Romanian science fiction

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Romanian science fiction began in the 19th century and gained popularity in Romania during the second half of the 20th century. While a few Romanian science fiction writers were translated into English, none proved popular abroad.


Early years

The country's earliest science fiction story is Al. N. Dariu's Finis Romaniae (1873), an alternate history short story which presents the history of Romania after the sudden death of Carol I and a revolution against the new prince, which declares Romania a republic. [1]

Alternate history genre of speculative fiction

Alternate history or alternative history (AH), is a genre of speculative fiction consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain "what if" scenarios at crucial points in history and present outcomes other than those in the historical record. The stories are conjectural but are sometimes based on fact. Alternate history has been seen as a subgenre of literary fiction, science fiction, or historical fiction; alternate history works may use tropes from any or all of these genres. Another term occasionally used for the genre is "allohistory".

Carol I of Romania King of Romania

Carol I, born Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was the monarch of Romania from 1866 to 1914. He was elected Ruling Prince (Domnitor) of the Romanian United Principalities on 20 April 1866 after the overthrow of Alexandru Ioan Cuza by a palace coup d'état. In May 1877, he proclaimed Romania an independent and sovereign nation. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire (1878) in the Russo-Turkish War secured Romanian independence, and he was proclaimed King of Romania on 26 March [O.S. 14 March] 1881. He was the first ruler of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty, which ruled the country until the proclamation of a republic in 1947.

The following story was Spiritele anului 3000 , a utopia written two years later, in 1875, by a teenager under the pen name "Demetriu G. Ionnescu", who would later become the statesman Take Ionescu. The short story is set in the year 3000, when the earth is populated by humans of small stature who reach maturity by age 15. Politically, the monarchies have been abolished, with all the states being republics and part of a world confederation. Religion and wars have disappeared and Bucharest, a garden city, is the capital of a Romania within its natural (ethnic) borders, following a ruling from a Supreme Tribunal. [2]

Utopia community or society possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities

A Utopia is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens. The opposite of a utopia is a dystopia. One could also say that utopia is a perfect "place" that has been designed so there are no problems.

Take Ionescu Romanian politician

Take or Tache Ionescu was a Romanian centrist politician, journalist, lawyer and diplomat, who also enjoyed reputation as a short story author. Starting his political career as a radical member of the National Liberal Party (PNL), he joined the Conservative Party in 1891, and became noted as a social conservative expressing support for several progressive and nationalist tenets. Ionescu is generally viewed as embodying the rise of middle-class politics inside the early 20th century Kingdom of Romania, and, throughout the period, promoted a project of Balkan alliances while calling for measures to incorporate the Romanian-inhabited Austro-Hungarian regions of Transylvania, Banat and Bukovina. Representing his own faction inside the Conservative Party, he clashed with the group's leadership in 1907–1908, and consequently created and led his own Conservative-Democratic Party.

}} World government or global government is the notion of a common political authority for all of humanity, yielding a global government and a single state that exercises authority over the entire Earth. Such a government could come into existence either through violent and compulsory world domination or through peaceful and voluntary supranational union.

In the early 1900s, Victor Anestin was a notable popularizer of science who, apart from writing hundreds of articles and books about science, wrote three science fiction novels: În anul 4000 sau O călătorie la Venus ("In the year 4000, or A trip to Venus", 1899), O tragedie cerească, Poveste astronomică ("A Celestial Tragedy, An Astronomical Story", 1914) and Puterea ştiinţei, sau Cum a fost omorât Răsboiul European, Poveste fantastică ("The Power of Science, or How the European War was Killed, Fantasy Story", 1916). A Celestial Tragedy had one of the earliest descriptions of the possibility of using atomic power for war purposes, being published in February 1914, the same year as H. G. Wells' The World Set Free . [3]

Victor Anestin was a Romanian journalist, science popularizer, astronomer and science fiction writer.

H. G. Wells Science fiction writer from England

Herbert George Wells was an English writer. He was prolific in many genres, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, satire, biography, and autobiography, and even including two books on recreational war games. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often called a "father of science fiction", along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback.

<i>The World Set Free</i> novel by H. G. Wells

The World Set Free is a novel written in 1913 and published in 1914 by H. G. Wells. The book is based on a prediction of a more destructive and uncontrollable sort of weapon than the world has yet seen. It had appeared first in serialised form with a different ending as A Prophetic Trilogy, consisting of three books: A Trap to Catch the Sun, The Last War in the World and The World Set Free.

In 1914, Henri Stahl published Un român în lună ("A Romanian on the Moon"), themed around the possibility of a moon landing. [4]

Henri Joseph Stahl was a Romanian stenographer, graphologist, historian and fiction writer. Born to educated immigrant parents, he was a friend and disciple of Nicolae Iorga, doyen of modern Romanian historiography. Much of his work in the field resulted in a monographic and conservationist study of his native Bucharest, which was published by Iorga in 1910.

Moon landing arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon

A Moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned (robotic) missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959.

Communist era

After World War II, the new communist regime supported science fiction, using it as a means of popularizing science and of ideological indoctrination. A weekly science fiction magazine, Colecţia de povestiri ştiinţifico-fantastice was founded; this was an important factor in the promotion of science fiction in Romania. [5]

The most popular writers of the era, I.M. Ştefan and Radu Nor, wrote sci-fi adventure novels which sometimes included a Marxist ideological bent. [5] Adrian Rogoz, Sergiu Fărcăşan and Camillo Baciu were the most important science fiction writers of the era, while Vladimir Colin was the first major writer of fantasy. [5]

Vladimir Colin was a Romanian short story writer and novelist. One of the most important fantasy and science fiction authors in Romanian literature, whose main works are known on several continents, he was also a noted poet, essayist, translator, journalist and comic book author. After he and his spouse of the time Nina Cassian rallied with the left-wing literary circle Orizont during the late 1940s, Colin started his career as a communist and socialist realist writer. During the early years of the Romanian Communist regime, he was assigned offices in the censorship and propaganda apparatus. His 1951 novel Soarele răsare în Deltă was an early representative of local socialist realist school, but earned Colin much criticism from the cultural establishment of the day, for what it perceived as ideological mistakes.

During the 1980s, the most notable publication of science fiction was the yearly Anticipaţia almanac, edited by Ioan Albescu. Many of the writers of the 1980s had scientific studies, which meant that their writings tended to be closer to hard science fiction. They were not very fruitful as during the 1980s, it was very difficult to get published and during the 1990s, they moved on to other fields. (For example, Cristian Tudor Popescu became a well-known journalist.) [5]

After 1989

After the Romanian Revolution, initially, the science fiction genre experienced a boom, as many translations which had not been accepted by the communist authorities were published. Notably, between 1992 and 2003, the Nemira publishing house turned out hundreds of translations and a few Romanian novels, among which Aşteptând în Ghermana by Dănuţ Ungureanu, the steampunk novel 2484 Quirinal Ave and the cyberpunk novel Cel mai înalt turn din Baabylon by Sebastian A. Corn. [5]

Currently, there is a trend to focus more on fantasy rather than science fiction, with only a few publishing houses still publishing Romanian science fiction writers, among them being Amaltea and Tritonic. [5]


  1. Manolescu, p. 190-191
  2. Manolescu, p. 192
  3. Ion Hobana, "Nuclear War Fiction in Eastern Europe", in Nuclear Texts and Contexts, Fall 1989
  4. Manolescu, p. 231-233
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Pe fundaţia SF-ului românesc este ştanţat logo-ul URSS", Gândul , January 31, 2008

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