The Universal Library by Kurd Lasswitz

Translated from the German by Erik Born Publication Note As far as we are aware, the source for this translation is in the public domain, since the text was originally published in Germany in 1904 and the author passed away in 1910. Translator’s Preface Kurd...

Stories We Carry On The Back Of The Night

Sam’s father tells him bedtime stories about the people by the lake. Or, better to call them one bedtime story, repeated so often, it takes a different shape each time, a shadow puppet morphing in the penumbra of a flashlight. Sam’s father calls it his earliest...

Excerpts: Half of What I Say

“Who’s the most beautiful woman of all?” asked Padma, with satisfaction. He smiled. He was glad to be her truth-telling mirror. He was glad Padma had pressured him to attend the 10th Annual IAPTA Fashion Show party. He was glad Eshwar Pillai was in town. He was glad...

Partition

I started smuggling things at an early age: ice-cream for the chowkidar, cold drink for the sweating gardener and chocolate for the maid’s kid. There was a sense of adventure in sneaking things out of the kitchen — basic things that were available...

Blonde

“When did you go bald?” Only Clarice would ask such a forthright question. “Leave her alone,” Jake drains his beer. Only he would dare contradict his sister. The clock hands have gone from late at night to early in the morning. Jake’s bar is empty of customers. The...

Thorns In My Throat

“You worship idols! Ooh, you’re going to hell!” I was so young when they took my tongue away. They needed no scalpel to silence me, only the sharp edge of their judgment. The worst part was, I let them. — “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” We’ve all...

The Mountain

They had been climbing all afternoon. First it was a game of hide-and-seek in the underbrush and over rocky outcrops. But by accident or design their game had taken them higher up the slope until the roof of the guest house was lost among the trees below, and the...

Binaries

Year 1: I come into the world wet and squalling and ordinary, born of heterosexual bio-parents. Year 2: A flat photo shows me on my first birthday with a shock of red hair, wide green eyes, and an expression of distaste at the sticky white frosting on my fingers. My...

Five Lessons in the Fattening Room

1. Some say that Mistress Ata Madidi is not of man, but birthed from the brackish waters of the Ebedi Ocean. They say she is divine, called into being by the need of one desperate woman to tame man and claim a free life. Like the ocean, the beloved Mistress is a...

Excerpts: Hammer in the Dark

The human female, Narita, turned back to Jequith after the door slid shut. “I’m so sorry.” “You did not have to turn away your friend, just because we are here.” Jequith said the words politeness demanded, but it was intensely grateful...