Izanami's Choice excerpt and update

The fine folks at Broken Eye are working on the last edits for Izanami's Choice. Next steps after that are me addressing the edits and then all the fun stuff they get to do to finalize the whole thing and make it a For Real Book.

There's also a cover coming. Watch for that.

Izanami's Choice is my samurai, sci-fi novella set in a Meiji-era Japan that has adopted androids and other ridiculously advanced technology. Here's an excerpt:
The droid was a newer model. It did not wear a wooden mask, nor was its face made of metal widgets that moved to imitate emotions. This thing's skull was covered in a molded synthetic material. The corners of its lips moved up and down in a remarkable caricature of a human hoping to make a good impression. If Itaru were not standing so close, he would've taken it for a human in the darkness. Up close, however, the synthetic features looked fake and unnerving. "What the hell are you?"
The droid bowed deeply. "I am called Gojusan. My full designation is Service Droid I-Ka 53."
"I-Ka?" Itaru had heard of that model, but he'd never seen one up close. The first droids had been western imports using English letters as designators. When Japan constructed their own master machine intelligence—the fourth in the world and the only one in Asia—they used katakana characters for the designs it produced. I-Ka was approximately the eightieth designator in only thirty years.
They're evolving too fast.
"Hai, Shimada-sama." The droid's oversized eyes flicked behind Shimada into his house and back again.
Itaru stood up straight, anxious to get rid of the machine. "What is your message?"
It looked down, seemingly embarrassed. "With great apologies, Shimada-sama, my message must be delivered privately." It gestured inside and bowed once more.
Itaru shivered uneasily. The jinzou's behavior bothered him more than he'd like to admit. He decided that it was simply too new, that he'd never met one like it before. "Fine," he said, grabbing his tamiken from the shelf as he stepped aside. "But make it quick."
The droid bowed again, removed its sandals—it wore socks underneath—and stepped politely inside. "I apologize for bothering you at this hour."
"You said that," Itaru snarled.
The droid clasped its hands at its waist, looking at the door and back, as though it wanted to flee but had decided against it.
Ridiculous. Droids didn't act like this. They followed their orders and programming. If a droid pretended to have feelings, it was because of a human’s order. Either Count Kuroda-sama had given this droid very specific—and strange—instructions or Gojusan's programming was remarkably advanced.
But what purpose would it serve to have a droid act nervous? To set Itaru at ease? It was failing at that. Everything about this meeting made his skin quiver. "State your message. What does Kuroda-sama want?"
It looked directly into Itaru's eyes. "My master is dead."
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Steve MC said...

Great excerpt! You got across the tech and culture really well, but what I liked best was the sense of mystery and tension, as with, "The droid's oversized eyes flicked behind Shimada into his house and back again" and Itaru's growing unease.

To sum up, it's like Asimov writing Shogun, which is awesome.

Adam Heine said...

Thanks, man!

Matthew MacNish said...

So excited for you and for this story!