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Time Hunter: Kitsune By John Paul Catton

14/10/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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In the year 2020, Honoré Lechasseur and Emily Blandish find themselves thrown into a mystery as an ice spirit wreaks havoc during Kyoto's Gion Festival, and a haunted funhouse proves to contain more than just paper lanterns and wax dummies. But what does all this have to do with the elegant owner of the Hide and Chic fashion chain... and to the legendary Japanese fox-spirits, the Kitsune?

Writer John Paul Catton lives and works in Tokyo, where he teaches English language and literature. He has worked freelance for various magazines in Japan, the UK and the USA, including Metropolis, Tokyo Eye Ai and The London Time Out Guide to Tokyo. His short fiction and comic strips have appeared in Roadworks, Terror Tales and Xenos among others, and he has a regular column in the magazine The Third Alternative.

This is what he had to say about his new novel: "The theme of face and appearance lies at the core of Kitsune. In the Edo period, when Japan was under the military rule of the isolationist military government, the population amused and terrified themselves with tales of the Kitsune, the trickster-like fox spirits who stalked the lantern-lit nights wearing the forms and faces of beautiful women."

"In 20th Century Tokyo, the Kitsune have returned; in a city of aggressive, well-groomed, suit-wearing commuters, nothing and nobody is what it seems. In conceiving the idea for the novella, I felt that the richness of Japanese mythology had been relatively unexplored by Western writers. The Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn had first brought Japanese folklore to the West's attention in books such as Kwaidan, but since then, the subject seemed to have been underused. With a rich cast of gods, demons and ghosts to draw from, it seemed about time to venture into this shadowy part of the human imagination, to go backstage at the deserted, dusty theatre and try on the masks for myself."

It's available in standard paperback, or deluxe signed (by Catton) and numbered, limited edition hardback. ISBN 1-903889-41-3 (pb) £7.99 UK $8.95 US $11.95 CAN ISBN 1-903889-42-1 (hb) £25.00 UK $44.95 US $54.95 CAN

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