Science Fiction Studies

#19 = Volume 6, Part 3 = November 1979

Notes and Correspondence

The First Collection of Yugoslav Science-Fiction Stories

Other Worlds, Other Seas, the first anthology of SF from socialist countries, was presented to the US public in 1970. Its compiler, Darko Suvin, a fellow Yugoslav, did his job faultlessly — with one, seemingly paradoxical, exception: he found space in his anthology for SF authors from all the European socialist countries, save two, Albania and Yugoslavia. While the absence of Albanian authors caused no perplexity, the complete omission of Yugoslav writers incited a wave of rumors and insinuations in Yugoslavia, particularly allusions to political dissidence and a lack of patriotism on Suvin's part. The real reason, however, was entirely apolitical and sufficient to dispel any suspicion of ulterior motives. Despite his good intentions, Suvin could not include a Yugoslav short-story SF writer in his valuable book — for the simple reason that no such person existed in the 1960s.

Actually, there were two or three authors belonging to an earlier generation who had been forerunners of Yugoslav SF before World War II and who had written some excellent but unfortunately almost unnoticed works in the mid-fifties. However, by the sixties, these authors were already well past their zenith — indeed, had apparently ceased writing altogether, realizing that the time in which their SF would be appreciated had disappeared forever.

Various explanations have been advanced concerning the "Yugoslav vacuum," running the gamut from the absence of individual imaginativeness to a supposed lack of public interest in the genre. However, all these speculations proved untenable when the winners of the first Yugoslav SF short-story contest were announced in the spring of 1977. The moving force in this initiative was the newly founded annual, Andromeda, edited by the staff of Galaksija, a popular science magazine. Of the more than 300 contest entries received, 50-odd satisfied the basic generic and esthetic criteria. It thus became clear that a huge potential fund of SF writers and readers exists in Yugoslavia. The only thing needed to draw upon it was a chance offered by the publishers. However, except for the "Kentaur" series published by the Jugoslavija Publishing Co. in Beograd, publishers remained insensitive to the reverberations caused by Andromeda.

The press, on the other hand, was much more enterprising. The Zagreb daily Vjesnik started publishing the first Yugoslav monthly SF magazine, Sirius, three years ago. Although Sirius was at first printing only SF translations, it soon faced the same problem as Andromeda: with ever increasing fervor the readers demanded to see Yugoslav SF stories, claiming the right to their own and unique SF expression. As this demand was widespread, reasonable, and not to be ignored, Sirius began to occasionally publish SF stories penned by Yugoslav authors. Once the ice had been broken, it was flooded with Yugoslav SF works. An outlet had to be found, and it was found in a special issue composed solely of Yugoslav SF offerings.

YU Sirius — as it was called — presented 18 original SF contributions, the authors ranging from the already-mentioned veterans of Yugoslav SF to a pair of 16-year-olds. As Zelimir Koscevic stated in the Preface, it had no pretensions to a representative anthology, it being too early for such a serious undertaking; therefore, it would be inappropriate to criticize the selection. It is much more significant that thanks to this initiative there now exists the first collection of Yugoslav SF, which will leave no future compiler of anthologies — akin to Other Worlds, Other Seas — in a position to justify the absence of Yugoslavia by assuming an SF "vacuum" in this country.

—Zoran Zivkovic



Call for Papers on "Technology and Pessimism"

The Spring 1980 issue of Alternative Futures will be devoted to the topic "Technology and Pessimism." The nucleus for this special issue consists of four papers to be delivered in a symposium on this topic at the University of Michigan on October 31 - November 2.

The editors of Alternative Futures are calling for other papers on "Technology and Pessimism" for publication along with the papers of the four principal speakers (Richard Falk, Samuel Florman, Melvin Kranzberg, and Leo Marx). Papers may take any position or approach and may represent any discipline, so long as they consider the general problem(s) of why and/or how technological progress has generated pessimistic response. Contributors should use the forms of citation usual in their own disciplines, keep notes to a minimum, and not exceed 7500 words. They should also submit their manuscripts in duplicate and should enclose return postage.

Inquiries and submissions should be made to Guest Editors, Dwight Stevenson and Marthalee Barton, Alternative Futures, Department of Humanities, College of Engineering, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Deadline for submission is January 15, 1980.


Another Call for Papers

MOSAIC, "A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature," will devote its Spring 1980 issue to " 'Other Worlds': Fantasy and Science Fiction Since 1939." The guest editor, John J. Teunissen, wants this special issue "to be as representative as possible, so that important new writers in the genre will take their places beside the more established figures. No approach to the subject is taboo, but belletristic studies are not encouraged."

Essays should be approximately 20 typescript pages and should conform to the latest edition of the MLA Stylesheet. If you have something that you would like to submit, please send two copies of your paper as soon as possible — and no later than December 31, 1979 — to John J. Teunissen, MOSAIC, 208 Tier Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada R3T 2N2.


The Canadian Review of American Studies

The CANADIAN REVIEW OF AMERICAN STUDIES, a thrice-yearly academic journal, publishes articles and review essays within the field of American Studies; it also publishes on American-Canadian relations and other such bilateral comparisons. The REVIEW solicits manuscripts (in English or French) in the above areas, but especially those which are interdisciplinary and are concerned with American Art, Culture, Economics, Film, or Political Science. Subscriptions, per annum: Individuals: $15.00 (Membership in the Canadian Association for American Studies included with the REVIEW), Institutions: $12.00. The REVIEW is edited by John J. Teunissen (English, University of Manitoba) and Bruce C. Daniels (History, University of Winnipeg). Submissions and subscriptions should be addressed to: The Editors, CANADIAN REVIEW OF AMERICAN STUDIES, c/o Department of English, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2, Canada.


Worthy of Mention

Donald F. Theall, repeatedly a contributor to SFS, has been an editorial consultant from the day this journal was launched — and strongly encouraged the launching in his position as Chairman of McGill's Department of English. We are very pleased to announce his appointment, effective in 1980, to the Principalship (or Presidency) of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, a prestigious liberal arts institution. We are also very pleased that he has consented to remain on our Board in spite of the onerous duties awaiting him. We shall miss his proximate counsel and support; but we congratulate him warmly and expect his further contributions not only to the academic community at large but also, and specifically, to the study of SF and to SFS. We wish him the best of luck. — The Editors

Our fellow-editor, Darko Suvin, has been the recipient of the SFRA Pilgrim Award for 1979, "in recognition of [his] distinguished contributions to the study of science fiction." His acceptance speech appears in the July-August issue of the SFRA Bulletin. We congratulate him on a distinction well — and long — deserved. — RMP & MA

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