplish? These are the kind of questions that only master sleuth Kogoro Akechi and the Boy Detectives Club can hope to answer.

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Read an excerpt

The Boy Detectives Club

The Phantom Doctor
Big Gold Bullion
The Bronze Devil
The Space Alien

The Space Alien takes place in the year following the end of the Occupation (1945–1952). Stark reminders of the war remained, such as a concrete storehouse standing alone in a city block that was once home to a neighborhood of wood-frame houses.

Rice paddies could still be found throughout Setagaya Ward, located in the southwest corner of Tokyo proper. No longer "sparsely populated," this mostly residential ward has since grown to a population of nine-hundred thousand, the largest in the city.

Family names follow Western convention, the surname given last. Long vowels have been shortened to a single character with no diacritics.

Check out Kate's interview with me about the translation process (also here, here, and here).

Visit Peaks Island Press for more information about the series and the author.

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