Strange Horizons, October 30, 2017

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Strange Horizons, October 30, 2017

“The Darwinist” by Diaa Jubaili (translated by Alexander Hong)

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

This special issue features two stories translated from Arabic.

“The Darwinist” by Diaa Jubaili (translated by Alexander Hong) begins with a baby boorn in Iraq in 1950. His father, condemned as an infidel for his belief in Communism and evolution, disappeared before his birth. His mother, blaming him for the loss of her husband, rejects him. His uncle adopts him, and he grows up to become an athlete, marred only by a birthmark on his face. By the end, he undergoes a bizarre transformation. This story has the feeling of magic realism, and seems to be about the way the past can influence the present.

“Judo” by Rasha Abbas (translated by Robin Moger) concerns a woman who writes a letter to a young man who always stands at his window wearing a shawl. She eventually goes to see him, and not all is as expected. This is a strange, mysterious story which creates an eerie mood.

Victoria Silverwolf does not speak Arabic.