cover image Continuum: French Science Fiction Short Stories

Continuum: French Science Fiction Short Stories

Edited by Annabelle Dolidon, with Tessa Sermet, trans. from the French by Sheryl Curtis et al. Ooligan, $24.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-947845-47-3

French literary scholars Dolidon and Sermet do a stellar job assembling this anthology of nine sci-fi shorts originally published between 1956 and 2021 and appearing in English for the first time. Their introduction provides an insightful overview of French sci-fi as a genre, and places the selections in needed cultural and historical context. The most memorable tale is the oldest, Julia Verlanger’s 1956 “The Bubbles,” trans. by Sermet. The narrator is a 16-year-old girl in a future where creatures resembling giant iridescent soap bubbles prey on humans, transforming them into “the Others.” In response to this deadly threat, the world is in lockdown, and Verlanger brilliantly evokes the resulting claustrophobia, isolation, and loneliness on the way to a gut-punch ending. Roland C. Wagner’s 1985 “That Which Is Not Named,” trans. by Dolidon, is another standout, inventively imagining an isolated humanoid civilization that has been “unlearning” its history for centuries due to a belief that anything unnamed does not actually exist. The astonishing array of talent, mostly unknown to English readers, makes this a necessary addition to any true sci-fi aficionado’s library. (Apr.)