- Milena Benini – The Name of the Hound
- Danijel Bogdanović – De Cadenza
- Katarina Brbora – Avaleon and the Black Feather
- Danilo Brozović – Fingers
- Ivana Delač – River Fairy
- Tatjana Jambrišak – Give Me the Shuttle Key
- Goran Konvični – Time Enough, and Space
- Zoran Krušvar – The Executor
- Darko Macan – The Corridor
- Dalibor Perković – HiTechSexLib
- Zoran Vlahović – Every Time We Say Goodbye
- Aleksandar Žiljak – The Dead
The North American continent is, frankly, pretty useless. Its only two export products worth anything are entertainment and war, and it may be argued that war exists only to provide fodder for the entertainment industry. It is a good thing, though, that the continent excels at what it does: the rest of the world has gladly and eagerly swallowed down Hollywood, comics and popular music and keeps asking for more. The same goes for the rachitic and orphaned offspring of literature – science fiction.
Science fiction should not, rightly, exist anywhere outside the USA. Because, you see, it is the only country with a future, the only country unburdened with history up to the point where it is still possible to have bright, childlike dreams. “We are all Americans”, says Lars Saabye Christensen in The Half Brother. No, we are not. But we would like to be. We would like to be young, unchained, unworried and free to make brand new mistakes. We would all like to have a future, even if dystopian.
Croatian science fiction is – a few spiteful exceptions aside – dark. It was slightly screwball in the fifties and adolescently in-your-face during its seventies’ heydays but when it found its voice in the nineties, it was the voice of a sobered-up adult. The nineties were the decade of the war – of our own making, not an US import, thankyewverymuch – and Croatian science fiction tore its gaze from the stars and turned it down to mud.
It is the Croatian science fiction of the nineties and the naughts that we present to you in this book. The twelve included writers showcase, I believe, a good cross-section of voices and interests in the contemporary Croatian SF. I favoured, in choosing, the writers of continuous presence and a larger output. I erred, slightly, in favour of the upbeat notes (one or two characters were even spotted having fun) but I mercilessly stomped fantasy wherever I had the option to include science fiction instead – there is too much past in the Balkans already, so it is my firm belief we need not add any more. Still, a fairy tale slipped through and dark fantasy proved to be one of our most popular (and most translated) speculative offerings in the last decade. Oh, well, I guess fantasy is like chocolate: the darker, the better … The rest of the book is relentlessly worried, familiar SF tropes are painted with pessimism and glimmers of hope were carefully examined and found wanting. What can I say: we saw the world crumble once and we do not believe this new one will stand for long.
Croatian science fiction is, I believe, a typical example of expropriating what was meant as escapist fun and corrupting it for higher purposes. What was meant for Comfort, became the search for Truth. Science fiction in Croatia – narrowly read as it is – became a weapon in a fight for respect, for an individual voice and for a faint possibility of a future. We love entertainment as much as anyone else —
— but this is war.
Darko Macan, March 13, Year of the Apocalypso
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