“What about something dripping with eeeeeeeerie symbolism?”  James Lovelock leers at you, obviously relishing your discomfort.  “What if the seasons were literally spinning out of control?”


“In Japan, this year, the cherry blossoms, the purest symbol of life and spring and rebirth — bloomed twice.”

You blink — not quite sure what James Lovelock means.

“In the spring, they bloomed as they always do, as they have bloomed for thousands of years, as they bloom in paintings and poems and songs.  And then the typhoons came.  The rain and the warm weather.  It kept pouring down.  And then, just a few weeks ago, in the middle of October, the cherry trees all across the country began to bloom again — because they thought it was spring.


“The cherry blossom is a symbol of the frailty of human life, a symbol of deteriorating youth, a symbol of birth, but also of death.  The cherry blossoms bloomed twice but they also died twice this year.  It sounds like a Hayao Miyazaki movie — but it’s not.  The only unstoppable supernatural force is us — and we’re the villains.”


If you say, “your folk tales don’t perturb me, old man,” turn to page 51.

If you say, “Okay this is getting weird.  Please tell me we can turn things around,” turn to page 15.