Sword Art Online is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara with accompanying illustrations drawn by abec. The series takes place in the near-future and focuses on various virtual reality MMORPG worlds. Originally self-published online under the pseudonym Fumio Kunori, ASCII Media Works began publishing the novels on April 10, 2009 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. The series has since grown to 18 volumes as of August 10, 2016 and the 20th volume was released on September 8, 2017. Yen Press began publishing the novels in English in North America and United Kingdom with the first volume on April 22, 2014. The novels are also published in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, France, and Poland. With more than 16 million copies in print worldwide, there are future plans for publications in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Vietnam and others. Kawahara also began writing a parallel series of light novels titled Sword Art Online: Progressive, a reboot of the original series' Aincrad arc. However, instead of covering the arc in one light novel, Kawahara plans to take a floor by floor approach of the Aincrad arc. The first volume was published on October 10, 2012 and four volumes have been published as of December 2015.
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