What is the Japanese fascination with the monstrous and mechanical? Miri Nakamura's Monstrous Bodies and Jennifer Robertson's Robo Sapiens Japanicus attempt to answer this question. The former explores the monster as a product of modernity, noting the uncanniness of monstrous—but not visibly grotesque—humans within modern Japanese literature. The latter considers how the portrayal of robots plays into a contemporary conservative imaginary and paves the way for a nostalgic future. Both suggest that the monstrous and mechanical are qualities that can interrogate the possibilities of the present and the shape of the future, each a fantasy that acts as a “mirror image of modern Japanese history, the reverse side of myths of constant progress, economic miracle, and social harmony.”1 Yet, if certain monsters arise from modernity, then the reviewed works together hint that the monstrous synthesis of body and machine may become a postmodern platform for imagining a different tomorrow....

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