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The Sacred Era

A Novel

2017
Author:

Yoshio Aramaki
Translated by Baryon Tensor Posadas
Foreword by Takayuki Tatsumi

The Sacred Era

A brilliant work of speculative fiction, blending science and metaphysics, by a Japanese master of the 1970s New Wave

The magnum opus of a master of speculative fiction that established Yoshio Aramaki as a leading representative of the genre, The Sacred Era is part post-apocalyptic world, part faux-religious tract, and part dream narrative. Through the main character’s journey into inner and outer space, the novel translates the substance of religious and mythic texts into the language of science fiction.

A visionary science fiction novel, in which the devil lives in the details, literally, The Sacred Era is a compelling look at belief, collapse, and transcendence.

Nick Mamatas, co-editor of The Future is Japanese and Phantasm Japan

The magnum opus of a Japanese master of speculative fiction, and a book that established Yoshio Aramaki as a leading representative of the genre, The Sacred Era is part post-apocalyptic world, part faux-religious tract, and part dream narrative. In a distant future ruled by a new Papal Court serving the Holy Empire of Igitur, a young student known only as K arrives at the capital to take The Sacred Examination, a text that will qualify him for metaphysical research service with the court. His performance earns him an assignment in the secret Planet Bosch Research Department; this in turn puts him on the trail of a heretic executed many years earlier, whose headless ghost is still said to haunt the Papal Court, which carries him on an interplanetary pilgrimage across the Space Taklamakan Desert to the Planet Loulan, where time stands still, and finally to the mysterious, supposedly mythical Planet Bosch, a giant, floating plant-world that once orbited Earth but has somehow wandered 1,000 light years away.

K’s journey to this strange world, seemingly sprung from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, is a journey into inner and outer space, as the novel traffics in mystic and metaphysical questions only to transform them into technical and astrophysical problems, translating the substance of religious and mythic texts into the language of science fiction.

The Sacred Era

Yoshio Aramaki was born in Otaru, Japan, in 1933. Trained as an architect, Aramaki has published widely in science fiction in Japan. One of his early novellas, “The Writing on the White Wall Shines in the Setting Sun,” won the 1972 Seiun Award, the Japanese equivalent of the Hugo.

Baryon Tensor Posadas is assistant professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota.

Takayuki Tatsumi is professor of English at Keio University.

The Sacred Era

A visionary science fiction novel, in which the devil lives in the details, literally, The Sacred Era is a compelling look at belief, collapse, and transcendence.

Nick Mamatas, co-editor of The Future is Japanese and Phantasm Japan

The Sacred Era is the most important work of Yoshio Aramaki, talented Japanese science fiction writer. This brilliant post-apocalyptic tale explores past and present, sacred and heretic, inner and outer space, and the beginning and end of life through the eyes of a young pilgrim to a mysterious planet.

Motoko Tanaka, Tamagawa University, author of Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction

The Sacred Era

Contents
Foreword. Apocrypha Now! Welcome to the Quintessence of Japanese Speculative Fiction
Takayuki Tatsumi
The Sacred Era
The Sacred Service Examination
Clara Hall
The Quadrinity
The Southern Scriptures
Mechanical Doll
Space Clock
Sacred Route
The Garden of Earthly Delights
Translator’s Acknowledgments
Chronology of Igitur’s Millennium of Prosperity