Read Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights by Ryu Mitsuse Alexander O. Smith Online


Plato, Buddha, Christ—what brings these men to the far future to witness the end of the world?Reads L to R (Western Style). Ten billion days--that is how long it will take the philosopher Plato to determine the true systems of the world. One hundred billion nights--that is how far into the future he and Christ and Siddhartha will travel to witness the end of the world andPlato, Buddha, Christ—what brings these men to the far future to witness the end of the world?Reads L to R (Western Style). Ten billion days--that is how long it will take the philosopher Plato to determine the true systems of the world. One hundred billion nights--that is how far into the future he and Christ and Siddhartha will travel to witness the end of the world and also its fiery birth. Named the greatest Japanese science fiction novel of all time, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights is an epic eons in the making. Originally published in 1967, the novel was revised by the author in later years and republished in 1973. “‘Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights,’ that's a lot of time, but Ryu Mitsuse covers all of it in under 300 pages, and the result is quite fabulous.” –Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered...

Title : Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781421539041
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 284 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights Reviews

  • Tfitoby
    2018-09-19 13:15

    People kept asking what I was reading and I would say it's this Japanese philosophical science fantasy novel from the 60s featuring Jesus, Siddartha and Plato travelling to the end of time to discover the truth about Alien bioengineering of Earth and the lost city of Atlantis. Living, as I do, in the hippy capital of Western Australia there was a lot of interest shown in that synopsis, what with every other person seemingly happy to admit to believing in alien conspiracy theories, the power of people's aura colour and the guiding influence of tarot. I was then grateful to discover that they all became cyborgs and fought with each other on a desolated Earth 5,670,000 years in to the future.

  • Kevin
    2018-09-30 12:01

    If our universe is defined by the limits of time since the Big Bang, then what lies beyond that boundary?To try to answer that question Mitsuse has mixed hard science fiction, heavy on cosmology, and the three of humanities great philosophical traditions. And by mixing, I mean pitting against one another in a battle for supremacy and to save humanity from destruction at the hands of some not so benevolent beings. Ten Billion Days and Hundred Billion Nights also covers a tremendous amount of ground starting at the very beginning of the universe to its final death from entropy. Without going into too much detail, the novel tells a story of an alien influence on the growth and development of humanity, and how it has manifested itself in different religions and philosophies throughout history. These are the parts of the novel in which Mitsuse is at his best. The writing for each time period resembles the religious and philosophical texts of the time, and the science fiction elements of the plot and battle scenes are worked into the story line seamlessly. But the most compelling part of the story for me though was the insights into Buddhism and that outlook compares with the Christian worldview. At times I didn't fully understand what was going on, and at times the constant descriptions of the characters every thought process got to be a bit tedious; but I'm still amazed at how Mitsuse was able to work so much into one science fiction story and still write something compelling.Ten Billion Days and Hundred Billion Nights was an ambitious undertaking, and I believe the Mitsuse pretty much pulled it off. It assumes quite a lot of prior knowledge about both physics and metaphysics, and it moves so quickly it can sometimes be confusing, but in my opinion it was well worth the effort to read. I very much enjoyed my first foray into Japanese science fiction.

  • Nooilforpacifists
    2018-09-27 10:09

    To say this book starts promising is to understate the case. The centerpiece of the book -- a cyborg Buddha battling Jesus with masers and other energy weapons -- is genus. But, beginning with the end of that fight (a literal deus ex mechina), about halfway through, the book become an unintelligible exploration of the death of the world, the Galaxy, other galaxies, the universe, with the breathlessness of Japanese manga. I kept expecting there to be a reason one of the three characters was female, but nothing turned on it at all. You know, somehow, that it has something to do with the creator and the Big Bang, but even after reading the afterward, for the life of me, I've no clue how.

  • Philipp
    2018-10-08 14:23

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯I really don't know what to make of this. 2.5?Several episodes through the life of our planet are told - Plato looks for Atlantis, Jesus is crucified, Siddharta leaves his palace and meets Asura, but then it becomes apparent that there's a Planetary Development Committee behind all of this and these episodes become connected, mankind is destroyed, a few million years later Jesus, Siddharta, Asura, have for some reason become cyborgs who can launch nuclear rockets from their hands and battle it out. Siddharta, Orionae and Asura try to stop the shadowy organization that destroyed mankind, while Jesus works for the bad guys. Asura becomes a galaxy or something.The disjointed structure makes it a surprisingly dry read, for a book where space-mecha fights are a thing; you get ridiculous tech-babble like "Orionae wrapped the coil in several gravitationally sealed spaces. You have to maintain the link to the Dirac sea in an imaginary numeric circuit"; there's a special melancholy towards the end (Mono no aware) that saves some of it, but I really wonder whether it's worth it to slog so far, felt much longer than 284 pages.Bonus points for that interesting Mamoru Oshii essay at the end - who knew the creator of the Ghost In The Shell movies used to be part of the extreme left, trying to subvert society?

  • Praveen
    2018-10-11 13:07

    This book begins with The Big Bang, a theory on early development of the Universe, it follows with the few episodes in history where Ryu Mitsuse blends Philosophy, religion and eventually our author moves to rock-hard science fiction to answer the beginning of The Big Bang.In PhilosophyRyu Mitsuse narrates the episode of Plato’s quest towards a legendary island of Atlantis, where like all of us Plato is is also confused on each and everything which we see around us like:Who planted groves of trees and taught the people how to gather their fruit and cultivate their seeds? Who built roads and towns, waterways and aqueducts? Who showed the people the art of metallurgy, the smelting of iron?In ReligionSiddhārtha’s journey towards Brahmā and Jesus of Nazarath episode with Pontius Pilatus followed with Crucifixion of Jesus. In all this the common element is the anticipation for a new world a new beginning: Plato wanted his Ideal State , Siddhartha waited for the Age of Enlightenment , Jesus of Nazareth awaited for final judgment and kingdom of God.By all this Ryu Mitsuse proves search for the beginning of The Big Bang is vain or simply dilemma… causality dilemma is commonly stated as "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" and moves towards rock-hard science fiction where we see Cyborgs, which we never expects Cyborgs of Jesus, Plato and Siddhartha.Gun fight with Plato, Siddartha, and Jesus. This all things were awesome but the inclusion of Asura a King of kings or Absolute being I couldn’t comprehend…might be beyond my comprehension. I searched for the meaning for the usage of Asura as King of kings or Absolute being, I found in Sanskrit “ásu” denotes "life force" it might be the reason.In some reviews I saw readers stating this books tells about an alien influence on the growth and development of humanity but I felt Ryu Mitsuse illustrated the concept of an unconditional reality which we call with alternate term for "God" the Absolute power who controls the whole universe.

  • Joshua
    2018-09-21 14:17

    This is a difficult one to rate. I feel like some of it was a little over my head. I'm not sure if that was a problem with translation or my thick skull. Probably the latter, since I found the prose to be quite good. The translator actually deserves a great amount of praise for doing such a nice job. The book is very metaphysical. It covers a lot of big questions like "what are the boundaries of time and space?", "what lies beyond the boundaries of our universe?", "why does everything decay?" But the book doesn't give you an omnipotent view of what's happening. I felt as confused about the events as the characters in it. Even the end left me feeling a little confused about what I just read. Ultimately, I believe the book is about the struggle between life and entropy.However, don't let my confusion or description of its themes make you think this is some slow-moving and boring philosophy book disguised as a sci-fi novel. There is plenty of action in this book, and it's of a very wild nature. There is a rather long chase in which Jesus of Nazareth is using a maser (that's right a maser, not a laser) to hunt Siddhartha (aka Buddha) who retaliates with mini-nuclear missiles (he has been "reincarnated" as a cyborg). There's something you don't read every day!Overall, the book is a good, quick read, that will leave you thinking about big questions.

  • Rod Van Meter
    2018-10-16 18:02

    Fantastic. The first twenty pages or so are lyrical, stunning, with a spare, lonely view of the history of our world. Then Atlantis, Jesus, and Buddha show up and get it on, but I won't spoil it for you. This book, like all the best ones, leaves you with more questions than answers.I read the book in translation, not the original Japanese. The translator happens to be a friend of mine, and here he has done a wonderful job.In his afterword, the author cites Clarke, Simak, and van Vogt at influences, but I feel echoes of Wells' Time Machine, Asimov's Last Question, and even Anderson's Tau Zero, but perhaps most of all Zelany's Lord of Light, though it has been many years since I read any of those. It is most certainly its own unique story, though, not derivative of anything.The blurb calls it Japan's greatest SF novel, and it is great, but personally I would put it behind Toh's Self-Reference Engine. I have read very little Japanese SF. though, so I really don't have a lot of context.

  • Jonathan Cassie
    2018-09-24 12:21

    Reminiscent of great works like "Last and First Men" by Olaf Stapledon, "Ten Billion Days" is a work of late 60s epic (truly epic-scaled) science fiction tackling huge ideas with enthusiasm and abandon. This book marks the first time I've read a book with Plato, Siddhartha and Jesus as the major characters. Probably not for the a reader who struggles with the "just go with it" requirements built into sci-fi. What makes the book particularly powerful to me is this idea that there is more to the universe than we can possibly contemplate, but there is still more beyond it.

  • Will E
    2018-09-19 11:28

    This book is so batshit insane I don't know what to think. I think I enjoyed it.

  • Artur Coelho
    2018-10-01 14:28

    Este livro foi a minha introdução à FC japonesa e confesso que me está a ser difícil escrever sobre ele. Por onde começar? Não sabia o que esperar quando peguei no livro. Apenas sabia que ia muito mais longe do que a habitual metáfora de robots e cyberpunk condicionada pela popularidade do manga. Depois de o ler percebi que este livro desafia classificações e ultrapassa fronteiras entre vertentes do género. Não é uma leitura fácil, apesar da capacidade narrativa do autor ser capaz de conjurar imagens mentais de grande clareza. Surpreende pela sua não linearidade e intencional falta de um objectivo narrativo claro. Quando pensamos que temos o livro sob controlo, que o cérebro já deslindou o caminho das palavras, o autor troca-nos as voltas e muda os espaços e tempos. Há apenas um eterno conflito, intemporal mas inconclusivo, que obriga as personagens a uma odisseia contínua sem fim à vista. Termina de uma forma inquietante e bela, deixando claro que é apenas uma pausa e não um término de uma longa história. Mas é um ponto final e não há qualquer continuidade para aliviar as questões do leitor. A sensibilidade literária é muito diferente da que estamos habituados na FC de linhagem europeia ou americana. Não se sente aquela versão contemporânea do fardo do homem branco que vê na ciência e tecnologia a salvação da pureza humana nem a crença inabalável no poder do indivíduo face aos destinos ou às forças conspiratórias. Sente-se antes uma fluidez de destino em fluxo e uma procura por visões estranhas que vão além daquilo que percepcionamos. O livro não é novo - a publicação original data dos anos 60, mas estes aspectos são um sopro de ar fresco para os leitores. É algo de diferente e inesperado.Vamos então à história? Esperem o inesperado. Ryu Mitsuse inspira-se na antiguidade clássica e nos mitos sobre a Atlântida para este livro de nome tão comprido. Começamos com Platão, cuja viagem ao Egipto lhe ensina mais do que as lendas dos sacerdotes do faraó. Albergado numa casa onde rostos falantes surgem nas janelas cobertas de materiais transparentes e onde achaques de saúde depressa são curados com misteriosas substâncias, é-lhe confiada a história de um tempo antes do tempo, de uma cidade no meio do oceano onde reinava uma classe científica esclarecida que se aniquilou com a sua técnica após estranhas divergências que degeneraram em tumultos. Resta aos sobreviventes milenares espalharem pelo resto do mundo a civilização, semeando as bases do progresso científico, e resta a Platão meditar sobre o que vislumbrouDeixamos Platão a matutar e somos levados à Índia, onde um jovem Siddharta decide abandonar o reino de que é herdeiro, mesmo que isso custe partir o coração do pai e da amada e abandonar o país a uma invasão do reino vizinho. Influenciado por quatro brâmanes, o jovem príncipe parte e retira-se do mundo. Nós não o acompanhamos. Estamos em Jerusalém, no ano de 33DC, onde um Pôncio Pilatos farto das dificuldades de gerir um posto menor do império cede facilmente às exigências dos sacerdotes judaicos atemorizados pela palavra de um homem que prega uma vida melhor para lá dos limites da vida. E assim se processa a crucificação de Jesus, homem iluminado que Pilatos é incapaz de compreender. No momento da crucificação o céu escurece, luzes surgem e o corpo é resgatado para os céus.Da antiguidade clássica vamos até ao futuro distante. Sob as ruínas de Tóquio o ainda jovem Siddharta encontra Orionae, um guardião milenar do segredo atlante que o aguardou através dos tempos. São atacados por um Jesus Cristo com implantes robóticos e Siddharta descobre que também é mais do que humano, o que ajuda a perceber como é que ultrapassou os milénios. Já Orionae é um andróide de longa duração. A discussão teológica ecuménica entre os fundadores do budismo e o do cristianismo processa-se com lasers de alta intensidade e mísseis teleguiados. Mas a luta é inconclusiva, e Siddharta acompanhado pelo andróide penetra num portal que o leva para além da Terra em busca dos segredos da Altântida. Noutro planeta, numa galáxia distante, a reposta a todas as questões parece estar encerrada numa cidade que se revela como o repositório da digitalização dos habitantes, adormecidos e imortalizados por medo a uma ameaça cataclísmica. Não é aí que se encontram as repostas que procuram.Mas uma parte do segredo começa a deslindar-se. A vida na Terra foi - passe a expressão - uma experiência de terraformação levada a cabo por equipes de cientistas de uma civilização situada para lá das fronteiras do universo. A Atlântida era o seu centro de operações onde baseavam a sua tecnologia inimaginável que permitiu o desenvolvimento de vida no planeta. Até que chegaram ordens inexplicadas para terminar a experiência. Se uns obedecem, outros questionam e nos tumultos resultantes dá-se o cataclisma que inspirou as lendas. Resta a Siddharta e ao fiel Orionae, agora acompanhados por Asura, uma aparente divindade de grande poder e origem desconhecida, continuar a sua busca por Maitreya, entidade que vive para lá do universo e que detém a chave para compreender os mistérios da criação e destruição da vida na Terra. Prosseguem a busca, com um mortífero Jesus sempre à perna, pronto para os exterminar com pulsos de laser de plasma e ogivas de mísseis inteligentes.A ideia de astronautas alienígenas que supostamente teriam influenciado a vida e a civilização na Terra primordial não é nova. Hoje ganhou nova energia, graças aos esforços de canais televisivos em busca de audiência. Este livro inspira-se claramente nesse ideário como fonte para especulação narrativa. A ideia de divindades que são humanos com potenciamentos tecnológicos é o fio condutor de Lord of Light. Na minha mente pergunto-me se as teorias aparvalhadas de Von Däniken e o livro inimitável de Zelazny foram factores de influência neste livro nipónico que lhes é contemporâneo. É uma ideia, mas não uma afirmação. O que se encontra sobre esta obra fica-se pela indicação de que se trata de um dos grandes clássicos da literatura de ficção científica japonesa. Após a leitura, o que fica é o gosto pelo conhecer uma outra tradição literária com visões diferentes do habitual sobre as temáticas do género e uma sensibilidade narrativa que aos calejados olhos ocidentais se sente como estranha.

  • Wrong Train, Right Time
    2018-10-11 16:29

    10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights is a piece of late 1960s Japanese sci-fi that the Internet tells me is kind of a big deal. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. I first encountered in on Strange Horizons, where it was the topic of one of their book review roundtables. The elevator pitch of "Christ Versus Mecha-Buddha. In Space!" is what immediately drew my attention, but I was also drawn by the description of it as blending science-fiction and religious/mythical/historical fiction. I soon learned that the elevator pitch was both completely accurate and completely false. Make no mistake: 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights is a bleak, bleak book. And yet its bleakness and terror strike at me in a way I feel moved to visit and revisit, much as I regularly rewatch Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I generally try to avoid reread reviews on this blog, but I have a lot of things to talk about, so I shall. 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights has an core cast of larger-than-life figures: Prince Siddartha (yes, that Prince Siddartha), Jesus Christ, Plato. They are rendered in this novel as deeply human, united in their yearning to understand the world around them -- not just its material essence, but its true meaning and nature. In a world that seems full of cruelty and devoid of reason, their desire is understandable. The tragedy is that the gods they turn to for answers are remote and angry; not just indifferent, but full of malice. Plato may seem like an odd addition to this case of religious figures, but I think Plato is meant to represent a secular yearning for knowledge. His Allegory of the Cave isn't mentioned explicitly, but it's a core part of his philosophy and strongly associated with him. I can't believe that that wasn't lurking in the background of how and why Mitsuse chose him as part of his cast.And then there's Asura. She is, by far, the most tragic of the characters, the ruthless driving heart. Her desperation and need to know and fight the forces that had destroyed her world. Her position as the adversary, locked in endless battle. In some ways her characterization matches recent pop culture depictions of Lucifer as not that bad after all, the reframing of the divine enemy as a hero by reframing the divine as villainous. The choice to render Asura a teenage girl is a strange one now; I can't imagine how strange it would have been in the 1960s. She is the keen one, the intelligent one, the terrifying and ferocious warrior. She's also the oldest and most seasoned, the one with the greatest sense of what has been lost and what there is left to lose. I don't think Mitsuse's intent was the simple visual irony, but I think this juxtaposition of visual and narrative makes Asura a timeless figure within the narrative. Jesus and Siddartha and Plato were all grounded in the material and mortal world. Not so with Asura. She is timeless and ageless; where Siddartha, Jesus, and Orionae are worn out, she is full of vigor and drive. Asura has a vitality -- no wonder she outlives the others. But oh, is she a tragedy. The ending is truly sad. It's ambivalence, the emptiness, the knowledge that the foe she'd sought has already won. The sheer prospect of her quest's continuation and knowing she'll have to continue it alone. What does she have left to fight for? How can she do anything other than fight?Let me touch on the SF-nal bits now. Nominally, this book falls under the heading of science-fiction, and Mitsuse makes use of genre tropes to mine the terror of deep time, the vast misery of grinding destruction that spans millennia. The sublime horror of thousands of years of hibernation. The existence of cyborgs and advanced tech seem like a cruel joke: no matter how fancy our toys, we cannot escape our essential nature. And for humans, that essential nature is a yearning for understanding that is easily manipulated, what seems to be a endless march toward self-annihilation. The fact that the main cast becomes cyborgs in their quest is a sign of the cost of their struggle. These enhancements, made mostly for destruction, were imposed by a greater power out of their control; in becoming more than human, they become closer to their adversaries' equals, and in so doing leave the humans and mortals they fight for further behind.This is not a happy book.It is also, I think, a particularly timely one. Asura, Siddartha, and Orionae struggle against a world that is guided by a seemingly unstoppable force of mind-numbing malice. Their ally is as high-handed as their enemy, while also being far less effective. And yet, the three of them fight on. They push themselves to the brink, fight, scream, and risk everything in their need to assert their right to exist in freedom and safety. I don't think you have to look far in the US to see how this might feel analogous to the current political situation, where every right and protection is under government assault. Asura closes out the novel alone, yearning for happier times, knowing that there is nothing left for her but to keep moving in a universe that seems hopelessly empty and cruel. She's already rejected collaborating with the enemy. What other option does she have?What indeed. Contrasting all this is Mitsuse's lush and beautiful descriptions of the natural and material world, of sensations seen and felt. Every description is beautiful. Every sky, ever disintegrating remnant of a long-dead civilization. The immediacy and groundedness of his prose contrasts the incomprehensible and abstract notions of time, space, and technology that form the more sf-nal elements, a reminder that -- even though all these characters constantly look outward for truth and understanding -- there is much in the real world that deserves our attention and respect as well. 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights is a bleak book with a terrible despair at its heart. But it's also a beautiful book, many small stories woven together in lovely vignettes that ground its grand, philosophical struggles. It is a question that lingers, in hope of an answer. *Seeing as this book is difficult to grapple with, I'm linking the roundtable that inspired me to pick it up in the first place. There is entirely too much hand-wringing over what genre it fits in, but the various takes and insights are interesting and helpful as a starting place for grappling with the novel. It's pretty milquetoast on the topic of religion, which, that seems strange considering three of four main characters are explicitly religious figures. I can't speak to Mitsuse's beliefs, but it seems pretty clear to me that the novel is, at the very least, deeply skeptical about religion. The Atlanteans' fictional religion is explicitly described as a means created by the powerful for manipulating and controlling the populace. Why should Christianity and/or Buddhism be any different? Religion in this book is an ideological tool. It preys upon an earnest yearning to make sense of a capricious, opaque world in order to manipulate and control. Religion (and secular philosophy, as embodied by Plato/Orionae) can offer answers -- but, Mitsuse seems to ask, where are those answers coming from? What do the providers of these answers have to gain? Can they be trusted? The answer, in 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights, is terribly, sorrowfully, "no."

  • J. Michael
    2018-10-11 18:04

    If I had to compare 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights to any other book that I have read it would be Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness. Both are nominally science fiction in which the "science" hardly counts as such. Both revolve around a retelling of myths in a modern casting, Zelazny with the Egyptian pantheon and Mitsuse with both Christ and the Buddha as well as using Plato in a mythological way. Both are told in a non-linear, at times almost hallucinatory, fashion. And I found both of them to be more annoying than compelling. Perhaps this just means that I should try to find some other works by Ryu Mitsuse, since there is plenty of Zelazny I like; in fact, I am a big fan of his Lord of Light, which is his own recasting of the Buddha.I suppose that, on some level, it's pretty awesome to have a story in which a cyborg Jesus of Nazareth is hunting down a cyborg Siddhartha and shooting at him with lasers but that just can't carry the novel. Beyond that there just isn't very much here. Mitsuse throws lots of scientific terms into the story but it's complete gobbledegook without meaning. Planets are hidden behind "the light-speed barrier", for instance. So, when reading, you have to turn all of your science knowledge off and just treat the book as fantasy. It seems that it isn't so much that Mitsuse is wrong as that he doesn't intend to be literal at all as a part of his mythological structure. How you will react to that depends upon your willingness to take scientific sounding statements as metaphor.That, I think, gets to my ultimate problem with the story. I am fine with metaphor in a limited way but not when that's all that an author has to sell. In the end I just end up feeling that there is no substance to the novel. There are no characters as such, just the mythological recreations of them. Several of the characters, Plato, Christ and Pontius Pilate, have some depth when their myths are being retold but that all washes out in the second half of the book which takes place in the distant future. They exist only to have things happen to them and to explicitly state the nature of the universe. It is the sort of book that a lot of people will describe as subtle but that I find to be anything but. I mostly found it to be a waste of time.

  • Imran
    2018-10-17 12:16

    So far, despite all the hype about being Japan's greatest sci fi book, I have found the book a complete disappointment. It has turned some of humanity's greatest human beings into rather pedestrian depictions. It took a fantastic premise, bringing religious/spiritual founders to the end of the Universe, and rather write contemplatively about it, it turned it the story into a near western-like shoot out at the OK corral. After forcing myself to the final 75 pages, I just could not put up with it anymore. This book sucks. There I said it.

  • Allison
    2018-09-26 10:22

    I really wanted to like this more. The ideas in this book get four stars just for weirdness and the whole Siddartha and Asura fighting Jesus at the end of the world idea. Plus, the philosophies are really deep and intriguing.But the writing... I think it was probably a translating issue - very choppy, almost unnatural phrasings and scientifically clinical writing. Nothing was pretty about it. It didn't flow very well. It had that kind of feel - that someone was literally translating the words without a focus on how they came across in English. The writing itself gets two stars. Wish it had been written better, because I'd love to share the ideas in this book with other people...

  • Richard Stuart
    2018-10-15 11:27

    Dazzling in it's meticulous interweaving of time and space, creation and destruction, mission and observation, this book relentlessly rips open the pinhole perspective of the readers mind to reveal layer upon layer of outer realities which may or may not actually exist. The effect is disorienting and leaves one not quite sure of the solidity of 'self' or 'soul'.I think this book will haunt the dark caverns of my subconscious like some kind of warped mantra warning me to keep waking up...

  • Marianne Cohen
    2018-10-10 16:14

    Boring. Too much "flashing lights" and "glowing lights". Some what interesting characters, Plato, Siddhartha, Jesus, Asura. Would not recommend.

  • Harish Jonnalagadda
    2018-10-13 17:11

    An incredible read. Loved the way traditional myth was reimagined, and immensely liked the entwining timelines. Existentialism doesn't get better than this.

  • Ron
    2018-10-02 18:13

    What a mysterious SciFi novel. Jesus Christ, Siddhartha and Asura battle it out til the end of time. Beautifully written.On a night of exceptional darkness, a faint shooting star cuts across the void, trailing a long tail of light, then falls behind the nacreous line of the horizon, its glow becoming an unfading scar—a memory in the space between the stars.>> The vast flow of time leaves traces of its passage across everything without exception. It moves within everything that is, mischievously touching, changing—sometimes destroying. Not even the sea is spared, for over one hundred billion days and nights, the starlight that falls upon its surface, the wind and rain that blow across it, the brilliance of the burning sun that warms it, and the snow that whirls in eddies around its frozen waves, all are absorbed and reduced into individual molecules, tiny motes that show no hint of their vast history. In the bottomless sediments only a vague memory remains.>> The sea: it contains within itself the long, long story of time, a perpetual record of shapes that will never be seen again.Of wind and cloud and wave, of bright days and dark nights.The sea has always been time’s closest confidant. Surging and receding . . . Surging and receding . . .>> The orange star at its center consumed an entire 564 million tons of hydrogen every second, creating 560 million tons of helium. The remaining four million tons of matter were converted into a stupendous amount of energy that spread throughout the surrounding space.>> “Ideas have an objective existence. They are not the material of thought, but the object of thought, outside the thinker. The world we experience is a phenomenal world, a reflection of the world of ideas. The vicissitudes of life merely suggest that all things are in a state of flux because of the inherently unstable manner in which this world receives the Truth of ideas. Thus it falls to us to endeavor to see through that fluctuation to perceive that which is universal—that which exists objectively,”>> “The ideal state holds as its governing ideology a philosophy based upon the fundamental concepts of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. In other words—” Plato took a swig of some pungent goat’s milk to wash down a lump of meat from his stew. “As reason is illuminated by the lens of wisdom, so does it develop from something experiential into something universal. Only with universal reason may we perceive the fundamental Truth shared by all things.” He cleared his throat. “Truth, mind you, is not some thing existing in a solid, unchanging state; it is universal objectivity itself. Now, while ‘will’ is the sum of the choices we make by virtue of our courage, the fundamental concept of Goodness is none other than the universal will. As for Beauty, that beauty which we perceive is limited, a mere projection of the phenomenon of a greater, limitless Beauty. Within men this quality manifests in the form of the passions and the moderation of arbitrariness. It is only by achieving harmony between these three fundamentals that the entire soul may take on the virtue of righteousness. This is a basic qualification for one who would rule, as it is for those who would aid him and, indeed, for all citizens of the ideal state.”>> One thing I discovered is that in the tales and legends told by all of these peoples, there are always stories of destruction and salvation. I’ve wondered why this is. Why would there be so many tales about a horrific destruction and the salvation that followed when no one alive could possibly have witnessed either? The tales seemed too close to truth to be mere fancies, and too inevitable to deny.”>> “The will of Heaven does not serve man. All laws flow and change by the workings of mutual dependence, relationships, and karma. Man is the same. The changing of relationships determines the form of existence. Reality is not a fixed entity within the cycle of life and death, reality is change. Existence is impermanent, form is empty, emptiness is form.”>> And yet the place had a smell of tragedy, as though it had already lost something it would never be able to reclaim. It was alone, resigned to await its fate.>> While most Romans understood that the gods were to be feared, they were also inclined to treat them as a kind of game, often evoked for little more than entertainment. Romans knew little of hardship; they had managed to cope rather well with the challenges and sorrows of their world, and they saw very little need for a savior in the true sense of the word. The gods of the Romans cast light shadows on the empire. In truth, for most they were little more than seasoning to add a touch of gravitas to the citizens’ daily lives.>> The natural world had atrophied, its moisture gone, leaving the surface of Earth a cold and barren desert. Animal life had long since vanished, and even the withered remains of forests had disappeared without a trace. Only the wind moved now, occasionally trailing sand in gray clouds. The cycle of energy had been broken, and the planet lacked the strength to nurture anything new.>> “It seems to me,” he said after a moment, “that since the very beginning, humanity has been walking upon a path toward destruction. Everywhere is disease and disaster, death and conflict. These things have always been part of civilization, right by man’s side. I wonder if any human, anywhere, has truly been at peace from the bottom of their heart.”>> It is in mankind’s nature not to believe that misfortune and tragedy are approaching and to forget calamity after it has occurred.>> Yet they never once thought to seek that which gives birth to ruination in the first place.”>> “Time is the same, you know. The time that defines the reality inside those expanding limits of space is just a part of the time that exists in the infinity beyond. The flow of time began at the origin point of the universe you know, two hundred billion years ago, and its flow ceases two hundred billion light-years in the distance. Yet that is merely a fragment of the transcendent time stretching out into infinity.”>>

  • Tyler Redman
    2018-09-26 12:04

    Ten billion days and one hundred billion nights. Its a story of time space Gods and men. It tackles many philosophical references and concepts. It includes Plato as one of the main characters to explain some of these concepts of the book. It manages to tackle many perspectives of what the future of men may hold. You travel with figures like Jesus of Nazareth, Siddhartha, Brahma, Asura. Its a feast of information, and hard to follow. Sometimes, you have to read the pages twice and still don't know whats going on or what the characters intentions are. Its a digestion of so many motivations that are so deep seeded in the unconscious of these characters, its beautiful cant say enough good things about this book . I will read it again and again interpreting the story differently every time. The book is legendary inspiring and in all ways amazing and I still don't entirely understand it.

  • Mark
    2018-09-19 17:24

    Really 3.5 stars I usually have no issues with deep thinking scifi. This seemed to skip sections that I wished would be expanded or "played out" more. Some sections seemed to stop and leave me wondering how it could continue to the next scene. But all in all, an entertaining story.

  • Patrick Ward
    2018-10-06 18:31

    Some really interesting philosophical elements. However, I found the long descriptions of technology and battles tedious.

  • Shaun Mcnamara
    2018-09-18 11:22

    Took me a while... I thought it was good though.

  • Boom Baumgartner
    2018-09-19 15:17

    (This review can be read properly formatted here at my sci-fi blog, Loving the Alien)It’s touted as the greatest Japanese Science fiction novel of all time on the awesomely glow-in-the dark cover, and I’d like to agree or disagree, but my knowledge of Japanese science fiction tends to be limited to anime, and I don’t think that’s a fair thing to judge SF books by. So what I’m going to say is that I can’t have opinion on whether or not it was the greatest, I’m not entirely sure it’s science fiction, but I know that it is Japanese… so… at least I can definitively take a stand there.So, let’s start out with the reasons why someone would want to read this: 1. Jesus is a super-cyborg assassin with a characterization that is only tentatively linked to what the New Testament is about.And 2. …Right. I’m a bit at a loss of what to say, and I think it’s because I’m just genuinely not used to my science fiction using historical characters and making them live weird double/triple/quadruple lives in different time periods. I’m also ill-equipped to deal with epic death battles between people like Siddhartha and Plato against Jesus, and have the Asura (generally thought of a group dieties) personified by a little girl who is actually fighting for humanity rather than destroying it......which even if you have just a very basic grasp of Hinduism, this ought to strike you as a bit odd. Kind of cool, but odd.So, here’s the deal. When you buy this book, the description is about as enlightening as the ending is: Ten billion days--that is how long it will take the philosopher Plato to determine the true systems of the world. One hundred billion nights--that is how far into the future he and Christ and Siddhartha will travel to witness the end of the world and also its fiery birth.If you’re baffled at the plot described above, then you and I are on about equal footing and I’ve actually read the book.Here is the actual plot: Something called Shi (for non-Japanese speakers who don’t get the significance of this word, that means “death” in Japanese) is trying to destroy all life on the planet via a whispering war against a benevolent “god” who only shows up last few pages in order to say how sorry it was that it didn’t.. I don't know… whisper hard enough or something.Shi sews the seeds of destruction in mankind via war, plague, and civil strife… and apparently Christianity.…And the person against all of this is really Asura, who is the main character despite not being introduced until halfway through the novel.Which brings me to my chief complaint, which is that this book is organized in a very bizarre way. It’s completely impossible to tell what’s important, what’s just random description (which is more often than not the case), and what is allegory. It’s also more than a little difficult to keep hold of a timeline as each character’s plot jumps around each other in haphazard directions and only converge in the final free-for-all that is the slow decay of society.Strangely, as I describe this book, I find myself liking it… which I find slightly disconcerting seeing as I felt almost angry when I finished it.Then I remind myself how hard it was to read, and how unsatisfactory it was to labor through. Problem solved.So, let me just spell out how I really feel and stop describing what almost sounds like an awesome plot.You need to appreciate the Japanese way of thinking in order to really find pleasure in this book. The lack of resolution is so poignant in this novel that it may leave the western reader feeling out of sorts and more than a little befuddled. Western readers, I feel, are used to feeling satisfied at the end of a story. The Japanese are not, and in a way, I find that it is beautiful concept if not a very Japanese one, and I enjoy it in most stories (particularly with Ryu Murakami).I must concede, then, that I’ve steeped myself too deeply in western sci-fi culture, because my dislike for a book I find interesting at a conceptual level lies solely in the structure of the novel, and what I perceive to be gross misunderstandings of Greek philosophy, and the new testaments teachings.On the other hand, it has a somewhat M. Night Shyamalan twist to moral concepts and philosophies that we deem peaceful (meaning that they lead to our ultimate destruction by the powers that be), so there is that… if only it wasn’t based in a somewhat skewed (read: Japanese) understanding of these ideas.Thus, my suggestion must be this:Read it, but be prepared to struggle.

  • Andrew
    2018-09-25 10:01

    Siddhartha paused, unsure of what to say. In truth, he had no real purpose in coming here. He had jumped onto the spaceway in pursuit of Jesus of Nazareth. Yet he still didn’t know why he even had to fight Jesus. The only thing he knew were those words: “Yellow 17 in the New Galactic Age, the Planetary Development Committee on Astarta 50 received a directive…” and a vague sense that this curious, shielded city was somehow connected to the Kingdom of Atlantis where Orionae claimed to hail from, and to the barren flats and ruined city that Siddhartha had found upon emerging from the sea. There was an overall trend toward destruction and ruin in all that he had seen, and lately Siddhartha had begun to think that some power had placed him here for the sole purpose of investigating that trend and possibly divining its cause and origin.***Check it out: Jesus as an energy weapon-wielding badass going up against Plato, the Buddha Siddhartha, and the war-waging demigod Asura, in an endless battle for survival through the cycle of history—from our humble origins to our destruction by the inescapable hand of fate.What’s not to love, right? I mean Jesus isn’t just Jesus here. He’s the man from Nazareth. He’s Clint Eastwood rocking an end-of-days speech, and he isn’t fucking around.Somewhat hyperbolically billed as the greatest Japanese science fiction novel of all time, Ryu Mitsuse’s 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights is nothing if not ambitious. In a scant 284 pages, Mitsuse introduces curiosity and conflict in equal measures, documenting the path to spiritual and intellectual enlightenment through the origin of all life, the existence and fall of Atlantis, and the crucifixion of Christ, through to the 3900 A.D. and beyond, all the way to the heat death of the universe.Mitsuse’s science-meets-spiritualism epic skips through history in giant leaps, as Asura, Siddhartha, and Jesus Christ meet, do battle, and ruminate on their existence—on the purpose behind all existence, and the question of their impending judgement. That’s judgement with a capital J—as in, our days our numbered, decided long before we even had the brains to know right from wrong and up from down. Touching upon certain events with a wide brush allows Mitsuse to cover an expanse few science fiction novels would ever attempt. He employs a predominantly eastern philosophical approach to the events that bring the principle characters in conflict with one another. Though the first few chapters are a bit slow off the mark, the latter half of the book brings the many threads together in intriguing ways that swiftly bridge the scientific and the philosophical.Two caveats: without at least a passing understanding of the myths and legends surrounding the primary cast of spiritual and philosophical superfriends, it’s likely a lot of the book’s narrative weight will be lost; and if the idea of technologically primed warrior deities doesn’t tickle the hairs on the back of your neck, you might struggle to accept any part of this premise. Those details aside, Mitsuse’s 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights is a fascinating take on the battle between existence and the concepts of fate and pre-determined universal extinction.

  • Lance Schonberg
    2018-10-01 11:03

    Begins with a prologue, which is usually a no-no in English language fiction, but I actually enjoyed this one. Mitsuse provides a surprisingly literary distillation of solar system and planetary formation into the beginnings of life and then evolution. Fun to read without needing anything more than a descriptive grasp of the science involved.The next sections of the book each start out more like fictionalized history or religious drama, devoted to Plato, Budda, and Jesus. There’s a long term alien conspiracy to engineer the Earth (or the entire universe) in order to discover the answer to some problem (presumably) that we never actually find out.The three quasi-historical characters are resurrected, or are stolen from their respect places in spacetime, and brought back as super-powerful, potentially killer cyborgs to do battle at the end of the world, or perhaps just witness that end. Plato and Budda, with the help of the also-cyborged Zoroastrian “goddess” (who turns out to be a critical character) Asura, team up against Jesus at the end of the world, but Jesus isn’t the real enemy, or maybe even an enemy, and the vast alien conspiracy is only partly revealed and dealt with. Or not.It’s a strange and confusing story, putting physics and philosophy in the blender on purée until you can’t tell what is what. Or when. Or who. It makes you work to keep up, but not always in a good way, or at least a way that doesn’t feel good.Overall rating: 3 stars. The pieces of Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights don’t necessarily seem to relate, at least on first glance, and the characters are prone to moments of internal debate and discussion that go on for pages at a time, frequently resolving absolutely nothing for the story or themselves other than to make them continue on the same path. At times, it’s confusing and deliberately obtuse in describing what’s actually going on. When it suits, the cyborg characters are far less than human and as likely to dissect or destroy something in an attempt to understand it as they are to talk to or study it.But – there’s always a but – in some ways, Ten Billion Days is what Last and First Men could have been and wasn’t, an interesting exploration of the far future where Clarke’s Law has become reality, complete with ideas and concepts we’re only vaguely ready to try wrapping our heads around. Sadly, to go along with that, it also has many moments of flavouring that remind me too much of A Voyage to Arcturus. If it weren’t so well-translated, I don’t know that I could have gotten through it, much less enjoyed it enough to give it three stars.Extra note on the translation: it’s really, really good. If I hadn’t known I was reading a book in translation, I would never have guessed that, and that’s exactly what you want.

  • Camille Dent (TheCamillion)
    2018-09-26 14:18

    The actual content of this book is exactly the type of thing I enjoy reading, but the writing of parts of the book just didn't sit well with me. Unfortunately, I can't read Japanese, so I can't compare the original text with the translation. However, while reading this version of the book, there were parts when it just felt like I was reading words on a page that just didn't want to take on a comprehensible form. The parts that I could grasp were absolutely gorgeous, but even the settings seemed to change abruptly and without much movement. But I don't want to talk too much about that because, again, I don't know how much of that was due to imperfect translation.As for the content, I felt like the author handled all of his themes perfectly. Rather than just slapping philosophy and religion into a sci-fi novel, they were always present in the undertones of the entire book. I loved how he used a science fiction approach to show familiar ideas from a totally different angle than they are typically thought of in our world--such as evolution/creation, eternity and infinity, free will versus destiny, the concept of gods or deities and their roles, etc. The opening chapters and closing chapters both blew me away! Though I was never uninterested, some of the middle chapters seemed a little choppy, but it always picked back up. I was constantly curious about what would happen to the quirky, confused characters next, even though sometimes I felt just as confused and out of place as they did! Rather than getting to know their hearts like we usually do in books, Mitsuse shows you the depths of these character's souls. Instead of feeling their reactions to their story, you start to sense how every step they take brings them closer to understanding their place in the universe, even if you don't quite understand it yourself.Though my first time reading it may not have been a complete success, this is one that I will definitely give another try and recommend to others.

  • Alex Leong
    2018-10-18 16:17

    Hailed as the greatest sci-fi work Japan has ever produced, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights is an intriguing work, to say the least. It starts with odd, seemingly disjointed vignettes, but it is revealed halfway through the book that the disparate plots are connected. This is fortunate, as the book wastes no time with exposition, plunging you straight into the perspectives of Plato, Siddharta (yes, that Siddharta), and... Pontius Pilate? This is an odd book for sure, since it dispenses with a lot of the familiar tropes of Western science fiction. Mitsuse cited Childhood's End as one of his key influences and it shows, especially at the ending. Unlike Childhood's End, this story does not end on such a cheerful note. It is deeply introspective, given that it's a product of the 1960s and early 70s, asking questions about the nature of time and our universe, the supposed benevolence of God, and the validity of our ideas of good and evil. As the title suggests, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights is also an invitation to the reader to think beyond our limited comprehension of time, and try to grasp the sheer scale of Deep Time. It asks these questions, yet yields no easy answers or resolutions. The plot and structure leave quite a bit to be desired, but the audacity of the vision, the economy of Mitsuse's prose, and some of its incredible vistas make this a worthwhile read.

  • Jason Seaver
    2018-09-24 14:16

    At a few points in this book, I considered tweeting the last sentence I had read just to see if it would rile up friends and family (I'm specifically thinking of the ones where Siddhartha and Jesus of Nazareth are engaged in big sci-fi combat, with Jesus acting the part of a villain's minion). The book spends half its time re-imagining myth, religion, and legend as part of a grand science-fictional story arc, and manages the neat trick of presenting a familiar story from a new perspective, and then twisting it into hard sci-fi, multiple times. The playing it out isn't quite so interesting to me, although those of a more philosophical bent will likely enjoy the way Mitsuse merges philosophy with physics a great deal.Even if that doesn't tickle the reader that much, it's hard to argue against the epic scale of the thing: This is the sort of book that does need to spend a twenty or so pages on the Solar System forming and the Earth cooling into something where life can arise, and it casually jumps millennia and eons after that. Mitsuse's ideas and story are both huge, but he never quite pushes them farther than the mind can grasp.This 1967 work has been called the greatest Japanese science fiction novel ever, and while I don't think it's even the best one I've read, I can see an argument for "greatest": It thinks big and has the sort of spirituality that many feel elevates such a story.

  • Ron Gilmore
    2018-10-15 12:09

    I enjoyed it quite a bit. At times it can be hard to follow, but the book as a whole was excellent!If you don't know even the most common of knowledge about philosophy, Christianity, or Hindu and Buddhist cosmology then a good portion of the books setup phases will be lost on you. The author harshly assumes that you already know a good deal about the historical characters and the events that he uses to introduce them to you. For most readers that wouldn't be a problem. For those who only read SF, you can just wiki the names you don't recognize and you won't lose a thing.Like I said, its hard to follow at times. Later in the book the author is constantly introducing new technology to you that is unique to this story, without explanation. Through repetition you will gradually begin to understand and recognize most of his imaginary devices.The book in its entirety is about the destruction of the universe throughout the uncomprehending measure of existence, and Humankind's desperate and hopeless struggle within it.I highly recommend reading it. The books blend of Philosophy, varying cosmologies add an incredible amount of depth to the story. Not to mention the beautifully executed imagery from known historical locations to unfathomable planets and future civilizations that span over huge leaps in time.Also, book jacket GLOWS IN THE DARK, FOOL!

  • Yupa
    2018-09-19 16:04

    Una desolante certezza, un grosso dubbio e un utile insegnamento.Hyakuoku no hiru to sen'oku no yoru (Dieci miliardi di giorni e cento miliardi di notti) di Mitsuse Ryū nel 2006 è stato votato in Giappone come il miglior romanzo di fantascienza. Nientemeno.Fantascienza?A due terzi del volume assistiamo, in una Tōkyō in rovina del quarantesimo secolo, a uno scontro ad armi laser tra Siddharta e Gesù di Nazareth (!) trasformati in cyborg. C'è anche Platone che guarda lo scontro, anche lui cyborg... Gesù è il cattivo, per la cronaca.Chiuso il volume, ne ho ricavato una desolante certezza, un grosso dubbio e un utile insegnamento.La desolante certezza è che Dieci miliardi di giorni e cento miliardi di notti è una delle cose più brutte e inutili che abbia letto da molto molto tempo.Il grosso dubbio è sulla qualità della fantascienza giapponese in prosa, che non incontro per la prima volta con questo volume.Mitsuse Ryū l'ha pubblicato nel 1967. Come ingenuità dei contenuti e per la struttura terribilmente claudicante della trama sembra qualcosa che, all'estero, si poteva trovare nella fantascienza di trenta o quarant'anni prima.L'utile insegnamento... be', è di selezionare con più attenzione le letture in lingua, specie quando superano le quattrocento pagine.