hurrengoa
is science fiction basque science fiction?    Iñaki Mendizabal’s Euskaldun bat Marten (A Basque on Mars - 1982) is probably the first contact we had with science fiction, acting as guinea pigs at school. As far as literature’s concerned, before that there was Ipurbeltz, the comic magazine which sometimes featured tales of fantasy. Those of us from that generation have become today’s leaders (ha, ha, ha!), but we do suspect that science fiction has not reached maturity along with us. We believe that we take ourselves too seriously in this small literary republic of ours. Mikel Soto, the editor at Txalaparta, has told us that there are classics in translation. To mention a few classics, Shelley, H. G. Wells, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Bradbury, etc. and, probably above all others, Edgar Allan Poe. However, there are still some classics to be translated: Arthur C. Clark, Asimov, Philip K. Dirk... Gorka Arres, of Susa, has recognised that there is not much space for science fiction in our literature, but has also made a valuable contribution. It isn’t at all easy to define where science fiction starts and where it ends because sub-genres’ creativity and proliferation also have to be taken into account. We mentioned the monograph about this in November 1986’s Susa (http://andima.armiarma.com/ susa/susa17.htm).

We’ve asked the following question to people who are involved with science fiction in one way or another: What place has science fiction in Basque literature?
xabier mendiguren elizegi

With things like this, your point of view determines the answer. If we start off by saying that with have to fill in all the holes, we’ll always be able to say that we don’t have this book or that other book either, and there is SF in Basque. But if we take into account just production over recent years, then there is very little science fiction and fantasy in general. In general, serious literature runs away from those genres world-wide, but there are a lot of freaks out there, but creators and consumers, who are huge fans. But in our country, we’re amateur writers who want to write serious literature, prestigious things, and not weird things. And there aren’t enough freaks here (either writers or consumers) for us to be able to create a sub-market.

fernando morillo

What if civilization disappeared...? Or if we travelled through time...? Or if I cloned myself...? That sort of question really gets your imagination going. But for writers that isn’t just a simple fictional exercise: by making credibility scientific, we have to approach things that could be, and that can take you over quite a few bumps. How many times has “invented” science fiction later been endorsed by official science? That’s what I thank science fiction for both as a writer and as a reader: offering other possible points of view about everyday options. Although, obviously, literature’s marginalised everywhere and always, here and abroad.
The fans don’t care!

irati jimenez

It’s always seemed to me that science fiction isn’t so much running away from reality as running away from the usual way of looking at reality. Make a hypothesis about the evolution of the world and that hypothesis will tell you more about how you see the world than anything else. Deep down, science fiction is just a transformation of reality. Because our reality hasn’t been much transformed in the Basque Country, or something like that, we haven’t made many such hypotheses. Less than in other places, I’d say. The best science fiction novel I’ve read in Basque is 1984. I read Martians Go Home in Basque, which Elkar published as part of a collection of books from the genre. It was a small collection and I think they closed it very quickly. Apart from that, only one other book has reached my hands, the translation of a best seller from Catalan: Manuel de Pedrolo’s Second Origin Typescript. But I’ve read very few works in their original languages from this genre. It seems like we Basques are more interested in less scientific literature. I’m not surprised, although I do like the genre a lot. All it means is that we’ve still got other things to do, other journeys to go on. Currents of imagination which still have to be invented.

josu waliño

I’d say that, unfortunately, there’s hardly any place for science fiction in Basque literature, it’s really unusual to find books like this in Basque, either original works or translations. I find that really surprising as this genre is stronger and stronger in other languages, especially in recent years thanks to interesting new writers and works. But in Basque literature, fantasy is generally only published for young readers, even though the general public could quite easily enjoy this type of work. Even so, there is a place for science fiction and fantasy in Basque literature, and let’s hope that’ll become clear in the near future.