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December 2009

Out of This World: International Science Fiction

Image: Michael Kagan, These Modern Times,” 2009, 34 x 60 inches, oil on linen.

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

The street sizzled. The clatter of skytrains, the car horns, the rattle of speeding trolleys, the twitter of traffic lights and the massive hubbub of human voices, all seethed in dark blue

Balloon to Solaris

Polish speculative fiction has been developing for over two hundred years, although it was only sixty years ago that science fiction began to be treated as a separate segment of the

From 2017

That night, under the muffled, machine-like sound of the rain, the professor dreamed that this woman had come to him. Naked and very skinny, she was as perfect as a Latin letter, a sample of

Sentimental Education

I went out the back door of the sanatorium. Before me stretched a flat lawn bordered by a tall hedge. The early autumn sun had turned the tops of the linden trees more golden than green.

From The Stories of Ibis

Called Ai no Monogatari (AI's Story) in Japanese, Hiroshi Yamamoto's The Stories of Ibis is a grand tour of science fiction and an excellent example of how science fiction as a genre

A Visit from Alcibiades

A Letter from Appeals Court Judge X to the Chief of the Imperial Court Police The Court, September 20, 1875 Your Excellency must excuse the tremulous handwriting and the rambling style,

From Ball Lightning

The descriptions in this book of the characteristics and behavior of ball lightning are based on historical records. Prelude I only remembered that it was my birthday after Mom and Dad

From Key of Passage

The pyxel appeared at a most inconvenient moment for Robert. As usual on such appearances, the air flickered a little, an invisible violin began to play softly, and there was a whiff of


Penetrate it and you'll better understand: life is revealed to us in a painted reflection.   Last night I killed my son Mauro. OK, it wasn't exactly me who did it. All I


One of the earliest accounts of the magical arts practiced in the Islamic world is found in the fourteenth-century work the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun, acknowledged as the first work on the

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