Your Utopia by Bora Chung, translated from the Korean by Anton Hur (Algonquin Books, January 30)
In “The Center for Immortality Research,” a low-level employee runs herself ragged planning a fancy gala for donors, only to be blamed for a crime she witnessed during the event, under the noses of the mysterious celebrity benefactors hoping to live forever. But she can’t be fired—no one can. In “One More Kiss, Dear,” a tender, one-sided love blooms in the AI-elevator of an apartment complex; as in, the elevator develops a profound affection for one of the residents. In “Seeds,” we see the final frontier of capitalism’s destruction of the planet and the GMO companies who rule the agricultural industry, but nature has ways of creeping back to life.
You Glow in the Dark by Liliana Colanzi, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews (February 6)
The seven stories of You Glow in the Dark unfold in a Latin America wrecked and poisoned by human greed, and yet Colanzi’s writing—at once sleek and dense, otherworldly and intensely specific—casts an eerily bright spell over the wreckage. Some stories seem to be set in a near future; all are superbly executed and yet hard to pin down; they often leave the reader wondering: Was that realistic or fantastic? Colanzi draws power from Andean cyberpunk just as much as from classic horror writers, and this daring is matched by her energizing simultaneous use of multiplicity and fragmentation—the book’s stylistic trademarks.
Blue Lard by Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Max Lawton (NYRB Classics, February 27)
The book begins in a futuristic laboratory where genetic scientists speak in a Joycean dialect of Russian mixed with Chinese—peppered with ample neologisms—and work to clone famous Russian writers, who are then made to produce texts in the style of their forebears. The goal of this “script-process” is not the texts themselves, but the blue lard that collects in the small of their backs as they write. This substance is to be used to power reactors on the moon—that is, until a sect of devout nationalists breaks in to steal the blue lard, planning to send it back in time to an alternate version of the Soviet Union, one that exists on the margins of a Europe conquered by a long-haired Hitler with the ability to shoot electricity from his hands. What will come of this blue lard? Who will finally make use of its mysterious powers?
Through the Night Like a Snake: Latin American Horror Stories, ed. Two Lines Press, various translators (Two Lines Press, March 12)
In ten chilling stories from this ensemble cast of contemporary Latin American writers, horror infiltrates the unexpected, taboo regions of the present-day psyche. Latin American Horror is having a moment. Through the Night Like a Snake, the latest in our Calico Series, is an attempt to capture that energy, however eerie or plain terrifying it appears on the page. With writings from celebrated horror practitioners like Mariana Enriquez (Our Share of Night), Mónica Ojeda (Jawbone), Camila Sosa Villada (Bad Girls) and many others, TTNLAS arrives in pitch-perfect English translation, courtesy of translators Sarah Booker, Megan McDowell, Ellen Jones, Kit Maude, Julia Sanches, and others.
The Inhumans and Other Stories: A Selection of Bengali Science Fiction, ed. Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, translated from the Bengali by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay (MIT Press, March 12)
The first English translation of a cult science fiction favorite by Hemendra Kumar Roy, one of the giants of early Bangla literature, and other sf stories from the colonial period in India. Kalpavigyan—science fiction written to excite Bengali speakers about science, as well as to persuade them to evolve beyond the limitations of religion, caste, and class—became popular in the early years of the twentieth century. Translated into English for the first time, in this collection you’ll discover The Inhumans (1935), Hemendrakumar Roy’s satirical novella about a lost race of Bengali supermen in Uganda. Also included are Jagadananda Ray’s “Voyage to Venus” (1895), Nanigopal Majumdar’s “The Mystery of the Giant” (1931), and Manoranjan Bhattacharya’s “The Martian Purana” (1931).
Jumpnauts by Hao Jingfang, translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu (S&S/Saga Press, March 12)
From the Hugo Award–winning author of Folding Beijing comes a gripping science fiction thriller in which three unlikely allies attempt a desperate mission of first contact with a mysterious alien race before more militaristic minds can take matters into their own hands.
The Book Censor’s Library by Bothayna Al-Essa, translated from the Arabic by Ranya Abdelrahman and Sawad Hussain (Restless Books, April 2)
A perilous and fantastical satire of banned books, secret libraries, and the looming eye of an all-powerful government.
Oracle by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated from the Dutch by ? (Tor Nightfire, April 30)
On a foggy winter morning Luca Wolf and Emma Reich discover an eighteenth-century sailing ship stranded on a barren flower field, its name written on its side: Oracle. Emma, unable to resist, enters the hatch on the tilted deck. The ship’s bell begins to toll and no one sees her again. Not much later, eleven people have disappeared, Luca and his mother have been absconded by a clandestine government agency which has questions, no answers, and are determined to uncover the ship’s secrets before a media storm erupts. But as they force Robert Grim, a retired specialist of the occult with a strange history and a healthy dislike of authority, to unravel the mystery, the Oracle is revealed to be a harbinger of an ancient doom awakened underneath the sea. What follows is a maelstrom of international intrigue, history, young love, humanity’s relationship with climate and disease, and pure terror as they come face to face with an open doorway to apocalypse.
Swan Knight by Fumio Takano, translated from the Japanese by Sharni Wilson (Luna Press Publishing, April 30)
As the nineteenth century draws toward its close, King Ludwig II of Bavaria binge-watches television to escape his reality, side-lined by his own advisers. His one wish is to meet Wagner, the mysterious composer pumping out new music and scores of remixes every day. He sets out, alone and in disguise, to find Wagner in the maze-like subterranean city that sprawls deep beneath Munich. Meanwhile, Karl, a rookie musician hired by Wagner in the underground world, is shocked to be chosen as the lead singer for the Swan Knight TV music drama. But even in the depths of the earth, the insidious shadow of political intrigue lurks. Who is Wagner, the man behind the myth? And what ultimate destiny awaits Ludwig and Karl?
The Stronghold by Dino Buzzati, translated from the Italian by Lawrence Venuti (NYRB Classics, May 23)
Buzzati is one of the great Italian writers of the twentieth century, renowned for his fantastical imagination and for a touch that is as lyrical as it is light. The Stronghold, previously translated as The Tartar Steppe, is his most celebrated work, a book that has been read as a veiled attack on Mussolini’s fascist militarism, a prophetic allegory of the Cold War, and an existentialist fable.
Woodworm by Layla Martinez, translated from the Spanish (Spain) by Sophie Hughes and Annie McDermott (Two Lines Press, May 14)
The house breathes. The house contains bodies and secrets. The house is visited by ghosts, by angels that line the roof like insects, and by saints that burn the bedsheets with their haloes. It was built by a smalltime hustler as a means of controlling his wife, and even after so many years, their daughter and her granddaughter can’t leave. They may be witches or they may just be angry, but when the mysterious disappearance of a young boy draws unwanted attention, the two isolated women, already subjects of public scorn, combine forces with the spirits that haunt them in pursuit of something that resembles justice.
Wafers by Ha Seong-nan, translated from the Korean by Janet Hong (Open Letter, June 4)
This 2006 collection of short stories is in line with the unsettling, engrossing style of Ha’s other two collections that have been translated into English, the critical and commercial successes Flowers of Mold and Bluebeard’s First Wife. A best-seller in Korea, Ha Seong-nan is one of the stars of contemporary short fiction, writing edgy, socially conscious stories that bring to mind the novels of Han Kang and the film Parasite.
Under the Neomoon by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole (Two Lines Press, June 11)
An electric collection that evokes the works of Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingeborg Bachmann, Under the Neomoon is a neon-bright reminder of humanity’s violent folly and the importance of storytelling from down below, from the wage worker’s hovel. An abandoned construction site. Glowering pits and furnaces. A lone man in a bungalow. Widely considered to be one of the great German writers of the twentieth century, Wolfgang Hilbig’s dark visions have long held readers aloft with their musical language and uncompromising vision of the modern world. In Under the Neomoon, his debut short story collection originally published in East Germany in 1982, Hilbig’s persistent fixations—factory pits, rampant nature, and split identities—are at their most visceral and brilliant. Rendered into English by Hilbig’s longtime translator Isabel Fargo Cole, these short tales apply fluorescent language (“garlands of cast-iron flowers,” “tall dark-green water grasses”) to lives and spaces of foreclosed dreams.
The Black Orb by Kim Ewhan, Sean Lin Halbert (Profile, July 31)
One evening in downtown Seoul, Jeong-su is smoking a cigarette outside when he sees something impossible: a huge black orb appears out of nowhere and sucks his neighbour inside.The orb soon begins consuming other people and no one knows how to stop it. Impervious to bullets and tanks, the orb splits and multiplies, chasing the hapless residents of Seoul out into the country and sparking a global crisis with widespread violence and looting. Jeong-su must rely upon his wits as he makes the arduous journey in search of his elderly parents. But the strangest phases of this ever-expanding disaster are yet to come and Jeong-su will be forced to question everything he has taken for granted.