‘It is the eve of the new millennium, and vampire princess Christina Light is throwing a party in Tokyo, attended by the leaders of the worlds of technology, finance and culture. But the party is crashed by less enlightened souls.
The distinguished guests are held hostage by yakuza assassins and Transylvanian mercenaries, and vampire schoolgirl Nezumi – agent of the Diogenes Club – finds herself pitted against the world’s deadliest creatures…’
You can order it from Forbidden Planet here. They will have signed books.
The cover is by Martin Stiff at Amazing 15.
Here’s a taster extract …
Unknown Male – Richard Jeperson (GEIST 97)
The sky above the city was the colour of arterial blood splashed across a shower curtain.
Nightfall in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Richard was in downtown Tokyo.
One song shrilled from every speaker. A remix of Prince’s ‘1999’ by the girl group Cham-Cham. The single might as well have been pressed on tissue paper. Its zeitgeist window was an arrow-slit. The multi-tracked rinky-dink organ riff made his fillings throb.
Lu lu too sousand zeiro zeiro Pātī wa owari – oops! – jikan ga nai…
Holograms of the flounce-sleeved bubblegum trio wavered above mini projectors concealed in the oddest places. Drinking fountains, food stall hotplates, rubbish bins. Two phantom soprani and a vampire contralto. Miniature dancing ghosts.
Kon’ya wa pātī siyou 1999 fuu ni…
Mima, the vam in Cham-Cham, was a crossover artist. Her pearly fangs were kawaii – cute. Many warm girls (and not a few boys) wore plastic choppers and purple wigs to copy her. She started underground in the bloodletting bars of the Bund, then mainstreamed into the warm wide world. The pretty, unthreatening face of Asian vampirism. Poster child for the handover. In peppy public service ads underwritten by Red Label Sprünt, Mima ran through FAQs with a funky anime bat. ‘Give you strawberry kisses when the Wall comes down,’ she sang. That sawtooth smile wasn’t wholly reassuring.
The song would get heavy play at Christina Light’s party. Blatant was ‘in’ this season. Every season, really. Cham-Cham ‘1999’ was as inevitable as ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Should Richard have Nezumi commandeer the karaoke mike and warble ‘Three Wheels on My Wagon’ till dawn? It would not be worth the diplomatic fallout. The Diogenes Club didn’t want to have to explain itself to Peter Mandelson. The Prime Minion could turn into fog and seep through keyholes.
A velvet rope hung across the footpath to the checkpoint. Security measures were in place until midnight.
A yōkai steward waddled over to inspect invitations.
‘Richard Jeperson,’ he declared. ‘I’m on the list. I’m on a lot of lists. Best Dressed, Most Eligible, Most Likely To…’
… and here’s another teaser extract …
‘Going home for the holidays?’
An innocent enough question, asked by dorm-mates when they saw her packing.
Nezumi replied – honestly – that she couldn’t say. Girls giggled at her spaciness then remembered she was a thousand years old and stopped.
Her warm friends were a tiny bit afraid of her.
Sad, but she was used to it.
This was the holidays and she was in Japan, where – more than a thousand years ago – she was born.
Was she home?
Words lost meaning over time. Faded kanji looked like splotches.
Nezumi was last here just after the War.
Another splotch word.
Now, that meant the Second World War.
You’d think one world war would be enough, but no, people had to have another. Maybe world wars were like sweets. You can’t have only one. Even if they’re bad for you.
Vampires knew the lure of things that were bad for you.
Still, ‘the War’ had meant the Second World War for over twice as long as it had meant the First World War. That had to be progress.
Then again, Mr Jeperson said ‘the double Ws’ weren’t the wars that counted.
There had been others, which few who didn’t fight in even noticed.
She still served.
Her principal in 1945 was Mr Edwin Winthrop, another Man From the Diogenes Club. A British agent had disappeared while looking for Dr Jogoro Komoda, code-named the Key Man. In Europe, Russia and America competed to net the ‘best’ Nazi mad scientists. The Western Allies had a freer run at Japan’s von Brauns and Merkwerdichliebes.
Tracts of the city were burned ruins. GIs swarmed through bathhouses and gaming parlours. Japanese who’d only heard about Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn’t fully understand why their indomitable fortress nation had surrendered to barbarians. Tokyo had been bombed and the Emperor didn’t give in. Why was this different? Only first-hand witnesses knew the world had changed.
A defeated people saw Nezumi as a traitor before they saw her as a vampire.
The agent was found folded into a cupboard, eye sockets empty, mouth open wide enough to fit in a coconut. Dr Komoda, a surgeon who turned mutilated soldiers and captive vampires into living weapons, surrendered to the Americans. Nezumi supposed he continued his programme under new sponsorship. The War was over, so his operations couldn’t be war crimes any more.