William Gibson contributes to a new anthology for Japan earthquake relief, available after just one month

You can read a new piece by William Gibson and help donate to the Red Cross efforts in Japan at the same time, thanks to a new anthology that just went on sale at Amazon.

The book, 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, was organized largely via Twitter and represents a new way of using social media to create a publishing project in a hurry, in response to an urgent need.

As Technorati explains:

The book was put together in just one week after an initial tweet on March 18 for contributions by a British resident in Japan known by his online moniker, Our Man In Abiko. Within hours, he had received dozens of photos, illustrations and short essays. Within a week, with contributions from some 200 people and the help of about 100 editors, translators and other volunteers, most of them strangers brought together for a common cause via Twitter, the 30,000-word #Quakebook was ready to be published. The delay was for a good cause: Amazon came on board and waived its fees. That means 100% of the purchase price goes towards helping victims of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, which left more than 27,500 people dead or missing.

As you can see from the excerpts posted here, the book includes stories by people in Japan and elsewhere who were affected by the disaster. Gibson wrote a new piece for the book, which also includes a piece from artist-musician Yoko Ono.

Gibson told the Globe and Mail that Tokyo is "one of the capitals of my imagination," and he was consumed with a need to do something, to go there and see for himself if one of his favorite places was still there. He added that the technology that spawned this book was new, but the idea of publishing a book in response to an event has deep roots:

Although the book is being published with a speed possible only with 21st-century communications tools and social media, Gibson points out that its form harks back to a tradition of collecting writing on celebratory or disastrous occasions. "These are what the Victorians would have called occasional pieces: ‘on the occasion of the great earthquake.' The form is an ancient one, but the platform is up to date. … In the past, it was gathered after the fact. Now, we have this facility to respond in real time."

You can buy the ebook at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk for $9.99, and even if you don't have a Kindle, you can read it on your computer or phone by downloading a free Kindle reader at Amazon.