With his fourth novel, Extensa, Jacek Dukaj continues his systematic attempt to extend the conventional boundaries of the genre and to attract more than connoisseurs of science fiction as readers. Dukaj tells of a world far in the future that has become the last sanctuary of humanity. At first, the story resembles a rural family saga related in a rather melancholic tone of voice. The anonymous narrator-hero, whom we meet as a child, is brought up by a family of horse breeders, grows to adulthood, and lives a normal, peaceful life. Gradually, however, he discovers the truth of his own situation and that of the other inhabitants of this last oasis on Earth, known as The Green Country. It turns out that our planet, along with the entire universe, is ruled by Them — representatives of a higher civilisation who look on humans in much the same way that we look on ants. The tool that gives these Aliens power over the cosmos is the ‘extensa’ of the title, the product of a highly advanced technology, a kind of substance whose theoretical foundations have been known for years as the Einstein-Rosen-Podolski paradox. According to this mental experiment, which was formulated in 1935, elementary particles can exert influence on each other even at distances of hundreds of light years. In this exceptionally original novel, Dukaj weaves scientific and technological concerns together with age-old problems of classical humanism. Extensa is a work not only about loyalty and sacrifice, but about the human desire to live both forever and in more than one world simultaneously.
- Dariusz Nowacki