Kandel, Michael

Tagged: Author

(1941-    ) US book editor, translator and writer, best known until the late 1980s for his brilliant translations from the Polish of works by Stanisław Lem, among them a pyrotechnic rendering of the novella "Kongres Futurologiczny" (1971 Poland) as The Futurological Congress (1974), many of whose wordplays as translated here being of necessity Kandel's own coinings. The Cosmic Carnival of Stanisław Lem (coll 1981), which Kandel assembled, contains excerpts from previously translated novels plus some stories.

Kandel's own novels seem to reflect – in the seemingly sideways (but in fact confrontational) impact of his Satirical gaze – a deep immersion in the Eastern European tradition, as well as the influence of Philip K Dick. Strange Invasion (1989) describes, with dissecting humour, an alien tourist invasion of Earth. In Between Dragons (1990) subjects a fantasy-game-like universe to an equally wry analysis. Captain Jack Zodiac (1991), in a fashion reminiscent of the way Post-Holocaust traumas were surreally ignored in The Bed-Sitting Room, exposes its zany cast to a USA gone terminally insane after the Bomb has been dropped. In Panda Ray (1996), the dilemma of a young Alien – he is to be punished for having revealed the fact that he is capable of Time Travel – is resolved in a Fantastic Voyage that takes him on a tour of an exaggerated cosmos. [JC]

Michael A Kandel

born Baltimore, Maryland: 24 December 1941




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