Itō Keikaku

Tagged: Author

Pseudonym of Japanese writer Satoshi Itō (1974-2009), literally "Project Itō", usually transliterated as Project Itoh, whose first novel Gyakusatsu Kikan ["Genocidal Organs"] (2007) was the runner-up in a new writers contest organized by the sf publisher Hayakawa. Heavily influenced by Cyberpunk, it posits a Near Future scenario in which Islamic fundamentalists have access to nuclear weapons and the US government subcontracts anti-terror measures to private mercenary firms. Drug-addled child soldiers fight alongside remote-operated Mecha, as India and Pakistan come to the brink of nuclear War, in a story that was subsequently voted the best of the decade in one of the year's local round-ups.

Itō's career was tragically short, including in its three-year span a book-length Tie to the Videogame Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008) (> Metal Gear), one more original novel and a posthumous collation of short stories and blog entries. The Seiun Award-winning Harmony (2009; trans 2010), published when Itō was already hospitalized with terminal cancer, focuses on hunger-strikers protesting at conditions in a future Utopia, subsequently reunited when a global crisis threatens their supposedly perfect society. As with David A Gemmell's Legend (1984), which retells its own author's battle with cancer in Fantasy form, it is tempting to read similar allegories into Itō's vision of a world when medical Nanotechnology has eradicated disease, but the world itself is threatened by a new Disaster.

Necropolitics came to the fore in his final, posthumous work, Shisha no Teikoku ["The Empire of Corpses"] (2012), a Steampunk Sequel by Other Hands to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus (1818; rev 1831) in which a young John Watson (> Sherlock Holmes) and Abraham Van Helsing (> Bram Stoker) investigate the use of reanimated corpses in an Afghan war at the turn of the twentieth century. Although only 30 pages were rumoured to have been written at the time of his death, the novel was completed by his friend Toh Enjoe, and won them a shared Seiun Award for Best Novel. [JonC]

Satoshi Itō

born Tokyo, Japan: 14 October 1974

died Tokyo, Japan: 20 March 2009

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