Franz Fühmann

Franz Fühmann (1922–1984) spent his childhood in the contested Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia and served in the Wehrmacht signal corps from 1941 to 1945. In a Soviet POW camp he embraced socialism and cast his lot with the new German Democratic Republic. Gradually, however, he became an outspoken critic of the East German regime and the unofficial patriarch of a new dissident literature. Fühmann’s work, which spans everything from essays to children’s literature, departed more and more from Socialist Realist norms, blending and bending genres and delving into mythology, Romanticism, and Expressionism. His autobiographical work Das Judenauto (The Jew Car) was published in English translation in 2013. This excerpt from “The Duel” is taken from his collection of science fiction stories titled Saiäns Fiktschen, which was first published in 1981 and which has never been translated into English. (2013)

Winter 2013 (Issue 08), The Duel