terça-feira, 26 de maio de 2009

The Best from the Rest of the World: European Science Fiction

Science fiction is the branch of literature that perceives the universe through the widest-angle lens.

Unlike the mainstream of literature, which attempts, more or less, to depict the real world and real people in present or historic situations with the maximum mount of verisimilitude, science fiction acknowledges from the start that it is fantasy, that it is not depicting that which is or that which has been but is engaging in assaying the actions of people and things against backgrounds of limitless imagination.

All that might have been, all that might by the remotest chance ever be, and the world today as
perhaps it could be if things are going on of which we are not aware, all these infinite horizons are
covered by the lens of science fiction. Yet, because the reader must be convinced of credibility, the best science fiction tries to underline this fantasy by persuading the reader that this is not just the spinning of another fairy tale, that these tales, too, are merely part of some parallel mainstream of which the workaday world is not perceptive.

Science fiction has always been with us---writers have always speculated on the horizons of the
not-yet-proven--and examples can be culled from the dawn of written lore and are to be found in all periods of storytelling.

To some extent this is a type of escapism and to some extent it is a form of genetic curiosity: people always want to know what is over the next hill and beyond the farthest horizon and at the end of the rainbow.

When tellers of tall tales could no longer convince an audience not quite as gullible as our less informed ancestors, the art of science fiction came into being.
Extend what we know a little further, advance the line of what could be, bring in the "if this goes on" factor--and we have science fiction. Fantasy designed as reality.

The roots of modem science fiction, which some trace to Guliver's Travels, some to Frankenstein, some to Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, came to mature growth in the nineteenth century, the century of innovative science and the Industrial Age.

This growth coninto our century and assumed flexibility, full color, and tinued variety in the constantly refertilized soil of our scienceinfinite oriented and invention-infiltrated world.

At first, science fiction was shared by all the countries of the Western world, those who were the
pioneers in the advance of technology and education.

Before World War I, the highest quantity and quality of science fiction was to be found in Great Britain and in France.

America had its share but not its giants and it was from overseas that what science fiction was published or written in America received its primary derivation and ideas.

After World War I, American science fiction began to grow strong, mainly through the medium of the pulp magazines, which were a particularly American phenomenon of the 20s and 30s and which allowed--through their lack of "literary establishment" dignity--the widest latitude of imagination in its writers just as long as their stories were entertaining.

Because the language of the United States was English, the British were able to share in this and to develop their own writers alongside it and within it.

The Germans, recovering from World War I, began to achieve eminence in science fiction, and some of their writers were translated into English, and their names became known, often without great familiarity with the bulk of their production.

Names like Otfrid yon Hanstein, Otto Willy Gail, and Hans Dominik became familiar-authors distinguished by their meticulous attention to technological detail, whose spaceships had nuts and bolts much more convincingly substantial than the backyard constructs of American pulp adventure writers. But, alas for Germany--and for the world--the rise of the Nazi regime
put an effective end to German imaginative horizons and to German influence in science fiction.

In France, a steady growth of science fiction was continuing as it had since the days of Jules Verne, but contact had diminished almost to the vanishing point. French science fiction went untranslated, save for some social speculations by Andre Maurois, and nobody heard of Jacques Spitz and Messac. In France itself, science fiction from the English consisted of H. G. Wells and no one else.

After World War II, science fiction became English-language based. All the great writers of the
forties, fifties, and sixties were American and British. In Europe, very little science fiction was being published and what there was turned out to be translations from the English-American.

Introduction by Donald A. Wollheim
Party Line by G~rard Klein (France)
Pairpuppets by Manuel Van Loggem (Holland)
The Scythe by Sandro Sandrelli (Italy)
A Whiter Shade of Pale by Jon Bing (Norway)
Paradise 3000 by Herbert W. Franke (Germany)
My Eyes, They Burn! by Eddy C. Bertin (Belgium)
A Problem in Bionics by Pierre Barbet (France)
The King and the Dollmaker by Wolfgang Jeschke(Germany)
Codemus by Tor Age Bringsvaerd (Norway)
Rainy Day Revolution No. 39 by Luigi Cozzi (Italy)
Nobody Here But Us Shadows by Sam J. Lundwall (Sweden)
Round and Round and Round Again by Domingo Santos (Spain)
Planet for Sale by Niels E. Nielsen (Denmark)
Ysolde by Nathalie-Charles Henneberg (France)

The Best from the Rest of the World: European Science Fiction - Donald A.Wollheim [Download]