First, a couple of interesting points about this book and the author. The title story was written between 1965 to 1966 and was translated into English on 2011. This English version has two stories: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of. Just over 200 pages in length, this Japanese science fiction is a quick read. Yasutaka Tsutsui is also the author of Paprika, which was made into a film. I remember liking that film a lot.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is fast pace and entertaining. One day, fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Kazuko has discovered by accident that she is capable of time travel. Leaping back and forth in time, Kazuko is trying to convince her friends this new found superpower of hers. To Kazuko, the ability to leapt through time is more of a problem that has be solved rather than an opportunity to be exploited. As a part-science-fiction-part-drama-and-romance, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time doesn’t dwell too deep onto the technical details. The story has also elegantly avoided the topic of temporal paradox. All in all, I was glued to the story from the first page. My only disappointment is that the story has ended too soon. It has a beautiful ending, don’t get me wrong. I just wish the story would last longer.
Then, there is this odd piece called The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of. While the two stories do not seem to relate to each other, it does have this common theme of erasing memory. Masako has certain phobias that have been haunting her since young. And she discovers that not only she has this problem, the people around her too. Like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the author is taking the readers a journey of mystery and discovery. The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of does not seem to have the magic like the titled story does. It is a good albeit short read nonetheless.