September 06, 2023

The Space Alien

The year is 1953. The Korean War is winding down. The Cold War is heating up. In 1952, the United States tested the first hydrogen bomb. Godzilla stomped onto the world stage two years later. UFOs are appearing all over the world. In Ranpo Edogawa's latest young adult novel, five flying saucers zoom across the skies of Tokyo.

A day after that alarming incident, a woodsman stumbles out of the forest to report 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 the pretty and talented sister of Ichiro's best friend. What in the world is going on? What do the aliens want? And where did they come from? These are the kind of questions 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
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). Please visit the website for more information.

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