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On My Radar: A LEGEND OF THE FUTURE by Agustin de Rojas, THE LAST PASSENGER by Manel Loureiro, DENDERA by Yuya Sato

I’m VERY excited about all the new sci-fi novels in translation coming out over the next several months. And don’t even get me started on how I have to wait until July (JULY!) to get my paws on the second book in the THREE-BODY TRILOGY. Anyway, here are three titles (from Cuba, Spain, and Japan) that are all over my radar.

A LEGEND OF THE FUTURE by Agustín de Rojas, transl. by Nick Caistor
(Restless Books | October 28 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


A morally profound chamber piece, Agustín de Rojas’ A Legend of the Future takes place inside a damaged spaceship following the failure of a mission to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The journey back to Earth forces the crewmembers to face their innermost fears while coexisting with each other in a state of desperation. This mesmerizing novel, reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, is a science fiction roman à clef about the intense pressures-economic, ideological, psychological-inside Communist Cuba.

This novel has only recently been made available, and I’m shifting around my TBR stack to get to it as soon as possible. How could I not, when I see words in the novel’s synopsis like “damaged spaceship,” “mesmerizing,” and “Arthur C. Clarke”??

THE LAST PASSENGER by Manel Loureiro, transl. by Andres Alfaro
(Amazon Crossing | January 1 | Cover illustration artist: Edward Bettison Ltd.)


Reporter Kate Kilroy accepts an assignment to travel on the Valkyrie, a German ship veiled in secrecy for decades after it was discovered adrift in 1939 with only one passenger aboard, a baby boy named Isaac Feldman.

Obsessed with understanding his origins, Feldman has spent a small fortune restoring the Valkyrie to try to solve the mystery. Assembling a team of experts and sparing no expense, he aims to precisely recreate the circumstances of the Valkyrie’s doomed final voyage. Little does Feldman or his team know that the ship has an agenda of its own. As the Valkyrie begins to weave its deadly web, Kate realizes that she must not only save herself, but the world as she knows it.

Let’s see: an old German ship, a mysterious passenger, and the suggestion that the ship itself is gearing up for some hard-core AI(?) craziness? Yes. Yes, I am interested in this. A lot. Yes.

DENDERA by Yuya Sato
(Haikasoru | February 10 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


When Kayu Saito wakes up, she is in an unfamiliar place. Taken to a snowy mountainside, she was left there by her family and her village according to the tradition of sacrificing the lives of the elderly for the benefit of the young. Kayu was supposed to have passed quickly into the afterlife. Instead, she finds herself in Dendera, a utopian community built over decades by old women who were abandoned like her. Together, they must now face a new threat: a savage bear who, like them, is female and hungry.

Books about utopian communities are usually pretty fascinating (case in point- Hawthorne’s THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE). The authors of such books are basically saying “here’s a story about a utopian community, but *wink wink* utopias don’t exist, hence the word’s definition. But let me tell you about one anyway!” It sounds like Sato will deliver precisely that kind of cool-and-warped-and-whaaa? novel that one might expect.

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