It is 1924; the First World War never occurred, and the Polish Kingdom is still under the rule of the Tzar and the omnipresent Winter. In the middle of summer, Warsaw is in the grip of ice, and the snowstorms over the city do not bode well. Following the Tunguska meteorite crash that changed the climate, Russian technological breakthroughs ensured the Romanov family’s empire’s economic success and dominance over the rest of the world. Benedykt Gieroslawski, a brilliant mathematician and a confirmed gambler, travels to Irkutsk in search of his father at the well-paid request of the Tsar’s Ministry of Winter. This dangerous journey into the heart of Winter will change more than just Benedykt’s life. The symbolic story mixes suspense with fantastical images questioning the infallibility of the human senses.
Published by Host, 2021
© Anna Zemanek
Jacek Dukaj (*1974) is one of the most important Polish science fiction and fantasy writers. For his linguistic virtuosity, sense of parody, and philosophical and essayistic scope, he is often compared to Stanisław Lem. In addition, the author often plays with alternative versions of history. His 2015 novel The Old Axolotl (Starość aksolotla ) has inspired the Netflix-produced series Into the Night. Based on one of his short stories, the animated film The Cathedral (Katedra) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2002.