The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Croatia

The SF scene in Croatia is rapidly growing, with new names appearing regularly. Some authors have begun to see their work translated into English. New anthologies and awards mark the health of the field, giving hope that sf will continue to evolve in the region, and that young authors, who are already making their mark here, will finally be recognized worldwide.


Croatian sf in its infancy (especially after the nineties) is not very different from the East European fiction and we can compare it to the Russian school of fiction. In the early days of sf in Croatia, writers dealt with adventurous and utopian themes, but later their focus shifted more to existential and social issues, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Croatian Patriotic war in the nineties; typically they now wrote about the life of the "little man" who is repressed by global trends of capitalism and injustice as a result of abrupt democratization on a state level. Only recently, after twenty-five years of democracy and the "rule of the people", have Croatian novels started to resemble the sf classics and modern works in the genre, mainly from USA, Great Britain, Ireland. As the world became connected into one global network, it became more obvious that Croatian sf was not thematically inferior to the latest hits of the genre. Nevertheless, today's sf in Croatia cannot ignore the context of the time and space in which it was created and from which it was derived.

Putting aside post-war traumas, Serbia and Croatia are beginning to work together in the literature market and the number of authors published in both countries is on the rise.

1. The first sf book published in the Croatian language was a translation of Jules Verne's De la Terre à la Lune ["From the Earth to the Moon"] (1875); it was soon followed by another Verne novel in translation, Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours ["Around the World in Eighty Days"] (1876). Further Verne translations continued to appear.

The first sf work by a Croatian author is considered to be the novel Crveni ocean ["Red Ocean"] (1918-1919) by Marija Jurić Zagorka, which was published in parts. Milan p Sufflay's Na pacifiku godine 2251 ["In the Pacific in the Year 2251"] (1924) also appeared in parts. Mato Hanžeković's Utopia, Gospodin čovjek ["A Man of Rank"] (1932) appeared in the wame year as Mladen Horvat's Muri Massanga (1932), which was again published in parts. In the 1930s an author known only by the pseudonym Aldion Degal published Atomska raketa ["Atomic Rocket"], Zrake smrti ["Death Rays"] and Smaragdni skarabej ["Emerald Scarab"]. A few more works, which can be considered as sf, were published before the beginning of World War Two, the most prominent being Majstor Omega osvaja Svijet ["Master Omega Conquers the World"] by Zvonimir Furtinger and Stanko Radovanović (1938).

After World War Two, Furtinger, this time collaborating with Mladen Bjažić, published: Osvajač dva se ne javlja ["Conqueror Two is Not Responding"] (1959), Zagonetni stroj profesora Kružića ["Professor Kružić's Mystery Machine"] (1960) and Svemirska nevjesta ["Space Bride"] (1960). Along with these novels, various sf novels by domestic and foreign authors were published by Epoha Zora from 1957 to 1962, along with the cult Anthology Od Lukijana do Lunjika: povijesni pregled i antologija naučno-fantastičke literature ["From Lucian to the Lunik"] (anth 1965) edited by Darko Suvin.

There was an expansion of original science fiction works in the mid 1970s in Yugoslavia, of which Croatia was an integral part. Works include Brodolom kod Thule ["Shipwreck near Thula"] (1979) by Predrag Raos and Ur (1982) by Hrvoje Hitrec; Kentaur, a publisher from Belgrade, published various translations of science fiction works by world's well-known authors, but also titles by Croatian authors, such as Branko Belan's Utov Dnevnik ["Ut's Diary"] (1982), Damir Mikuličić's O (1982). Predrag Raos's Mnogo vike nizašto ["Much Shouting about Nothing"] (1985) and Null effort (1990).

The magazine Sirius was founded in 1976, edited by Boris Jurković, Hrvoje Prčić and Milivoj Pašiček, and published by Vjesnik in Zagreb. The journal was of exceptional importance for sf in Croatia – it introduced Croatian readers to some of the best foreign sf works, but also published various critically acclaimed works by domestic authors. Sirius was declared the best European sf magazine in 1980 and 1984. The last issue appeared late 1989.

Croatian Cinema included Izbavitelj ["The Rat Saviour"] (1976) directed by Krsto Papić (1976), which was given an award at a film festival in Trieste, Italy; and Posjetioci iz galaksije Arkana ["Visitors from Arkana Galaxy"] (1980) directed by Dušan Vukotić. Croatian Comics authors also published sf themed works. From the legendary Andrija Maurović to authors from the group "Novi kvadrat", science fiction played a significant role in Croatian comic books.


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Bekim Sejranović Passes Away

Award-winning author and translator, Bekim Sejranović, passed away on May 21st, 2020 at the age of 48.

Sejranović was born in Brčko, Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1972. He completed nautical school in Rijeka, Croatia where he also studied South Slavic Languages and Literature. He moved to Oslo, Norway in 1993 where he continued his studies, earning a master’s degree in South Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Oslo.

Sejranović is the author of a collection of short stories, Fasung (2002), and five novels: Nigdje, niotkuda (2008) (Nowhere, From Nowhere), Ljepši kraj (2010) (A Better Place), Sandale (2013) (Sandals), Tvoj sin Huckleberry Finn (2015) (Your Son Huckleberry Finn) and Dnevnik jednog nomada (2017) (The Diary of a Nomad). His novel Nigdje, niotkuda (2008) (Nowhere, From Nowhere) won the prestigious Meša Selimović award for the best novel published in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia or Montenegro in 2009.

He was an official court translator and also translated Norwegian literature into Croatian. His own writing has been translated into many languages including English, Norwegian, German, Italian and Polish.


Ivan Sršen on the Earthquake in Zagreb

Ivan Sršen (b. 1979) holds a degree in History and Linguistics from the University of Zagreb. He worked in multiple publishing houses before co-founding his own publishing company, Sandorf, in 2008. He’s authored the novel Harmatten (2013), a collection of short stories Skela, bajke iz automata za kavu (2010) (Fairytales from the Coffee Machine), co-authored a nonfiction book, Povijest zagrebačkih knjižnica (2010) (The History of Zagreb’s Libraries) and edited the collection of short stories, Zagreb Noir (2015). He lives and works in Zagreb.

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, faced one of the biggest challenges in its 1000 year history on March 22nd, 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, a 5.5 Richter earthquake struck the city of one million inhabitants. Ivan Sršen shares his personal experience of being at the center of dual disasters.


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Check out a quirky list of untranslatable Croatian phrases from Croatian cultural guide extraordinaire, Andrea Pisac, in the link below:


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Diocletian’s Palace is the main attraction in Split, the heart and soul of the city. Because of the palace, Split’s city center can be described as a living museum and it draws in the thousands of tourists that visit the city annually. But how much do we really know about the palace’s namesake who built it, the last ruler of a receding empire? Jonathan Bousfield contends that history only gives us a partial answer.


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Cities have served as sources of inspiration, frustration, and discovery for millennia. The subject of sonnets, stories, plays, the power centers of entire cultures, hotbeds of innovation, and the cause of wars, cities are mainstays of the present and the future with millions more people flocking to them every year.

Let the poet, Zagreb native Tomica Bajsić, take you on a lyrical tour of the city. Walk the streets conjured by his graceful words and take in the gentle beauty of the Zagreb of his childhood memories and present day observation.


Jonathon Bousfield's Take on the Croatian Cultural Landscape in 2018

What could possibly tie together island musicals, political thrillers, 60s Yugoslavian culture, contemporary Croatian authors, graphic novels set amongst a backdrop of urban decay, Le Cobustier inspired architecture and a classic 20th century author’s firsthand account of 1920s Russia? Proving that he really does have his finger on the pulse of Croatian’s cultural scene, Jonathon Bousfield expounds on all of this and more in his 2018 Croatian Cultural Guide, check it out in the link below.


Jonathon Bousfield Reviews the English Translation of Krleža's Journey to Russia

Krleža, a giant of 20th century European literature, is woefully undertranslated into English. Read Jonathon Bousfield’s compelling review of the master Krleza’s part travelogue, part prose account of the time he spent in Russia as a young man in the mid-1920s, Journey to Russia, which is accessible to English readers for the first time.


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Croatian Phrases Translated into English

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Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.


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The medieval city in Croatia is having a geek-culture moment as the setting for King’s Landing in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”.
Hollywood seems to have discovered Dubrovnik. Parts of The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga, also take place in the fortress town. Filming wrapped this year on a new Robin Hood film starring Taron Eagerton, Jamie Foxx, and Jamie Dornan (and produced by Leonard DiCaprio). The 25th James Bond film is reported to begin shooting in the city in January 2018.
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Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

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