In the 1920s, a disaffected Soviet encyclopedia editor named Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky — a man haunted by Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” and by Communist realities — began writing a series of philosophical, allegorical, fantastical short stories. Seven of them appear in “Memories of the Future,” a selection of his fiction that takes its title from the book’s longest entry — the tale of a brusque monomaniac who builds a “timecutter” to eject himself from 1920s Moscow. None of these ­stories were published in Krzhizhanovsky’s lifetime. This was not because the work had been rejected or because it was, well, a little weird. Krzhizhanovsky, it seems, was too proud, too shy or (more likely) too frightened to show them around — given that he was spinning his dystopic fictions at about the same time that Stalin was collectivizing the Soviet countryside. Still, Krzhizhanovsky read his stories to friends at literary gatherings where they were, apparently, well received. And after his death, in 1950, at the age of 63, his wife deposited his manuscripts at the State Archives in Moscow, except for one novella, “Red Snow,” an anti-Soviet parable she concealed among her personal effects. In 1976, the scholar Vadim Perelmuter discovered the Krzhizhanovsky archival stash and went on to spend decades compiling and publishing the writer’s work. Now the translators Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov introduce Krzhizhanovsky’s neologistic whimsy, feverish invention and existential angst to a wider audience.

more from Liesl Schillinger at the NYT here.