Thursday, September 10, 2020

Coming Soon...

Three Plastic Rooms
by Petra Hulova  
Translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker 

Coming Soon...

by Ivana Dobrakovova 
Translated from the Slovak by Julia Sherwood and Peter Sherwood 

Coming Soon...

Perfect Happiness
by Anjel Lertxundi 
Translated from the Basque by Amaia Gabantxo

Coming Soon...

The Red Notebook
by Arantxa Urretabizkaia
Translated from the Basque by Kristin Addis

Monday, September 7, 2020

Drift in the Timeline

One Love Chigusa is set in the year 2091 AD. After a severe accident, Xie Hoyu's body parts are gathered, engineered and brought again to functionality. After his release from the hospital, Xie, now a cyborg, wanders the city in the Greater Beijing with partly restored memory, but he soon loses the confidence to go on living2 – a feeling which he had harvested even before his accident. Xie, a frustrated illustrator, never had successful relationship with women, and now in his aimless drifting following the memory of his Quantum Data, he's unable to see the regular appearance of the men and women as he sees them passing on the streets - they have demonic, red and angry faces, and have indicators1 glowing on their chest. And in addition, he even has delusional visions and experiences, and hears voices of unknown origins, which further troubles him in his new life and reality. As Xie Hoyu faces existential crisis and seeks for a relief, while at a coffee shop, he sees a woman of extraordinary beauty through the display window. To Xie's surprise, the woman could smile and doesn't have a demonic face like everyone else, and on seeing her, his desire to live is suddenly rejuvenated. From that moment on, Xie becomes restless in the hope of seeing her again and knowing her. His days and nights, and even nightmares are filled with the episodes where his urge to meet her becomes even more pressing.

1.       People without religion, ideology or faith, only trust money as the measure of worth and value.

2.      If there was a god, he needed to send Xie a message explaining why he existed, what his purpose was and how he should keep on living in this world. What reason was there? He wasn't capable of anything.

On one such day, while Xie Hoyu is in the coffee shop as usual, the girl reappears, and after following her path, he manages to locate her workplace and decides to wait for her. Meanwhile, we visit a story of despair from his artificially engineered memory bank, and also come across a voice ringing from inside his head that haunts him, and which provokes him to ponder over the Aryan race and history, domination and development in the light of war and science, electricity and nuclear power, and how all these have added to the world of science and technology. After the woman comes out of the plant (Shankal Electric), Xie follows her secretly along the transport network and dark alleys of the city, and even though a sense of futility and guilt develops in him doing this, unable to find a purpose and unable to let go of the motivation to live he developed after seeing the girl, he follows along. As he grapples with the question and meaning of his existence3, questioning his every move, mode and intentions, he finally encounters the woman he'd been following – the woman of utmost beauty, smile and calm. Xie becomes euphoric and is soon filled with inordinate passion for Chigusa. The naïve and pure conversations on love and the sentiments of heart4 lead them to develop a close relation. But the story takes a sharp turn, when all the hidden details - odd and strange - start to make meaning towards the end, leaving us with the identities of Xie Hoyu and Chigusa in the midst of a despair, and in the depth of possibilities and further questions.

3.       Humankind – why is it organized like this? Why is it that these creatures live and populate this earth? Does all this any meaning? Sexual reproduction, and creatures that relied on it, was becoming less and less important in a civilization now dominated by cutting-edge technologies. Humans were no more than faded supporting actors, old-fashioned, with primitive ideas, about to leave the stage. Singularity… In the old days, it was fashionable to talk about that. You never hear that word now. It is never on anyone's lips. Why has that happened?

4.       'When one leaves one's own self-interest behind, when one's hopes and decisions are moved by a feeling for others. This is the heart...'

One Love Chigusa has set one foot on the meaning of human existence and love, and the other one on the visions of the future where AI might overtake the humans and for better or worse. The story has everything to be a modern classic sci-fi novella, an existential brainstorm, and a love story that connects the world that we experience and the world that is close at hand. The story definitely makes one wonder and question the sorrows of the existence – excited with the possibilities of the future, and filled with dread for our place on this planet as well. The birth of new realities that will define and weigh our existence and identity can be profoundly sensed in this story set in the future. We're left with the question - Is there any place for love in the far more mechanical world where our core human values may not weigh like now and when they may lose their present identity?

Finally, the 6th Red Circle Minis has added a new storey to the already towering reputation of the series.

Author: Soji Shimada 
Translator: David Warren
Publisher: Red Circle Authors   
Author's Photo Source: 
Review Copy Courtesy: Red Circle Authors 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Coming Soon...

Two Blankets, Three Sheets
by Rodaan Al Galidi
Translated from the Dutch by Jonathan Reeder

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Coming Soon...

Stories for the Years
by Luigi Pirandello
Translated from the Italian by Virginia Jewiss

Coming Soon...

Three Plastic Rooms by Petra Hulova   Translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker