(a reader’s guide to fantasy )
by Oliviu Crâznic
translation from Romanian by Angelica Ţapoca [MTTLC student]
click aici pentru versiunea română
Starting with this issue we will give some special attention to Romanian fantastic literature trying therefore to emphasize the fact that SF, fantasy or horror lovers do not necessarily need to search abroad for these genres because we too have valuable works and writers who could easily compete with the foreign ones – that is of course if we give them credit and read them. And perhaps if we also promote them a little.
To begin with, we will mention some works awarded in 2011 because the awards, even when they are controversial, they still help in outlining a certain domain. As long as they are not regarded as an exclusive criterion they can serve as a useful tool for the fiction reader.
VLADIMIR COLIN Awards for books published between 2008 and 2010.
The Novel award was given to Sebastian A. Corn, for The Healer (Vindecătorul, 2008); I would like to mention that Sebastian Corn is a complete writer and his works could compete at any time with those of the great authors in this genre. In my opinion, The Empire of the Holy Graal (Imperiul Marelui Graal ) would make a great competitor for Frank Herbert’s Dunes. The Short Prose award went to Silviu Genescu for Rock me Adolf, Adolf, Adolf (2008) and the Short Fiction award was given to Doru Stoica for Between Barriers (Între bariere, 2010). For the Non- Fiction category there have been awarded Dodo Niţă and Alexandru Ciubotariu – The History of the Romanian Comic Book 1891- 2010 (Istoria benzii desenate româneşti, 2010).
GALILEO Awards. Best Volume published in 2010 award: Oliviu Crâznic – … And What Was Left Was the Nightmare (…Şi la sfârşit a mai rămas coşmarul), gothic novel. The Best Short Story published in 2010 award: Costi Guru – Angels and Moths (Îngeri şi molii, published in the second issue of Galileo Science Fiction&Fantasy magazine). It should also be mentioned that the Romanian author Costi Guru, poorly known in our country outside the SF&F community, is a highly appreciated writer in Canada being even published by Ages of Wonder. Among his successful works I should mention Reţetarium, a novel which would be loved by G.R.R. Martin’s fans, along with the stories dedicated to the dacian vampire Cotys (a serious rival to Lestat) – The Hotel of Saints (Hotelul Sfinţilor) and The Rash Seed (Sămânţă pripită). The Galileo award for the entire work was given to the legendary George Anania.
ION HOBANA Awards. The Book of the Year 2010 for SF genre: Cristian- Mihail Teodorescu – S.F. Two (S.F. Doi); The Book of the Year 2010 for Fantasy: Liviu Radu – Waldemar’s World (Lumea lui Waldemar); The award for the entire literary work: Mircea Opriţă; The Hope of the Year award was given to a debutant, a 35 year old author at the beginning of his career: Bogdan Cătălin Mereuţă – Virtual Fighters (Luptătorii virtuali). Before going further on, for those who do not know: Liviu Radu is one of the most appreciated and prolific contemporary fiction writers, his novel The Option (Opţiunea) being in my opinion one of the best ever written novels in our country and abroad; several other works of The Master of Stories can be found in his many volumes, whether they are short stories or novels; Mircea Opriţă is also an international writer (and critic) and his novels among which The Sign of the Unicorn (Semnul licornului ) or Sunday Stories (Povestiri de duminică) are irrefutable marks in the high quality literature.
ARSFAN Awards for 2010. The Best SF Prose Novel, Ex Aequo: Cristian Mihail Teodorescu – S.F. Two, Adrian Buzdugan – The Chapel of the Excommunicated (Capela excomunicaţilor); The Best SF Story, Ex Aequo: Silviu Genescu – The Citizen Wells (Cetăţeanul Wells; published in the Pangaia anthology), Marian Truţă – Cumania 2010 (published in the second issue of Galileo Science Fiction&Fantasy magasine); The Best SF Critical Review: Mircea Opriţă – On the Distinctions of Romanian Anticipation (Despre distincţiile anticipaţiei româneşti; published in Biblioteca Nova); The Best SF Debut: Dragoş Merişca – My Stories From When I Didn’t Know How to Write (Poveştile mele de pe vremea când nu ştiam să scriu); The Best Comic Book: Jup ( Lucian Amarii) – SuperCostel and The Brotherhood of The Black Cats (SuperCostel şi Confreria pisicilor negre); The Best SF Short Film: Adrian Chifu – Dystobiotics Worlds.
Besides Mircea Opriţă about whom we have said a few words earlier, among the prize-winners we should also mention Marian Truţă, a redoubtable writer, highly appreciated by the public, critics and also by his brethren: The Time of Giving Up (Vremea renunţării) volume is viewed as a strong pillar in the history of romanian contemporary SF&F.
EUROCON Awards. The only award Romania got at Eurocon ( The European Convention of SF&F) was Encouragement Award, given to Ştefania Czeller, a young author whose career can already be called fulminating.
Other awards. For The Chapel of the Excommunicated, Adrian Buzdugan also got Debute Prize from the BUCHAREST WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION and from MORNING STAR magazine.
Oliviu Crâznic also received PROLITERATURA 2011 Prize for The Most Interesting Novel category: the same gothic … And What Was Left Was the Nightmare, written as a Romanian answer to the abroad vampire related works (classic or moderns).
Ladislau Daradici won the Short Story Prize awarded by THE WRITERS’ UNION from ALBA-HUNEDOARA Branch, for Maria, Your Life Is a Flame (Maria, viaţa ta e o flacără, 2010).
Finally, Alexandru Ioan Despina won Second Honorable Mention for the Prose category in the AGATHA GRIGORESCU BACOVIA National Literary Competition, third prize in the MIHAIL SADOVEANU National Prose Competition and first prize for the Prose category in the MOŞTENIREA VĂCĂREŞTILOR National Literary Competition. In the fantasy area, Alexandru Ioan Despina is also known for his articles of literary analysis on the stories published on-line and in the trade journals.
I consider that Florin Pîtea is also worth mentioning, who received the title of Doctor in English Philology with a thesis on cyberpunk literature, Art Wasn’t Quite Crime – The Context, Themes and Consequences of (Post)Cyberpunk Fiction (published in 2010). He is also a well known cyberpunk writer and his novel Gangland in one of the important achievements of the genre.
As we can see from all of the above, the contemporary Romanian literature has what to offer to those interested in high quality novels and stories. In the future articles we will bring into focus more names and works, hoping to steer up your interest towards what is going on in our country in this domain. Because it’s worthwhile.