Time in Between,” a short story by North­eastern Uni­ver­sity sci­en­tist Vladimir Torchilin, chron­i­cles the life of a wealthy busi­nessman who aban­dons his cushy job to live inside inter­na­tional air­ports all over the world.

The plot, says Torchilin, shares a number of sim­i­lar­i­ties with that of a later Hol­ly­wood film that became a $219 mil­lion hit.

Some eight years after Torchilin’s tale was pub­lished in his second short story col­lec­tion, Steven Spiel­berg directed “The Ter­minal,” a drama-​​comedy star­ring Tom Hanks as an Eastern Euro­pean immi­grant who’s stranded at John F. Kennedy Inter­na­tional Air­port in New York.

Torchilin, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Phar­ma­ceu­tical Sci­ences, and his wife got a kick out of the uncanny sim­i­lar­i­ties between the exis­ten­tial short story and the feel-​​good film.

The two are slightly dif­ferent, but my wife is sure that if one of the film’s crewmem­bers spoke Russian, he could have read my story,” says Torchilin, who esti­mates that he’s written more than 100 short sto­ries and novellas in Russian over the last 40 years.

Thou­sands of readers have stum­bled upon his tales, in which plots and char­ac­ters are shaped by his careful obser­va­tion of people and places and ideas.

When you ana­lyze your influ­ences, it might all come back to a cer­tain con­ver­sa­tion or a cer­tain book or even some­thing you watched out of the train window,” says Torchilin, who’s fas­ci­nated by his­tor­ical tomes such as Win­ston Churchill’s six-​​volume account of World War II.

The majority of his sto­ries focus on the impor­tance of per­sonal identity.

His first short story, a philo­soph­ical tale of an animal lover-​​turned hunter, was pub­lished by the Russian lit­erary journal Avrora roughly 30 years ago; a short story about anti-​​Semitism in Russia won a lit­erary award in an inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion some 20 years ago; and a novella pub­lished in the mid-​​1990s by the inter­na­tional lit­erary journal Con­ti­nent explored the com­plex nature of com­mu­ni­cating across cultures.

The more crit­ical you are toward life, philo­soph­ical the­o­ries or lead­er­ship, the better,” says Torchilin, who counts Ivan Bunin, William Faulkner and Haruki Murakami among his favorite authors.

It’s easy to be deceived, so you have to pre­serve your self.”

Torchilin, who does most of his writing at his home on Cape Cod, will go for weeks without typing a single sen­tence. And then he’ll pump out page after page of prose.

I feel over­loaded with an impres­sion … and start to write,” he says.