TOKYO, Japan — Every November, millions of aspiring writers celebrate National Novel Writing Month — or NaNoWriMo — by ambitiously attempting to write a full-length novel. NaNoWriMo has traditionally been a time for celebration of the craft and support among fellow writers. One participant, however, has had much more trouble finding encouragement.
“I don’t get it, no one wants to check out the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo,” laments Japanese author Urobuchi Gen. Urobuchi’s submission for NaNoWriMo this year is set in a dystopian future where a race of alien robots have enslaved humanity.
“Not even my mom.”
The protagonist, Blaine, seeks to free humanity from the subjugation of the mecha aliens, but one by one his most trusted confidants either betray him or are destroyed by their own weakness in character.
“Hey Gen, normally I’d love to check out your novel but you know I’m like… super busy. I have … stuff to do,” an email from one of Urobuchi’s close friends reads.
“I really wanted to emphasize the helplessness of the human condition. By reversing the traditional trope of overcoming strife, I feel the novel evokes a sense of suffering that leaves the audience completely hopeless,” Urobuchi remarks as he shares a passage of the novel where Blaine’s mother is slaughtered as he cowers under the bed.
“No, no no, I’m not reading that shit; every November it’s the same thing.” Nisio Isin tells Anime Maru. “The last time I looked over a draft Urobuchi sent me I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I have my own novel to work on. I’m already at 50,000 words in only 6 days!”
“Oh, and tell him to stop calling me,” Nishio adds.
As for Urobuchi himself, he’s taking the lack of critique as an affirmation of success.
“I really like how this novel is going. I might even have something as good as Gargantia,” Urobuchi remarks. “The twist at the end is that it’s actually the humans who are evil, and Blaine succumbs to the same human nature that built the very machines that enslaved them. So you could say that the human condition is to enslave itself. Which brings me back to Faust-”
Urobuchi reportedly continued talking to himself after the interviewer left the room.