When Japan was struck by an earthquake on March 11, the world looked on in horror. The footage of the destruction caused by the quake and its aftershocks, the overwhelming force of the tsunami that followed and the damage to Japan’s nuclear power stations will stay with us for a long time. The humanitarian crisis in the country is ongoing, and Japan needs our help.

Genre For Japan is an online auction taking place this coming Monday, March 28. On that day, fans can bid on limited edition, ultra rare and money-can’t-normally-buy literary ‘genre’ fiction prizes – genre being the grouping term used to refer to science fiction, fantasy and horror literature.

The event was formed by a collective of genre’ fans who met and developed the idea on Twitter. The group includes reviewer and blogger Amanda Rutter, writer Louise Morgan, Solaris books editor Jenni Hill, writer Ro Smith, Hub Fiction editor Alasdair Stuart and graphic designer/photographer Robert Mulligan.

I’ve known Louise Morgan for many years and she’s been keeping me up to speed with the prizes as they’ve been submitted to the site. Things are, it would appear, going better than they could have expected.

“We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by people’s generosity,” she told me, “As of the last count, we’ve had a hundred donated items, ranging from a year’s supply of Tor books to critiques and advice from the editors at Solaris and Abaddon Books. There’s the chance to appear in novels by authors like Mike Shevdon and Suzanne McLeod, unique artwork, rare or limited editions of books and signed copies from writers like Neil Gaiman. People have really pulled out all the stops. Even fans have donated personal copies of some rare items.”

“We’ve had so much feedback and support from people on Twitter, Facebook and on forums, and the bloggers have really got behind the whole idea. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

All proceeds will go directly to the Japan Tsunami appeal launched by the British Red Cross. Read the official press release here.

There’s still time to donate prizes, but hurry – your last chance to pledge items is at 5pm today (March 25). So dig deep, and do it fast.

Reminder: the auction takes place this Monday, March 28.