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Out of This World: International Science Fiction

December 2009

This month we’re traveling in the world of science fiction. From nineteenth-century Pakistan to twenty-first century Russia, authors rocket through time and space to explore worlds uncharted yet oddly familiar. Replicants and aliens, spaceships and shapeshifters are all in play; the future mirrors the present, and the intelligence is anything but artificial. Lift off with Stanisław Lem, Tomasz Kołodziejczak, Olga Slavnikova, Zoran Živković, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Machado de Assis, Liu Cixin, Pablo A. Castro, and Muhammad Husain Jah, and prepare to be launched into the fantastic.

From “Man from Mars”
By Stanisław Lem
Without aim or thought I kept walking, a small indivisible particle pressed into the crowd, letting it carry me like a cork buoyed by waves.
Translated from Polish by Peter Swirski
Balloon to Solaris
By Tomasz Kołodziejczak
We find the beginnings of Polish speculative fiction at the end of the eighteenth century, when clergymen were responsible for its birth.
Translated from Polish by Stanley Bill
From “2017”
By Olga Slavnikova
That night, under the muffled, machine-like sound of the rain, the professor dreamed that this woman had come to him.
Translated from Russian by Marian Schwartz
Sentimental Education
By Zoran Živkoviç
Nothing moved, like in a movie still.
Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tosiç
From “The Stories of Ibis”
By Hiroshi Yamamoto
Contradictions had also surfaced in the Mutant Planet cycle, and then I got an earful from the other crewmembers, though I suppose I was partly to blame for not having kept a tighter rein on Xevale.
Translated from Japanese by Takami Nieda
A Visit from Alcibiades
By Machado de Assis
Your Excellency must excuse the tremulous handwriting and the rambling style, both of which will soon be better understood.
Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers
From “Ball Lightning”
By Liu Cixin
I tried to transform the world: that was one thing I knew about myself at that age.
Translated from Chinese by Joel Martinsen
From “Key of Passage”
By Tomasz Kołodziejczak
The pyxel appeared at a most inconvenient moment for Robert.
Translated from Polish by Michael Kandel
By Pablo A. Castro
Last night I killed my son Mauro.
Translated from Spanish by Andrea Bell
By Muhammad Husain Jah
These sciences were used in different combinations to create magic.
Translated from Urdu by Musharraf Ali Farooqi