The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Fleeing through inchoate space from a black, neuter figure, a yellow androgyne takes refuge in a world similar to that of Japanese mythology. She becomes a woman called Kishomo and is taken by the man-god Aizen to a ship that is half controlled by Aizen’s rival for control of the land of Tsunu, the elderly king Miroku. Aizen and his demon allies have control of the other half of the ship.

During a battle with sea raiders, Kishomo is left apparently alone on another ship, but she discovers Aizen frozen in ice and saves him with the heat of her body. They travel to a land at the bottom of the sea, where they are joined by Susano-wo, adviser to the king beneath the water. He desires to regain his family’s honor by obtaining the magic sword Kuzanagi from a dragon. When the three of them return to land, they encounter Okinu-Nushi, the Spirit Master, a mysterious warrior being who attaches himself to them and helps them travel to the land where the dragon is about to take its fill of local children. Susano-wo cleverly kills the beast and commits hara-kiri at the moment of his triumph. Kishomo inherits the sword.

Aizen is returned to the ship by his demons, and Okinu-Nushi helps Kishomo return as well. They ally themselves with Miroku, and Kishomo uses her sword’s magic power to seal the demons’ only access to the rest of the ship. Kishomo, Okinu-Nushi, and Miroku—now transformed into the legendary hero Issun Boshi, Little One Inch—rush to the land of Tsuna as the demons attack its human defender, only to be attacked themselves by Issun Boshi’s forces from the ship. The three allies, joined by Aizen, watch the evenly matched forces destroy each other. Okinu-Nushi takes his leave, and the others decide to explore other realms of being because there is nothing left of interest in Tsuna. Kishimo is separated from her companions and enters a state of suspended animation.