From Viaje maravilloso del señor Nic-Nac al planeta Marte by Eduardo Ladislao Holmberg
Translated from Spanish by Ana Lucía Alonso and sam smiley
This was published in Argentina, in serial form in the Buenos Aires Newpaper El Nacional
beginning in November of 1875. We will release it chapter by chapter on
this blog, and eventually on PDF. Rachel Haywood Ferrera provides some
excellent background on this story in English, in her book The Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction. We are translating right now from an edition offered in Spanish by the Biblioteca National in Buenos Aires.
To start from the beginning, you can take this link to: http://sciamremix.blogspot.com/2013/08/eng-chapter-1-preoccupations-of-author.html
For eight days, I have not had a bite, nor have I drunk a drop of water.
The strength of my body is leaving me, and I can hardly hold the weak pen
with which I trace these lines.
The pains of hunger, terrible at first, have yielded the fourth day, and I believe the internal organs are reducing, just as the grain of camphor that gradually evaporates.
Matter dies; but the spirit creates wings, and I feel the moment of departure is near.
The face sinks at the temples and in the cheeks, the eyes pop out of their sockets, the twitching of the muscles have also disappeared.
I look at myself in a mirror and I am horrified. If this is the image with which I am going to present myself to the other spirits, I do not doubt that the spirits will move away, terrified.
I feel tetanic shocks..it doesn’t matter...perhaps it is the spirit that produces them as it detaches the image from matter.
My family is disconsolate..they want to call a doctor...Fools! They do not know that I am going to enter in direct communication with the universal soul!
The convulsions increase..I feel a particular heat...fever…
The terrestrial images are losing their intensity...I only perceive shapes… Ah! The family...top hat, boots, pulse, clock...Doctor!
One shape, a doctor, takes me by the hand...His hand is like ice...It makes me shudder! Could his heart be as cold as his hand? Wretch...Why has he not consulted Seele?
He looks at me...I hardly make him out.
“He is dying” he says in a low voice, and I smile to hear that, because my spirit, which is already recovering its freedom, with the contact of the doctor, increases the intensity of its senses.
Upon examining my smile, he exclaims “Madman! He dies crazy!”
I smile again, the doctor moves back.
“It would be really good to give him some food” he says. He takes my pulse again. “He has died! How good would it have been to feed him well in his last days! He has died!”
Dead! Yes, yes! Wretches, you do not know that it is only now I am alive, and that the spirit and the image, already floating in the ether of the souls, enjoys all the activity of the universal spirit? Dead! You call death the supreme moment of glory? Do you not see my spirit that is elevated? Do you not see it? Do you not recognize the image?
There on Earth remains my body, surrounded by those who were my family.
Next to the table on which he wrote, the doctor who contributed to liberating my spirit, contemplates with alarm a sheet of paper on which these lines appear spontaneously.
It is my subordinate genie who traces them. But the doctor does not perceive the genie. Why?
Ah! What horror!
This doctor does not have an image.
This doctor does not have a physiognomy.
He lies down on the floor.
He just expired in horror.
His spirit, his image, also floats in the ether of the free souls.