In the 1990s I came across a book by the title

A View From A Distant Shore.

It was a collection of short stories from Eastern Europe I believe. It was an older secondhand paperback. I mostly remember a single story from the anthology. It was about the light just going out of the world. Matches eventually gave less and less light until finally no light at all.

I don't remember the names of any of the authors, the 90s were apparently a tumultuous time for me. I can't find even a reference to it online.

  • Hi. There's still information you can add to help, such as what language the anthology was printed in.
    – Spencer
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 22:18
  • View From Another Shore messages the timeframe and structure. isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?53321 No idea if it has your story about light going away.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 22:23
  • 2
    @FuzzyBoots one of the stories in that book, "A Modest Genius", does have a part in it about an invention that causes the whole world to become dark. It's not a major theme of the story though, just one of many wacky incidents. Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 23:36
  • @FuzzyBoots - Sounds like you need to post this as an answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 0:21
  • Sure, why not? Now that we know one matches.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


Franz Rottensteiner's View From Another Shore contains a story entitled "A Modest Genius" by Vadim Shefner , which does cause the whole world to grow dark. It is a collection of short stories which was published in 1973, which matches your timeframe.

Book Cover - "View from Another Shore"

Here's the opening to that story:

Sergei Kladesev was born on Vasilyevski Island, Leningrad. He was a strange boy. While other children were making sand pies and building castles, he was drawing sections of odd-looking machines on the sand. In the second grade he built a portable machine, powered by a pocket flashlight battery, which told each pupil how many good marks he would receive during the coming week. Grown-ups considered the machine uneducational and took it away from him.

I found that title by searching ISFDB titles for "view from a", and then grabbing the one that had "Shore" in it. Organic Marble provided that one of the stories had a light-dimming mechanism.

Liussa went to the window and looked out. "Sergei, what's going on?" she asked in astonishment. "It looks as though an eclipse is beginning. The whole island is in dusk and it's getting dark in the distance too."

"It's now dark over the whole earth and even on Mars and Venus. The machine uses a great deal of energy."

--from "A Modest Genius" by Vadim Shefner

  • If this is the correct answer, you can accept it by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 1:37

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