Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto and Science Fiction. Some more WWW resources.

Author: David Poulson
Published on: December 10, 1999

Introductory note for new visitors to the Esperanto Topic.

If you have only just begun to take an interest in Esperanto and wish to know some basic information about this fascinating subject, please start your reading at the first article of this series. Having already completed 48 articles, I am now at the stage of writing articles for those readers who have learned quite a lot about the Esperanto language and movement already, and who are now wanting to find out more than just the basic introductory information.

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My main purpose in writing the Esperanto Topic is to provide a brief account of the history and development of Esperanto, illustrating it with the best WWW resources I have been able to find. The readers I hope to serve best are relative newcomers to Esperanto who can read English well, because most of the resources to which I direct my readers are also in English. However, in this article I will draw your attention to some Esperanto-language resources which are just too interesting or too important to leave out.

Let me first introduce you to Federico Gobbo who, like many other people, first heard about Esperanto while he was reading a science fiction story. In Federico's own words:

"Some years ago, I started publishing a fanzine of (science)fiction short novels, named Fantastica, ('fantastic' or 'be fantastic!'). The texts were always new, and it was black and white, and without pictures. My first collaborators were my role-playing game friends. We were even mentioned by the prestigious Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (Italian edition).

After a while, we decided not to print any more but only publish the texts on the net. To increase the readership, I also decided to have the texts translated by native English speakers, who also knew Italian and who loved Italy. By chance, I heard about Esperanto in an anthology of original science-fiction stories, and so I learned this language. While Fantastica was dying my interest in Esperanto was rising more and more.

If you want, you may download the zip file containing the whole Fantastica hypertext, ready for your browser."

I downloaded this zip file myself and had a look at the contents and, as well as the original (Italian-language) stories, it includes several which have been translated into Esperanto.

If you visit Fedrico's tri-lingual page and you know a little Esperanto, you will see that the anthology mentioned above - the one from which he first learned of Esperanto - was an issue of Sferoj, edited (perhaps) by Harry Harrison and then later translated into Italian by Giulio Cappa.

Mention of Sferoj prompts me - and not before time! - to provide you with a link to the web-site of "Grupo Nifo", who describe themselves as "the centre around which Esperanto science fiction makes its orbit!"

For 20 years this Spanish-based publishing co-operative has issued both original and translated works in three different series: Sferoj, Future and Orbito Nula. Earlier issues of Sferoj included translations but, starting with the issue currently in preparation, it intends to publish only works originally written in Esperanto.

There was quite a surge of interest in science fiction in the Esperanto movement about 20 years ago. The 70th issue of the TEJO journal Kontakto (1981), for example, dealt entirely with "bildrakontado kaj sciencfikcio." Among several notable contributions were a long essay by William Auld, "Utopioj, satiroj, fantascienco," an article by Karl Pov (see below for more about Karl), and a short story called "La Nubo," by Jorge Campos. This story (which had originally appeared in an issue of Sferoj, was translated from the original Spanish by Liven Dek, whose interesting essay: "Esperanto, la Fantasta Lingvo,"

Items of or about science fiction appeared in many Esperanto publications from that time. Some stories appeared in La Brita Esperantisto, others in various short-story-collections, and, while leafing through some copies of La Kancerkliniko from the 1980's (in which there were several poems by Liven Dek), I came across a translation of a story by the well-known writer, John Varley. The translation was by the previously-mentioned Karl Pov, and the story was called "Air Raid."

(I have a copy of John Varley's novel, The Ophiuchi Hotline, in front of me as I write and, on the cover, he is described by Tom Clancy as "the best writer in America." Well, I don't think he's that good!)

To conclude this article - and this series - I recommend you to pay a visit to a resource-rich web site in Russia, maintained by Jurij Finkel. There is a great deal of information worth exploring here, but, to be consistent with the theme I am currently exploring, I am suggesting that you start with these two pages:

The first one, http://www.esperanto.mv.ru/TRIZ/Lat1/index.html contains links to science fiction stories written by Genrih Altov (whose real name was Altshuller) and his wife Valentina Nikolaevna Yuravlova.

The second is a small collection of stories translated from Russian and, in just one case, Polish. You'll find these tales of fantasy, from the archives of the journals Literatura Skatolo and Survoje, here:

http://www.esperanto.mv.ru/Arkivoj/Lat1/Fantastiko/index.html

And here I must stop for now. I hope that you are enjoying these articles on Esperanto and science fiction: if you know of anything important which I have missed out, please tell me, either directly or via the Discussion forum. There's sure to be something I've overlooked!

Thank you.

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