Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s 2012 Utopia is a standalone dystopic novel. The English translation is by Chip Rossetti.
When synthetics replaced oil, Egypt’s wealthy took their riches and retreated to the walled city of Utopia. The vast majority of Egyptians — the Others — were consigned to short, unpleasant lives of poverty. They lived outside the walls, where no Utopian need ever think of them.
The young unnamed Utopian protagonist, bored to tears, thinks of the Others all the time.
The Inugami Curse is the sixth volume in Seishi Yokomizo’s Detective Kosuke Kindaichi series. First published in 19511, the 2020 translation is by Yumiko Yamazaki.
Lawyer Toyoichiro Wakabayashi summons detective Kosuke Kindaichi to the town of Nasu. The lawyer needs the detective’s help to prevent a wave of horrific murders. Alas for Wakabayashi, the detective is momentarily distracted while saving a beautiful woman from drowning in a nearby lake. When the detective returns to his client, the lawyer is dead. Someone poisoned one of the lawyer’s cigarettes.
Losing one’s client before the case has begun is embarrassing. Kindaichi decides stick around the town to wait for more murders and then solve them after the fact. He won’t have to wait long, thanks to some very bad choices by the late Sahei Inugami.
José Luis Zárate’s 1998 The Route of Ice and Salt is a nautical horror novel. The 2020 English translation is by David Bowles.
The captain of the Demeter is a skilful, experienced mariner, known for his attention to his crew. Not all captains are as humane.
His latest commission seems straightforward enough. The route from Varna to Whitby is well charted. Nothing could be more harmless than a few crates of Transylvanian soil.
Tomohito Oda’s manga Komi Can’t Communicate (Japanese: 古見さんは、コミュ症です。, Hepburn: Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu.) has been serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday since May 2016. The English translation of volume one was published in 2019.
Shouko Komi is revered by her fellow students at elite Itan Private High School. The beautiful student never responds to attempts to converse with her, which her classmate take as an indication that they are but worms beneath Komi’s feet, a status with which the teens are surprisingly comfortable.
Komi is not aloof. She is too terrified to speak.
And what has Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist, The Heroic Legend of Arslan) been doing? Writing another manga, of course.
Hiromu Arakawa’s Silver Spoon (Japanese: 銀の匙, Hepburn: Gin no Saji) is a Japanese coming-of-age manga series, serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 2011 to 2019.
Yuugo Hachiken is a disappointment to his demanding father. He has studied hard and tried to live up to his father’s dreams, but he never seems to please. He’s given up; he has no long-term goals and no hope for the future. He decides to effectively run away. He’ll enroll in a vocational agricultural high school in rural Hokkaido, far from his bustling native Sapporo.
Sakyo Komatsu’s 1973 Japan Sinks is a geological disaster novel. The English translation is by Michael Gallagher.
Submarine operator Toshio Onodera of Sea Floor Development accompanies Professor Tadokoro to investigate a seemingly minor mystery. A small island, far from anywhere interesting and boasting no permanent residents, has suddenly vanished.
Written by Ha Yoon-ah and directed by Jeon Chang-geun, 2020’s Mystic Pop-up Bar (Ssanggabpocha) is the South Korean television adaption of Bae Hye-soo’s webtoon Twin Tops Bar. It stars Hwang Jung-eum, Yook Sung-jae, and Choi Won-young.
Han Kang-bae (Yook Sung-jae) is, through no fault of his own, an outcast. Left in an orphanage as a child and rejected by every potential foster parent, he is a hard-working young man with few friends. His troubles are thanks to an unwanted gift: anyone who touches Kang-bae becomes embarrassingly frank about their inner thoughts. Unable to control this ability, Kang-bae assiduously avoids contact with other people. They in turn dismiss him as creepy.
Weol-ju (Hwang Jung-eum) does not see Kang-bae as creepy. She sees him as a potentially valuable asset in her quest to settle 100,000 grudges lest she be consigned to the Hell of Extinction.
2017’s Otherside Picnic: Volume 1 is the first volume in Iori Miyazawa’s light-novel cosmic-horror series. The 2019 translation is by Sean McCann
The Otherside is a bizarre dimension filled with creatures straight out of urban legend. Few humans have found their way there. Fewer have found their way back.
2020’s A Primer to Han Song, illustrations by Michelle Prebich, is a collection edited by Eric J. Guignard. The short collection is the fifth in the Exploring Dark Short Fiction series. In addition to the stories written by Han Song, there is a commentary by Michael Arnzen, Ph.D.