(If you prefer, jump right to the story here.)
Before I got into translating Japanese stories I had an interest in writing fiction, mostly science fiction, and although I had written a few short stories and pieces of novels, I was mostly at the stage of just getting feedback and not worrying about actually publishing for a large audience.
A few months ago I learned about Amazon Vella, a new platform for distributing serialized content, and I took advantage of this by publishing a few classic Japanese short stories as the start of “Gensen: Selected Japanese Literature”, what is essentially an online magazine dedicated to Japanese literature. (I’ve more recently made a regular ebook version of Gensen, with a different set of stories).
After seeing the potential that Amazon Vella offers (despite some restrictions), I decided I would take a short break from translation and write a little fiction. The result is “Nanobe Days: The World is Mine”, a story about a middle-schooler struggling to survive on a post-apocalyptic Earth who eventually learns to use a very powerful technology that gives him great, almost godlike power.
Even though it is not set in Japan, there will be some connections to Japan/Japanese culture (and the first few chapters hints at that). Also, after I had started writing the story I realized that one of my influences was Juza Unno, a Japanese author of classic SF who often wrote stories that hint at the dark side of technology.
The great thing about Vella is that you can read the first few chapters for free (currently only in the US as per Vella’s restriction, sorry), no strings attached, and the 4th chapter and beyond requires payment using Amazon Vella’s coin system––though you get a bunch of free coins when you join.
Even if you just read the first few chapters, I’m curious to hear your feedback about how you like the story so far, so feel free to comment on this article on email me at selftaughtjapanese [at] gmail.com.
I hope you like what I’ve written so far!
(Note: thanks to Laura Kimmick and Jim Miles (of Annotranslate) for help proofreading the stories.)