"Set in modern day Tokyo, Mari is a story of a woman who finds herself at the centre of the outbreak of an infection that immediately turns people insane, causing them to murder or infect others. The city won't survive, but Mari might, for surprising reasons."
Or, at least, that's how I might describe it if I was writing one of those blurbs that you'd use for marketing purposes or whatever. I'm not great at marketing. If we were talking in person like human beings, though, I'd tell you that it's a zombie apocalypse fiction story set in Tokyo, and I think, I hope, I have my own twist on the genre to keep things interesting. If you're a zombie aficionado, it's not Walking Dead style undead people, it's 28 Days Later style fast moving infected people. So, maybe not technically "zombies", I guess, depending on how you think of the word, but I can't think of a better descriptor for the style and feel other than "zombie apocalypse fiction". Anyway, however you label it, it's a genre that's popular to the point where it could be considered hack, but, fuck it. I had a good time writing it and I hope you have a good time reading it.
Read (most of it) for free...
I've put the first sixteen chapters online for you to read, which is like, 2/3rds of the book. If you read that far and you don't want to buy it, then, I don't know man. What's up with that? I was intending to eventually put it all online, but, I'm not convinced right now that giving the whole thing away leads to sales. If you can convince me otherwise, let me know.
... Or buy it
Also, by the way...
The Japanese name "Mari" isn't pronounced like the English name "Mary". In "Mari", the a sound is the same as in father or Martha. So it's kind of like "MAH-ree".
There's decorative Japanese text throughout the book, but it doesn't say anything not in the English text. I translated, loosely, all the Japanese dialogue just for my amusement and to practise writing Japanese, and then I decided to keep it in the book just for the hell of it. Also, I found that thinking of what the characters would say in Japanese helped me connect with them more, because how they would express themselves in their native language impacts their personality. If you do happen to read Japanese, maybe you'll get a little extra something from it, but if you don't, you're not missing anything you need to enjoy the story.
A huge thanks to Mayumi Yamashita, for going through all my crappy Japanese with me, line by line, and helping me correct it. Also to Sachiko Nakagome, Kaori Arai-Colucci, and Elena Sugiyama for some helpful phrasing. Hyesun Kim and Sena Kim for a little extra translation.
Thanks to Paul "Buc" Gittens (USN), Yayoi Narita (JDF), and Michael G. Damon (USN), for schooling me on military lingo, how the US and Japanese militaries interact, how to bomb a city, where assault rifles are stored in Tokyo, who in the Japanese command structure is responsible for biological warfare attacks, and all sorts of crazy and interesting details, a lot of which didn't even make it into the book, but I just wanted to know because I want to know things.
For the cover, thanks to Diana Tsuruda for modelling for me, and Ruxandra Tudorica for helping me with some initial image prep of the shots I took of Diana. Anisa Dar and Tigran Gyozalyan helped me destroy Shibuya a little, and although I ultimately went my own way with it, they gave me some ideas on how to go about it. Thanks also to Allan Wooding for lending me his camera. Yumi Nakayama made the Japanese calligraphy of Mari's name that is used as a design element in various places.
Remember the term 'cyberspace'? No one seems to use it anymore. Anyway, this is a story set in cyberspace.