The magnum opus of a Japanese master of speculative fiction, and a book that established Yoshio Aramaki as a leading representative of the genre, The Sacred Era is part post-apocalyptic world, part faux-religious tract, and part dream narrative. In a distant future ruled by a new Papal Court serving the Holy Empire of Igitur, a young student known only as K arrives at the capital to take The Sacred Examination, a text that will qualify him for metaphysical research service with the court. His performance earns him an assignment in the secret Planet Bosch Research Department; this in turn puts him on the trail of a heretic executed many years earlier, whose headless ghost is still said to haunt the Papal Court, which carries him on an interplanetary pilgrimage across the Space Taklamakan Desert to the Planet Loulan, where time stands still, and finally to the mysterious, supposedly mythical Planet Bosch, a giant, floating plant-world that once orbited Earth but has somehow wandered 1,000 light years away.
K's journey to this strange world, seemingly sprung from Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, is a journey into inner and outer space, as the novel traffics in mystic and metaphysical questions only to transform them into technical and astrophysical problems, translating the substance of religious and mythic texts into the language of science fiction.
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About the Author
Yoshio Aramaki was born in Otaru, Japan, in 1933. Trained as an architect, Aramaki has published widely in science fiction in Japan. One of his early novellas, "The Writing on the White Wall Shines in the Setting Sun," won the 1972 Seiun Award, the Japanese equivalent of the Hugo.
Baryon Tensor Posadas is assistant professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota.
Takayuki Tatsumi is professor of English at Keio University.
"A visionary science fiction novel, in which the devil lives in the details, literally, The Sacred Era is a compelling look at belief, collapse, and transcendence."--Nick Mamatas, co-editor of The Future is Japanese and Phantasm Japan
"The Sacred Era is the most important work of Yoshio Aramaki, talented Japanese science fiction writer. This brilliant post-apocalyptic tale explores past and present, sacred and heretic, inner and outer space, and the beginning and end of life through the eyes of a young pilgrim to a mysterious planet."--Motoko Tanaka, Tamagawa University, author of Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction
"Engrossing in both its imagery and philosophical exploration, The Sacred Era traverses the far reaches of the cosmos but ultimately revels in the personal and the human."--Foreword Reviews
"This wildly-inventive story about one man's journey to a mythical planet will leave you dizzy (in a good way)."--Tor.com
"So ambitious and unfettered that you won't read many books like it."--World Literature Today
"The plot weaves together theology, illusions and scientific discovery in an imaginative and dream-like way that leaves an impression."--The Japan Times
"Yoshio Aramaki's unique vision of a complicated, dystopian future is masterfully crafted and intellectually engaging."--The Quarterly Conversation