A thinking-man’s science-ﬁction writer who enjoys massive cross-oversuccess in Poland.
This novel by the reigning master of Polish literary science ﬁction initiallyseems uncharacteristic of his works. It is very brief by his standards, and describes an idyllic community living in the Green Country (formerly Greenland), grazing their horses in the valley, falling in love etc. The darkness here emerges slowly, as it does for our young protagonist, who comes to learn the truth about his surroundings from an old astronomer he befriends, and gains the ability to live in two spaces at once. The Green Country is, after all, the last human settlement after some obscure cataclysm, a place where the living speak with the dead, and where magic spells are daily fare. The title of the book may allude to a paradox discovered by Einstein, Rosen and Podolski in 1935, but much of the charm of this book also comes from its observations on human nature, and its reﬂections on death and old age. Though it has earned comparison withWyndham’s The Chrysalis, Extensa is in fact a book that resembles nothing else – nothing except, perhaps, for Jacek Dukaj.
Dukaj has built an extraordinarily tight construction that can be read in two ways: either with a dictionary of foreign terms, or by taking the author’s word for it. But then he leaps from these scientiﬁc descriptions to the fantastic, pulled fromthrillers of the best kind.
A tale of loyalty, devotion, and the human desire to live eternally, and in a few worlds simultaneously.