Everything Good Dies Here: Tales from the Linker Universe and Beyond by Djuna, translated from the Korean by Adrian Thieret (Kaya Press, October 26)
The stories brought together in this collection introduce for the first time in English the dazzling speculative imaginings of Djuna, one of South Korea’s most provocative SF writers. Whether describing a future society light years away or satirizing Confucian patriarchy, these stories evoke a universe at once familiar and clearly fantastical. Also collected here for the first time are all six stories set in the Linker Universe, where a mutating virus sends human beings reeling through the galaxy into a dizzying array of fracturing realities. Blending influences ranging from genre fiction (zombie, vampire, SF, you name it) to golden-age cinema to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Djuna’s stories together form a brilliantly intertextual, mordantly funny critique of the human condition as it evolves into less and more than what it once was.
The Movement by Petra Hůlová, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker (World Editions, October 5)
The Movement’s founding ideology emphasizes that women should be valued for their inner qualities, and not for their physical attributes. Men have been forbidden to be attracted to women on the basis of their bodies. While some continue unreformed, many submit—or are sent by wives and daughters—to the Institute for internment and reeducation. Our narrator, an unapologetic guard at one of these reeducation facilities, describes how the Movement started, her own personal journey, and what happens when a program fails. She is convinced the Movement is nearing its final victory—a time when everybody will fall in line with its ideals. Outspoken, ambiguous, and terrifying, this socio-critical satire of our sexual norms sets the reader firmly outside of their comfort zone.
Life Sciences by Joy Sorman, translated from the French by Laura Vergnaud (Restless Books, October 12)
Ninon Moise is cursed. So is her mother Esther, as was every eldest female member of her family going back to the Middle Ages. Each generation is marked by a uniquely obscure disease, illness, or ailment—one of her ancestors was patient zero in the sixteenth-century dancing plague of Strasbourg, while Esther has a degenerative eye disease. Ninon grows up comforted and fascinated by the recitation of these bizarre, inexplicable medical mysteries, forewarned that something will happen to her, yet entirely unprepared for how it will alter her life. Her own entry into this litany of maladies appears one morning in the form of an excruciating burning sensation on her skin, from her wrists to her shoulders.
Embarking on a dizzying and frustrating cycle of doctors, specialists, procedures, needles, scans, and therapists, seventeen-year-old Ninon becomes consumed by her need to receive a diagnosis and find a cure for her ailment. She seeks to break the curse and reclaim her body by any means necessary, through increasing isolation and failed treatment after failed treatment, even as her life falls apart. A provocative and empathic questioning of illness, remedy, transmission, and health, Life Sciences poignantly questions our reliance upon science, despite its limitations, to provide all the answers.
The Cabinet by Un-su Kim, translated from the Korean by Sean Lin Halbert (Angry Robot, October 12)
Cabinet 13 looks exactly like any normal filing cabinet…Except this cabinet is filled with files on the ‘symptomers’, humans whose strange abilities and bizarre experiences might just mark the emergence of a new species. But to Mr Kong, the harried office worker whose job it is to look after the cabinet, the symptomers are a headache; especially the one who won’t stop calling every day, asking to be turned into a cat. A richly funny and fantastical novel about the strangeness at the heart of even the most everyday lives, from one of South Korea’s most acclaimed novelists.