(a reader’s guide to fantasy)
by Oliviu Crâznic
translation from Romanian by Alina-Olimpia Miron
click aici pentru versiunea română
An exceptional phenomenon for the lovers of fantasy literature occurred in the fall of 2012 thanks to Nemira Publishing: the revival of the Anticipaţia Almanac and the magazine Collection of SF Short-Stories (book form, monthly issue and a very low price, around 9.9 RON or, in sales season, even lower) whose special issues address not only lovers of SF, but also those of fantasy or supernatural horror. The Almanac’s – very professionally made – first issue comprises mainly non-fiction articles connected to the SF field (otherwise, incredibly interesting), but also SF prose (short-stories signed by Roberto Quaglia, Sebastian Corn, Liviu Radu, Aurel Cărăşel, Dănuţ Ungureanu, Marian Truţă, Oliviu Crâznic). Before we go deeper into the Collection of SF Short-Stories, I would like to say a few words of appreciation about editor-in-chief Ana Antonescu’s activity – as you’ll immediately see, Ana is the excellent coordinator of a project that has so far succeeded in rising to particularly high standards on all levels, from price accessibility and exposure to the professional content selection and the wonderful covers (starting with issue 3) done by Tudor Popa, one of the few deserving Romanian illustrators (the illustrations in question depict scenes from the short-stories covered in that very issue of CSFSS! – an extremely rare thing on the Romanian book market).
And now, let’s take a look at the content of the first 6 issues of the Collection of SF Short-Stories in order to better understand the reasons for the above statements – a brief presentation will suffice and will bear the absolute value of a demonstration.
Thus, under the aegis „CSFSS – the new series”, one can read short-stories and novelettes signed by renowned foreign and Romanian authors, grouped in two per issue (except for the inaugural issue which contains only prose signed by Peter Watts): Allen M. Steele (The Emperor of Mars) and Cristian Mihail Teodorescu (Sensoria) – CSFSS issue 2, George R.R. Martin (In the lost lands) and Oliviu Crâznic (Lenore Arras) – CSFSS issue 3 (special „Dark Fantasy” issue), Hannu Rajaniemi (Elegy for a young elk) and Dănuţ Ungureanu (The Chronicles of the Iridium People) – CSFSS issue 4, Ted Chiang (The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate) and Liviu Radu (Galloping through the pyramid) – CSFSS issue 5, Stephen King & Joe Hill (In the tall grass) and Ştefana Czeller (Dark Waters) – CSFSS issue 6 (special „Horror” issue). Furthermore, there are articles on SF theory, criticism and literary history, but also on the popularization of science and interviews signed by Stephen Hawking, Alexandru Mironov, Mircea Opriţă, Oliviu Crâznic, Ana Nicolau, Liviu Radu, Cristian Tamaş (Cristian Tamaş’s study on the time travel theme in literature is highly useful), Mircea Pricăjan, Mihnea Columbeanu and others.
Two studies on literary history and theory are of great interest in our series: Oliviu Crâznic – Dark Fantasy Literature and Mircea Pricăjan – Horror Literature. Why these two studies? For a very simple reason: both of them also analyze Romanian fantasy and horror authors. More specifically, among the „dark fantasy” authors there are: Costi Gurgu (Reţetarium, The Swamps of the South, The Saints’ Hotel, Rash Seed, The Stone Cry, The Gods’ Complaint, Beyond the Lighthouse at World’s End), Ştefana Czeller (Long’s the road to grey), Ana-Maria Negrilă (The Song of Dawn), Bogdan Tudor Bucheru (The Inheritance), Liviu Radu (Sword Blade, The Agreement, The Descendants, Gossip before Battle, Night Shrink, The Solitude of the Night), Cătălina Fometici (Sunrise), and Oliviu Crâznic with the exemplifying novelette Lenore Arras from the respective CSFSS issue; regarding the „horror” genre, Mircea Pricăjan mentions several important Romanian authors (I.L. Caragiale – The Easter Torch, Cezar Petrescu, G. Galaction – Călifar’s Mill, M. Eminescu – The Genii, V. Voiculescu, M. Eliade, Pavel Dan, Radu Ţuculescu – The Microwave Oven, M. Cărtărescu – The Twins, Blinding, O. Nimigean – Mortido, Liviu Radu – Terror, Sergiu Someşan – The Number of the Beast, Mircea Pricăjan – In the Full Shadow of Reality, Victor Dragomir – The Face in the Ashes, Oliviu Crâznic – …And in the end there was the nightmare, Ştefana Czeller – Ink and Blood, Ciprian Mitoceanu, A.R. Deleanu – The Water Whisperer, Anna Vary – The Last Witch from Transylvania, Cristina Nemerovschi – Satanic Blood, Florin Irima – A Dark Window, Ştefan Bolea – Gothic). Furthermore, Mircea Pricăjan mentions several authors who have yet to be published and are trying their hand at the „horror” genre in various publications, as well as two thematic anthologies published by Millenium Books (Beyond the night – 12 Faces of the Gothic, editor Oliviu Crâznic, and Zombies – The Book of the Living Dead, editor Mircea Pricăjan).
What’s truly interesting is that some authors appear in both studies (Liviu Radu, Oliviu Crâznic, Ştefana Czeller and Cătălina Fometici), and the two anthologies mentioned have several names in common (Liviu Radu, George Lazăr, Ciprian Mitoceanu, Oliviu Crâznic, Laura Sorin, Narcisa Stoica), which proves the existence of some authors focused on these connected fields and, not haphazardly, „drawn” to them.
Once again, congratulations to Nemira Publishing and Ana Antonescu for what they offer the Romanian fantasy readers: quality, professionalism, Western standards.