Tokyo Zero

Tokyo Zero: A Novel

Tokyo Zero (Cover)

One man goes to Tokyo to end the world. It goes fairly well.

As a Japanese cult gets ready to stage a massive attack, they are forced to recruit a secretive young bio-chemist from the West. They hide out on the fringes of Tokyo, taking care of the daily business of preparing for the apocalypse, until the foreigner’s secret past starts to come to light and threaten their future dreams.

“Horne writes in a lyrically jarring fashion that never quite releases the tension long enough for you to get your footing. Flashbacks and flashforwards zoom past like hurtling Tokyo trains, leaving you agreeably frazzled.

…You cruise wildly imaginative waters where would-be fascist billionaires consort with female assassins, mothers are killed by the Khmer Rouge, plastic surgeons manipulate human DNA, bearded cult leaders levitate on the Tokyo subway, and a superpowerful artificial intelligence employs an irony filter.” –

Tokyo Zero is so good that, if you haven’t read it, you may in fact be squandering your literacy.” Moxie Mezcal, author of ‘Concrete Underground’

“A hell of an opener” Cory Doctorow,

One of the most downloaded independently published eBooks ever.

Read Chapter 1 below

How to get it

A kindle version for Kindle, iPhone or iPad for $0.99 at or for just 99 British Pennies at (no DRM)

In the iBooks bookstore on your iPad

Tokyo Zero is published under a Creative Commons license. If any publisher wants to publish it commercially, you can contact me via my gmail address, which is marcjhorne



Japanese policemen’s guns are small and sort of puny. Except when they are shooting at you. Right now, they are shooting at me and my companion and we are running scared. The Policemen’s shots are a little tentative, like someone picking chewing gum out of their hair. In fairness to the police, I should mention that we are in Shinjuku station, the world’s busiest. Currently it is occupied by… oh, I don’t know… 2.5 Lichtensteins. I am on average four inches taller than those around me, and a crucial four inches to boot, so as I barge through the crowd, hurting everyone, I must remember to crouch. To help me remember this, I visualize two things: the cloth that hangs in front of every drinking establishment in this country and those photos of JFK’s autopsy that my father and I discussed over breakfast in 1977.

Running next to me, in full flush of his compact masculinity is Takeshi Honda, ex-military. Now, if I were a Takeshi Honda in a blue suit in these circumstances I would fall to the ground and upon standing be a sheep rather than a wolf and watch events through the TV glaze. However, Honda stays with me, pointing me here and there, grabbing aggressive costumed Japan Railways employees by the forehead and smashing them to pieces, reminding them that it is not the peaked hats of the police that make us run.

We skid past a “Let’s Kiosk!” and I have never felt more like accepting its invitation. Yeah, let’s kiosk… anything but this.

The man behind the kiosk cannot believe his eyes: the crowds have parted, firstly, and secondly a white man with his face covered in blood and a salaryman with a soul are racing straight at him. If she were not such a traitor (or if I were not) he would also see a most aggressively attractive woman neck-to-neck with us, probably openly armed. But she is gone and I don’t know if her beauty will aid or hinder her attempt to stay gone. When this is over, that will be interesting to find out. If I see her mug shot on TV or if I never see her again will be how I find out.

“Stop!” cry the cops in English, which I take personally. This makes me turn around. I see that things are over. Somehow they coordinated the station like an army to part and create a long shooting range. They are skidding around a little at their end of the range as they get into position. The floor of this station is in places one of the slickest surfaces known to man, polished by several million feet in predictable chaos daily. It is veined in a pattern that would tell the anthropological programs of my father’s future much about the recently dead human race. The three policemen are about to shoot, as soon as they can stand, and even if one accidentally takes out the Kiosk man who is cowering behind dried squid in front of us, that still leaves plenty of bullets for me.

The dried squid remind me of the enormous giant squid beneath the oceans, sacs of amazing pressure and death power and darkness who nonetheless have had no impact on my life.

The kiosk man drops.

  1. March 16th, 2011

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