Yukikaze by Chohei Kambayashi is a story about the clash of man and machine and the inevitability of their parallel evolution. It’s also terrifying, in that very special way.
Yukikaze is the story of a war waged between mankind and a species of unknown alien invaders, codenamed the JAM for nearly four decades. In contrast to a number of science fiction war-story clichés, however, mankind has pushed back the invader, already crossed into its world of origin and set up a frontline to conduct their madcap means of guerrilla warfare.
This reader’s honest opinion:
Okay, you guys need to take a seat and make sure Rusty isn’t looking, ‘cause I’m about to break a ton of rules right here: first off, Yukikaze is not a light novel or even a novelette. It’s an actual, 300-page long novel that’s Japanese hard scifi at its best. Why am I bothering with nearly risking this review? Because this is the kind of book that you just need to read.
Yukikaze is not the story of man’s war against the alien. It’s not even the story of its main character. In many ways, this book isn’t really about anything. Like war, it’s just bloody, mindless violence with a much deeper, more sinister undertone. Mr. Kambayashi has written a book that is so fraught with meaning and contains a far subtler approach to the future of warfare that you can’t even begin to consider before you’ve actually gone through this book.
But that doesn’t make this book a perfect example of scifi. Yes, it is thoroughly researched, the points presented are intelligently brought across and the deeper meaning is mind-blowing, but what about the rest of it? The answer is a ‘meh’. The characters aren’t believable and neither are their interactions. They merely exist to move the point forward so we can see more horrible things or other wonders, instead of getting to know and love them.
Does this work? In my opinion, no; not one bit. Is this book however an intelligent piece of fiction you need to consider? Yes, definitely.
- Word Count: 160,000 (Sorry Rusty)
- Yukikaze has also been published in Light Novel format. It does not pack quite as much punch.
- The current version of the book is a rewrite of the original, 1984 edition.
- You won’t find hard science fiction this good anytime soon.
- Buy it here.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). There, you can find comic book and movie reviews, a collection of his short stories as well as lots of other (slightly unrelated) articles to while away the time.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at email@example.com