A morally profound chamber piece, A Legend of the Future is a critique of morality. It takes place inside a spaceship after a crash takes place during a failed mission to Titan, one of the Saturn moons. The journey home forces the crew to face its innermost fears while coexisting with each other in a state of desperation. This mesmerizing novel, recalling Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: Space Odyssey, is a roman a clef about the intense pressures—economic, ideological, psychological—inside Socialist Cuba.
Praise for A Legend of the Future
"The best science fiction writer in Cuba; the only possible debate is which of his works is the best…. His trilogy of Spiral, A Legend of the Future, and Year 200 is still the best of Cuban science fiction…. With a very refined style and well-established scientific-social background, Agustín’s work surprises through its humanistic content. His concerns surrounding the meaning of life and the evolution of human beings put him in a privileged place among national writers.”
"The best and most popular novelist of this genre that the Island has ever given…. He is considered one of the principal exponents of Cuban science fiction, and he was undoubtedly the one who knew how to best combine solid scientific formation as plots and attractive characters with a confidence well-based in humanity’s socialist future.”
"One of the best science fiction writers in Cuba—and, until [his death], one of the best Cuban story tellers alive…. Today Agustín de Rojas’ work, from Spiral through Catharsis and Society, is admired by cult readers, pro-government thinkers, and elitists alike."
—Félix Luis Viera, Cubaencuentro
"The most elevated figure in Cuban science fiction."
Agustín de Rojas (1949-2011) is the patron saint of Cuban science fiction. A professor of the history of theater at the Escuela de Instructores de Arte in Villa Clara, he is the author of a canonical trilogy of novels: Espiral (Spiral, 1982), for which he was awarded the David Prize; La leyenda del futuro (The Legend of the Future, 1985) and El año 200 (The Year 200, 1990), all scheduled for publication in English translation by Restless Books. While influenced by Ray Bradbury and a translator of Isaac Asimov into Spanish, he aligned himself with the Soviet line of socialist realism defined by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky as well as by Ivan Antonovich Yefremov, author of The Andromeda Nebula, made into a movie directed by Yevgeni Sherstobitov and admired by de Rojas. In Cuban literature, he is said to have begun writing after reading Miguel Collazo’s El viaje (The Journey). After the fall of the Soviet Union, de Rojas stopped writing science fiction and embraced other themes such as Christianity, about which he wrote a novel called El publican (1997), about the disciples of Jesus Christ, that was awarded the Dulce María Loynaz Prize. He spent his last years persuaded—and persuading others—that Fidel Castro did not exist.
Nick Caistor is a British journalist, non-fiction author, and translator of Spanish and Portuguese literature. He has translated Cesar Aira, Paulo Coelho, Eduardo Mendoza, Juan Marsé, and Manuel Vázquez Montalban, and he has twice won the Valle-Inclán Prize for translation. He regularly contributes to Radio 4, the BBC World Service, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England.
The suspenseful potential of this science fiction novel's premise a spaceship in the year 2038 is hobbled by a meteorite strike and struggles to return to Earth before its crew perishes is muted by the ponderous philosophizing of the characters. When tragedy strikes the Sviatagor on its return from Saturn's moon Titan, the three surviving crew members two of whom have been exposed to an inevitably fatal dose of radiation struggle to overcome limitations of the conditioning used to train them for the trip and develop an "emotional telepathy" that will allow them to assist their captain, whose brain has to be hardwired into the ship's navigational system. De Roja (1949 2011), a groundbreaking Cuban author of science fiction, lets his characters speak at considerable length about the effects of their training on the dynamics of their group, and they confusingly express their silent thoughts while in conversation as though they are speaking aloud to themselves. The translation's stilted prose only adds to the awkwardness of the narrative.