About five years ago, the publisher at the new Phantasmagoria Press of Toronto approached me asking if I had any work suitable for a limited edition chapbook. I thought that a collection of two of my Japanese stories might work, and Kaikon was born. Almost…
The chapbook would consist of two stories, “The Pebbles of Sai-No-Kawara,” which had appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 2004, and a new story I’d recently finished, “Blanket Man.” Both tales had supernatural elements, and both were set in Japan and dealt with the subject of remorse, so the book would be called Kaikon (Remorse). The publisher planned to create an edition of 200, each of which would be housed in a handmade wooden box with sculpted decorative elements made of resin.
However, the resin proved chemically unstable and became sticky to the point where it could not even be touched. In despair, the publisher abandoned the project, in spite of having already paid me and having published the actual chapbooks on a lovely and delicate Japanese paper, with beautiful art. At long last, in just the past few months, he mailed me a number of the chapbooks, which he had never released nor distributed, except for a small number which were heavily marked as review copies. The edition was never signed nor numbered.
It is one of these rare chapbooks that I have donated to “Genre for Japan,” a wonderful British fundraiser to raise money for Japanese relief. All monies collected will be earmarked for Japan through the British Red Cross. There are well over a hundred items up for bid, all in the field of fantasy, horror, and SF. Bidding started yesterday, March 28, 2011, and bids will close at the end of the week. I will sign or inscribe the chapbook for the winning bidder as desired and mail it to him or her personally. The minimum bid is 20 British pounds (all bids are in pounds rather than dollars, and a conversion scale is available on the website). Please bid here, at Genre for Japan.
I hope that some of you who may have been dismayed when your advance orders for the book were cancelled will take advantage of this opportunity to add it to your collection, as well as many other rare items offered. It’s for a great cause. I have many friends and acquaintances in Japan — my son works for a Japanese company, Square Enix, though he doesn’t currently live there. The country and its people are truly wonderful, and I’m glad to be able to do at least something to help, small as it may be.