Modern day Japan is the stage for a new form of hard science-fiction, as author Nobuaki Tadano revisits one of the genre’s Grand Masters, Hal Clement, in his debut work 7 Billion Needles. Loosely inspired by Clement’s golden age title Needle, 7 Billion Needles follows the life of a teenage girl whose quiet boring days are dramatically changed when her body is possessed by an alien life form caught up in an intergalactic manhunt.
On a clear calm night, while on a class trip to the beach, Hikaru Takabe decides to go for a walk to escape the shackles of school and peer pressure. While observing the stars above a calm dark sea in an instant she is disintegrated when struck by a meteor.
Flash forward one page, and Hikaru awakes, from what seems like a horrible daydream of sorts, sitting amongst classmates in school without a scratch on her. The meteor dream seemed so real she cannot believe she’s alive, but given her relative aloof nature, she soon shrugs off the events and moves on with life. However, one thing she cannot shake off is the strange buzzing she hears coming from her new pair of headphones…
“[7 Billion Needles] is a suspenseful, intense book. What I enjoyed best is how skillfully Nobuaki Tadano develops Hikaru’s character…It’s impossible to not care about anything, and by the end of this introductory volume, it’s impossible to not care for Hikaru.” —MangaManiacCafe
“Tadano made this science fiction story — with its monster-movie overtones, and a jolting dose of ultraviolence — mostly quiet and subdued, with a heroine who falls into none of the usual manga stereotypes. Hal Clement might have had a hard time seeing his story in this, but I think he would have appreciated those quiet moments, and the communications between Horizon and Hikaru.”–Antick Musings