Aki Shiraishi was just a typical Japanese schoolgirl until the day of the eclipse. On that day, she was the first to document a strange tower on Mercury’s surface. From that moment on, her days in the school’s astronomy club and her future studies were completely focused on the Tower, who built it, why was it built, what is its purpose?
And then came the giant ring enveloping the Sun. This Ring has begun to grow so large that it is now impacting Earth. Less and less sunlight reaches the planet now. Entire countries have become uninhabitable. If something isn’t done soon, then it could mean the end of mankind.
Usurper of the Sun follows Aki as she sets out into space, witnessing the marvels of the Ring first hand. Here, she discovers that nanobots are maintaining the Ring, which appears to be a breaking system for a more technically advanced race set on a course into our galaxy. Aki and her peers continue to research these aliens, dubbed The Builders, hoping to one day make peaceful contact with them.
Housuke Nojiri’s space adventure will delight science fiction readers as it brings space travel, Artificial Intelligence, sciences and astronomy together. I admit heavy science fiction titles don’t tend to grab my attention often, but this one was definitely an exception. I desperately wanted to see Aki’s dream come true, to witness her success and her first exchange with the Builders. The journey is paved with many roadblocks, scientifically and politically, but the potential discoveries that a meeting between races could provide is worth every hurdle Aki faces.
Originally three short stories, Usurper of the Sun was bestowed the Seiun Award in 2002 for best Japanese science fiction when all three were published together.
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