Two of Six – Tomohito Moriyama

moriyama

“Two of Six” (novella) by Tomohito Moriyama

English Publication History: Two of Six: A Captain’s Dilemma (2018)

Original: Japanese (6分の2), 2018

Translated by J. D. Wisgo, 2018

Receipt: Free from the translator

Synopsis: Captain Eiji Kurashiki knows that luck brought the six humans together, but only analytic and moralistic mulling will decide the outcome: Which two of the six will survive? Prior to confronting his options of life and death, Captain Eiji’s spaceliner Matchlock had experienced an unidentified malfunction; though still gliding through space toward Earth, the Captain knows that it’s deathly quite is ominous to even his passengers, each of whom won a sweepstakes for a return-trip back to Earth. As with random choice, their backgrounds vary with only their Japanese nationality and/or ethnicity being the same. Beside the Captain considering his options stands the humanoid Elise, whose opinions and options stem from Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. With nearly twelve hours remaining until oxygen depletion on the ship, Captain Eiji announces his idea for saving two souls with the escape capsule: Using a lottery that excludes himself, only two of the five passengers will be chosen to live. After hearing the distressing news, two of the five passengers, all of whom locked in their respective cabins, signal to speak with the Captain who weighs even more opinion. What seemed to be a straight-forward lottery selection soon blossoms into a complex ordeal of both selfishness and selflessness. With Captain Eiji’s human notions and Elise’s three laws and budding self-awareness, a satisfactory conclusion for all must be reached.

Analysis: Through and through, Captain Eiji is a leader. Rather than tackling the moralistic conundrum objectively, he understands that whatever solution is finalized, it will ultimately affect people; thus, people should be at the forefront of this decision-making rather than facts or figures like age, marital status, or history. The overarching importance to his decision-making is one of fairness in which he himself must be excluded (“The captain goes down with the ship”). As you could expect from a random sampling of people, their reactions were just as diverse: selflessness, calm understanding, inner conflict, hostility, etc.

When given a one-on-one platform to express opinion, two of the five show restraint with a remarkable, civilized tact that highlights the considerate, personal side of humanity. When airing grievances publicly, however, the calming tide of sympathy and understanding can turn ugly with accusations. Captain Eiji only allowed this public conference call because he felt that he couldn’t restrict the rights of his passengers, even in this uncertain time; the result was not what he wanted. Rather than giving a platform for hotheadedness, the Captain should have continued his personal approach until all opinions had been gathered, only then updating and convening to steer the course for a comprehensive agreement on who survives.

The spanner in the works of this human trial of morality is Elise. Her (to give her  a pronoun) understanding of human morality isn’t based on emotion, sympathy, or self-determination, but one based on the same three laws above:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

As a result, Elise is conflicted. If she agrees to any course of action on who lives and who dies, she’s thereby breaking the first law. Captain Elise puts himself under undue pressure by including the views of Elise, but it certainly does add a great dimension to the story.

Review: I can appreciate a story crafted like this. Many readers would air, “Why does the ship have only one escape capsule?” or “What was the nature of the accident?”, but these trifling technical details would detract from the core of the story: people in a moral conundrum. Just as Captain Eiji nearly fully exhausts all paths to a solution, it’s obvious that the story garnered the love and attention of not only the author, but also the translator, who did a superb job of presenting the story in a readable manner that tickled the mind and the spirit.

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Hunter of Stars – Nava Samel

zion

“Hunter of Stars” (short story) by Nava Samel

English Publication History: Zion’s Fiction (Mandel Vilar Press, 2018)

Original: Hebrew (2009, צייד מכוכבים)

Translated by Emanuel Lottem, 2018

Synopsis: One day, earth’s mortals witness a celestial darkening: the stars blot out, the moon dims, and the sun fades. Whatever the reason, an indelible impression has been left on the minds and lives of the same mortals, some of whom attach a religious significance to the event. Neri, however, was born at the same time as the sky’s once-eternal lights dimmed, so he knows nothing of a starry sky, yet fascination runs deep. Though the earth is darkened, hope remains in religious worship of the great God unseen and, as with Neri, in the celestial worship of the great stars unseen. One of his aunt’s chide him on his childish fixation while the rest of his family cater to his obsession.

Analysis: I don’t want to regress this analysis to solipsism, but I could it I wanted. I won’t even regress it to subjective character of experience. In summary, many things happened before I was born: someone invented the wheel, Jesus walked the earth, the black death killed millions, America was founded and fought over, and there were a couple of world wars, to name a few–thousands of years of history that I accept on hearsay as I wasn’t around when those things happened, yet they still affect me in one way or another. I don’t attribute great significance is past events, but it’s 1) my own subjective experience that tell me more about life and 2) the reading of fiction that reflects or expands on that narrative. If I choose to fixate on any one thing, it’s because it reflects my narrative.

In “Hunter of Stars”, the stars have no objective significance in Neri’s life as he has never seen them, but two things compound to give rise to subjective experience: his auspicious birthday and the fact that everyone else signifies another occasion on his own birthday. He can see the importance the stars once held for others, but that significance has morphed into mourning and devotion, like someone’s death where the life of the person was never appreciated until their passing. Meanwhile, Neri sees the stars as a fascination, something to be studied and explored even though he had never before seen the stars. So, which devotion is more significant, the mourning of what was experienced yet lost or the yearning of what was never experienced yet found?

Review: The five-page story is broken into ten small section that sample Neri’s narrative in order to understand why he views the stars with such significance, what others think about it, and how he focuses his devotion. It’s interesting to read the story through the eyes of an adolescent who lives in strange times. Overall, it’s a quick story that usually wouldn’t garner much attention, but like Neri’s wandering eye, once time is taken and the focus shifted, little glimmering gems can be found.

Burn Alexandria – Keren Landsman

“Burn Alexandria” (short story) by Keren Landsman

English Publication History: Zion’s Fiction (Mandel Vilar Press, 2018)

Original: Hebrew (לשרוף את אלכסנדריה ,2015)

Translated by Emanuel Lottem, 2018

Synopsis: An aberration of the physical world appeared amidst the rubble; while detected upon its unheralded arrival, it can now be neither seen nor unseen–a spherical void. Shir and Romi of the Silent Unit, which is assigned to sabotage alien arrivals on Earth, enter the dark sphere, the inside of which is larger than possible. Greeted by a hologram, they grow skeptical that this aberration is of alien origin and soon their suspicions are confirmed when they meet a frazzled librarian named Nuphar. With the intention of recording history in occasional eras, the time-tunneling library arrives in the time of Shir and Romi, only to be left in the dark as the world outside is just as dark: desolate, depopulated, deprived, and nearly wholly without humans, which include Shir and Romi, who are mere flesh on metallic skeletons, fashioned regrowths due to their work of sabotage. Nuhar is stricken by the truth, thus rallying the humans in her library to decided what to do: carry on through time detailing or history, or actually doing their proper job of raising humankind through its ashes.

Analysis:  Recorded history goes back thousands of years to the invention of writing systems, but communication through art, such as engraving and cave painting, has been around for tens of thousands of years.  The obsession to record and to to remember, even to be recorded and to be remembers, has a continual place in human civilization to the point, now, where anything mundane can be recorded, stored, and retrieved… look at the garbage on YouTube, Twitter, and, well, everywhere. So much shit piled up for no reason other than the ability to record, store, and retrieve. Libraries, thankfully, have more discretion.

The most famous of all libraries–the Library of Alexandria–was built “to show off the wealth of Egypt” and, to a lesser degree, be the locus of research. Nowadays, the opposite is true: Libraries exist as hubs as public research, repositories of respected opinion, truth, and fiction. Rarely are any modern libraries built to endure the ages, to weather the storm of time in order preserve the collected knowledge of humankind (perhaps the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, CD3WD, and Internet Archive). The purpose of these archives is to secure knowledge in order for future generations of lesser privilege can resurrect the same knowledge to better their own lives for all of humankind, or so I like to think. Once that is carried out, the archive will have achieved its goal and, thus, eases to be a repository (from the verb “reposit” which means “to store”) and becomes a retrieval (from the verb “retrieve” which means “to find and bring back”).

The eighth incarnation of the Library of Alexandria, as in “Burn Alexandria” serves a similar function–it must weigh its nature as a repository versus that as its fate as a retrieval.

Review: For someone who loves books, shelves, libraries, research, fiction and science fiction (e.g. time travel, aliens, and apocalypses), this story is an amalgamation of all these loves. It’s not only fine in form, something that’s shiny and dazzles, but it’s also one that serves in form: It delivers a message of inference and parallels in addition to highlighting the artistry of speculative fiction in Hebrew, especially by a female author. This is another gem of a story from this collection.

The Slows – Gail Hareven

“The Slows” (short story) by Gail Harven

English Publication History: The New Yorker (May 4, 2009), The Apex World of Science SF 2 (Apex, 2012), Zion’s Fiction (Mandel Vilar Press, 2018)

Original: Hebrew (הדרך לגן עדן ,1999)

Translated by Yaacov Jeffrey Green, 2009

Synopsis: For the last fifteen years of the narrator’s professional experience, they have been objectively studying the life of the Slows, a sect of humanity that still practices natural child-birth and child-rearing. Forlorn not because of the endangerment to the people they’ve studied for so long, but because of the end of the that study. Walking into their office on what will promise to be one of the last, the narrator discovers a Slow woman at his desk whom he still considers to be savage. Startled yet keeping the objective facade of a professional, they attempt to learn from, practice sympathy with, and understand her motives. Relative to the Slows, the generations-old study seems to be based a treaty that has since erred into broken promises. hence her intrusion to his office and plea: Don’t steal our babies. With her, she has brought her own cloth-swaddled baby, which the narrator refers to as a “larva”; whereas in the narrator’s culture, babies go through Accelerated Offspring Growth to bypass childhood in order to reach the more efficient level of adulthood. Fascinated yet revolted by the backwardness of her culture even after fifteen years, it seems firm that the narrator has never invested their emotion, empathy, or care into the project or people while remaining completely objective, withdrawn, reticent. Her pleas are met with cold denial and the only superficial gesture of hospitality is that of offering coffee and water. When the narrator attempts to bridge the humanistic gap between them, the careless gesture, perhaps a lapse in judgement, ends the meeting abruptly with the fate of the woman and her child sealed.

Analysis: The story’s not explicit about the narrator’s gender but I find inferences that lean toward male: whiskey, towel-wrapped waist, and the reaction to the gesture at the story’s conclusion. The location, too, isn’t explicit, but can be inferred to be Earth as it’s called the Preserves as in maintaining the traditions of yore. Lastly, the time isn’t explicit; rather, the reader can infer through the mentioned science that it’s in the future. This nebulous quality delivers a dreamlike sequence lacking face, place, and time…

…which is all the more interesting because it forces the reader to grasp at straws; rather than having something relatable in the story for reader to identify with, the story opens and proceeds with little relevant traction, thereby making the reader an objective witness to the flow of events, an objective stance which the narrator, too, has taken for their entire career with the Slows.

In the narrator’s culture, accelerated growth (AG) from infancy to adulthood is the norm, thereby bypassing childhood. In this culture, if the purpose of human life is to become a functional adult, to be productive for society, then the AG would have a rightful place. The story, though, again infers a lot, such as the ramifications of such a society that prizes functionality (the use of humans) over form (being human). By circumventing the formative years of childhood, could our core humanity be lost? The narrator doesn’t seem at all perturbed by the treatment of the Slows, as if they lacked any emotion other than selfishness, as exhibited by their forlorn state at learning of the project’s end. In contrast, the Slow mother exhibits emotion for her self, for her baby, and for her people. She can be seen as acting altruistically, a superlative human trait that it lost on the narrator.

Objectiveness has its place in academic study, in the scientific method. Yes, it’s useful as a learning tool to learn truth. But it mustn’t be taken to the extreme where it infringes on our own nature, which can, as a result, be lost like the innocence of childhood. First and foremost, we’re human.

Review: An excellent thought-provoking story that is deceptive in its simplicity and nine-page length. The story’s vague context conjures the reader’s analytic ability, making the reader as objective as the heartless narrator–a mirror of observation that begins to peel and crack while witnessing the emotional distress of the Slow mother. “The Slows” is open to analysis, worthy of discussion not only about its message, but about its implications on the direction of our shared future humanity.

Cobalt Blue and the Enigma – Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro

“Cobalt Blue and the Enigma” (novelette) by Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro

English Publication History: Solarpunk (World Weaver Press, 2018)

Original: Portuguese (Azul Cobalto e o Enigma), 2012

Translated by Fábio Fernandes, 2018

Synopsis: Though neighboring countries, Palmares and Brazil are amid a bitter cold war where subterfuge and clandestine operations are preferable to frank discussion. Brazilian reports indicate that the Palmarines have an agent of great strength and long life, an abomination of human nature code-named Enigma.. To combat this secretive threat, the Brazilian Intelligence Service has created a super solider; though the test subject is a quadriplegic, Jonas Spider is thoroughly armored and weaponed in a cybernetic suit with armies of nanobots, camouflage, atomic batteries, and quantum batacitors. Spider’s first mission is what he was engineered for: assassinate Enigma, who happens to be hiding on the Jovian moon Europa. When the battle ensues, Enigma is able to fight in his natural form while in the moon’s inhospitable atmosphere while absorbing laser blasts and denting Spider’s supposedly impervious armor; regardless, Spider is able to leave the moon with a trophy, which upsets not only Palmares, but also Enigma’s father, a fellow abomination that Brazil has never known about. While Spider and Brazil revel in their victory, the true Enigma plans deceit and revenge worthy of his detestable nature.

Analysis: When we think of war and technology, one thing may spring to mind: America’s use of the atom bomb at the end of WWII. Considering this, yes, technology helped win the war. Cruise missiles, submarines, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, drones: all of these could assist a modernized military in winning a war, but it’s not always technology that wins wars: America’s Vietnam War and the Soviet Union’s own “Vietnam War” with Afghanistan. Guerrilla tactics and familiarity with the lay of the land earned both Vietnam and Afghanistan their so-called victory. They knew their strength was in small numbers, and  being able to ambush then melt away into the terrain.

As with the Enigmas, their numbers were small but their talents known over the decades and centuries of trial by fire with base-form humanity. While they used to be able to lie low, patterns were eventually recognized, thence their capture by Palmares. But like a stealth assassin, they can still penetrate a crowd unobserved to carry out of mission unobtrusively. Brazil, meanwhile, has relied on technology to counter the abomination of nature that Palmares has on their side. On a Jovian mood, the battle between technology and nature is waged first, but when Spider returns to the sphere of Earth, the second battle is waged elsewhere on a footing that is not in favor of Enigma’s nature, but then again, Enigma has a lust for blood on his side.

Review: Though Spider is portrayed as the protagonist, it’s Enigma who gets the reader’s attention and sympathy. This is quite cunning on the author’s plot, to be able to diametrically sway the reader from one character to another. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t solely focus on this titanic shift of sympathy as technology, space, and war push the other significance into the corner. The lingering aftertaste of the story is one of a dark superhero variety, one that is tinged with the memory of the sympathy shift. If the same technology, space, and war mentioned above had been written with a lighter hand, the story would perhaps be more subtle than the gung-ho onslaught in the two fight scenes.

Sun in the Heart – Roberta Spindler

“Sun in the Heart” (short story) by Roberta Spindler

English Publication History: Solarpunk (World Weaver Press, 2018)

Original: Portuguese (Sol no Coração), 2012

Translated by Fábio Fernandes, 2018

Synopsis: Increased solar activity has caused humanity to cower in its fury with both Mankind and nature diminishing. Rather than concede defeat, a way to cope was created in order to harness the sun’s power on the personal level: solar tattoos with nanotechnology. Nourishment and repair are accommodated, yet the expense and nostalgia of food are strong. Laura and Lúcio’s son Élio is one of the last in his class to undergo the tattoo surgery, and though the boy is excited by the prospect, his father has regrets that stem from his family’s large sacrifice and his own minor sacrifice, both of which weigh heavily on his shoulders.

Analysis: Rites of passage have a formal social connotation, but the commonality of the same rites is plain. Rather than seeing such formal occasions such as Bar Mitzvah, quinceañera, baptism, or even boot camp, other rites of passage can be seen as almost banal: first mobile phone, first driver’s license, first first legal drink, first time living on your own, first vote, first pregnancy scare, etc. Each of these and more, obviously, serve as small transitions to what we define as Life, the shared experience of adulthood, responsibility, and independence.

Élio’s rite of passage into the shared human experience of the future causes Lúcio to reconsider his own initiation, one which transports the child into the adult, the past into present, and dependence into independence. Though Lúcio sees the benefit of the solar tattoo, history is dear as nostalgia gets the best of him.

Review: This, the shortest story in the collection, serves a deeper message than most of the longer stories. The science of the solar tattoos is briefly mentioned but is ultimately downplayed by the more emotional aspect of the story, which analyzes a father’s pride with regret, and hope with nostalgia. Rite of passage stories will always have an emotional tug of war within, and this story is no exception, which provides a stronger pull than the other stories in the same collection.

 

Xibalba Dreams of the West – André S. Silva

“Xibalba Dreams of the West” (novelette) by André S. Silva

English Publication History: Solarpunk (World Weaver Press, 2018)

Original: Portuguese (Xibalba Sonha com o Oeste), 2012

Translated by Fábio Fernandes, 2018

Synopsis: The daughter of historically important scientist, Maiara follows but with a simple life as a teacher.  The city, however, isn’t a simple organism and has a fair share of wonders and threats, including a serial murdered that the police are hunting. Maiara’s life is shaken when a mysterious message regarding her long-thought-dead father is whispered into her ear. The squalor of the city is chosen for the meeting, which irks Maiara and raises the suspicions of the police, but the message bearer has word that the city may be in peril, not because of the murderer, but because of the coming changes in climate that had father had predicted: a change in climate is a change in energy supply.

Analysis: To understand general human psychology that applies to the masses, I think it’s important to look at child psychology, like the Stanford marshmallow experiment: a child could either have one marshmallow immediately or wait for quarter of an hour for two marshmallows. Children who chose instant gratification turned out, as adults, to have lower SAT scores and higher BMI, which contrasted the other children who could wait.

I don’t exactly see a bunch of geniuses online, in public, on the road, at the airport… so let’s assume that most people would fall into the former category: instant gratifiers, who rely on direct experience (I can have one marshmallow now) rather than hypothetical experience (If I can wait, I predict to have two marshmallows). We can use this analogy with planning, as well. The former may make plans for tomorrow based on today’s weather (what they can experience), but the latter may make plans for tomorrow based on a tomorrow’s forecast (what they can predict). I feel like governments are of the former, but we also expect the government to be composed of the finest minds.

Oh, hello climate change denier! Sure, you can buy my beachfront property. Sounds like a good investment. I’ll happily head for the hills to my cabin. See you in thirty years!

Review: The story feels like one of either alternative history or a far-flung geopolitical future history. It’s richly built, that’s for certain, but too rich for my palate. Though it’s dense in detail, it lacks punch, as if the conclusion doesn’t have significant ramifications for the story (it does, but it doesn’t feel imperative). Thus, the story feels more like an adventure in world building than a plot with impact.

 

Gary Johnson – Daniel I. Dutra

 

“Gary Johnson” (short story) by Daniel I. Dutra

English Publication History: Solarpunk (World Weaver Press, 2018)

Original: Portuguese (Gary Johnson), 2012

Translated by Fábio Fernandes, 2018

Synopsis: In one summer evening in 1909, a spectacular yet unexplained event occurs: a church seems to melt without the touch of flame: no smoke or char, only shapeless slag. Giuseppe Gagliardi is an Italian immigrant and groundskeeper for the same church in the basement of which he catches glimpses of a nefarious experiment with a bizarre contraption.  At odd hours of the night, the pastor and his American cohort tinker away, resulting in a dazzling display of light and an eerie chorus of screams. This all leads up to the church’s melting, which is detailed by Giuseppe’s journal. Years later, one of his descendants begs the question: What was that infernal source of energy in the church’s basement?

Analysis: When it comes to renewable resources of energy, we look at what’s plentiful and energetic then try to exploit that resource in order to make that same energy beneficial for everyone: the wind always blows, the waves always crash, the sun always shines. Though the fixed elements of nature are few, there’s another ubiquitous feature of the earth that seems to appear in every nook and cranny, something which numbers in the billions that all have something that the Catholic church recognizes. Is the ultimate renewable resource within us all?

Review: Just two months ago, I read H. P. Lovecraft’s short story collection entitled The Whisper in Darkness, so the prose and style are fresh in my mind. In the style of Lovecraft, this story lacks lengths of dialogue while relaying on the interpretation of various documents; in addition, it builds on the sense of horror but lacks the Chthulu elements of typically Lovecraftian writing. The author does a great job of evoking Lovecraftian elements to impart that same eerie feeling that so many of Lovecraft’s stories do. If you’re looking to evoke that same feeling, this story is unique in delivering that promise.

Escape – Gabriel Cantareira

“Escape” (short story) by Gabriel Cantareira

English Publication History: Solarpunk (World Weaver Press, 2018)

Original: Portuguese (Fuga), 2012

Translated by Fábio Fernandes, 2018

Synopsis: Mariana, the powerful and beautiful, tarnishes her own reputation by a willful act of theft, one which aligns to her sense of humanity. Through glass corridors, she cradles the information stored on a card that he had just stolen from the Advent Corporation; she’s also fleeing from the same place, card in pocket and sweat on brow. Trying to lose herself in the sea of people within the city and subway, Mariana’s escape plot is foiled as they give chase, which she dodges again and again through the city’s endless crevices. Outsiders would consider that a corporation that promotes green technology would have people’s interest at heart aside from their interest in profit, but Advent Corporation has another interest in mind. In order to thwart the scheme, Mariana is willing to put her life at stake.

Analysis: Call me cynical, but if you recall the people I distrust from my analysis of Romeu Martins’ short story “Breaking News!“, three of them involve business: sales, marketing, and public relations.  Business exists in order to make money, make profit, make the owner(s) more wealthy and/or powerful; it shouldn’t be thought for a second, oh dear idealists, that most business do what they do for others’ benefit. Apple made the iPhone X so they could improve the experience of your watching butts on Instagram? Pizza Hut offers promotions so that you can save a dollar to feed your friends with nutritious wonder? Priceline has fantastic deals on flights so that you can travel more freely for cheaper? All answers point to no: It’s a clever ploy to make someone else money.

Car companies, nowadays, are churning out electric and hybrid vehicles, which is great for the environment in many ways, but it also makes a pretty dollar (now about 2% of all vehicle purchases and rapidly climbing). Let’s not pretend that car manufacturers are acting altruistically in terms of green technology. Whatever is legal (even quasi-legal) and profitable, a company somewhere is already churning money out of it. In the near future–as in “Escape” when that time is 2031–green technologies will be pushed more so to the forefront of our lives to the point that they may even begin to dominate our lives with a ubiquitous presence. The flourishing of these technologies is great for the environment, but we must not let the manufacturers of those same technologies to dominate us in return. Green: yes; servile: no.

Review: This is a relatively simple story of corporate theft and corporate greed with a green twist. The anti-corporate message is laid out clearly in which the reader can easily relate to the protagonist. In the collection, the story provides a good transition in writing styles from “Once Upon a Time in a World” to “Gary Johnson”.

Once Upon a Time in a World – Antonio Luiz M. C. Costa

“Once Upon a Time in a World” (short story) by Antonio Luiz C. M. Costa

English Publication History: Solarpunk (World Weaver Press, 2018)

Original: Portuguese (Era Uma Vez um Mundo), 2012

Translated by Fábio Fernandes, 2018

Synopsis: The beautiful international celebrity Pagu is joined with a band of cohorts, including Tarsila, Oswald, Candido, Anaide, a man named Guira, a woman named Tina, and another man named Luxemburg. In a world blessed with boundless renewable sources of energy, the advent of fusion draws them to the first reactor, but this reactor also draws the attention of another band of cohorts will malicious intent: sabotage, kidnapping, and murder; among the marauders: Franco, Marinetti, Hitler, Mussolini, Salgado, Rosenberg, and Salazar.

Analysis: This is alternative history steampunk/solarpunk with real historical figures in place of the characters, all of which were notable for their presence in the early twentieth century. Among the protagonists:

  • Patrícia Rehder Galvão, a Brazilian modernist: b.1910 – d.1962
  • Tarsila do Amaral, a Brazilian modernist, b.1886 – d.1973
  • Henrique Oswald, a Brazilian composer, b.1852 – d.1931
  • Candido Torquato Portinari, a Brazilian painter, b.1903 – d.1962
  • Anaide Beiriz, a Brazilian poet, b.1905 – d.1930
  • Guira (?)
  • Tina (?)
  • Luxemburg (?)

Among the antagonists:

  • Francisco Franco Bahamonde, a Spanish general, b.1892 – d.1975
  • Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti, an Italian futurust, b.1876 – d.1944
  • Adolf Hitler, of namesake, b.1889 – d.1945
  • Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, of namesake, b.1883 – d.1945
  • Arthur Rosenberg (?), a German Marxist, b. 1889 – d.1943
  • António de Oliveira Salazar, a Portuguese statesman, b.1889 – d.1970
  • Saldago (?)

Others in the story:

  • Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (?), an American poet, b.1885 – d.1972
  • Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher, b.1889 – d.1976
  • Antonio Francesco Gramsci, an Italian Marxist, b. 1891 – d.1937
  • Deré Lubidi, unknown, b.1900 – d.?

Review: If you’re keen on history, specifically early twentieth century Brazilian art history, which I am not, this story may hold some weight; as it is, however, much of the nominal connotations are lost on me. Just researching the names alone took me a long time let along trying to apply their histories with the stories plot. Taken as it is, the story is awkwardly plotted as if forcing a square into a circular hole. Once it does gain traction, it’s too fast and too didactic at times. This story, itself, is thus far an awkward inclusion to the collection.