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GUEST POST: Aliens in Romania by Marian Coman

I sometimes think that we are aliens to one another. One nation to another. In spite of the globalization, I am under the impression that we know so little about what people from Brazil, China, or Burkina Faso, for example, think and write. Is there any F&SF literature in Albania? What about Hungary, Latvia or Estonia? And how could we know whether Frank Herbert was reincarnated in an obscure country and is currently writing a new masterpiece in a language that Anglo-Saxon editors and literary agents are not able to understand?

This is a tragical-comical issue based on which I will tell you a few things about the F&SF literature in Romania, hoping that, when you hear something about any of the writers that I will mention, you will not think twice and buy the books. Because they are the authors of fabulous texts, and yes, in the land of Dracula, after being kept in the collective mind throughout the bloodiest and most horrible communist dictatorship in Eastern Europe. I believe there is no good literature without suffering, and the suffering that the Romanian people went through created the premises for texts of maximum intensity and unique good taste.

I hope that you will get to read, in English, the stories of Doru Stoica, one of my favorite Romanian writers. The Între bariere volume (Ed. Millennium Press, 2009), is a jewel that is so well bound to Romania that I am certain nothing like it could come out in any country of the world. And this is because Doru Stoica’s fantastic gets its vitality from the rural landscape in the time and after the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, his stories being able to push the magical realism to a level you could have never even imagined.

I will also tell you about Michael Haulică and I will dare state that if William Gibson was born in Romania, he would have the name Haulică or none at all. I have great hopes in the fact that you will soon be able to read the works of Michael Haulică in English. Just like now, for example, you can read what Horia Nicola Ursu wrote in the anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead. Cabinet of Curiosities, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, or another Romanian, Costi Gurgu, author of “Angels and Moths”, included in the Ages of Wonder anthology, edited by Julie E. Czemeda and Rob St. Martin for DAW Books in 2009.

I don’t want to take advantage of John’s kindness and will not go on very long, but if I made you interested, I hope you will leave comments, and maybe I will return with new, punctual texts about some of the best writers in Romania. And maybe even some stories written by them. Because you and them deserve to have this third degree meeting.

For more from Marian, read this republication of the short story “Unwired” right here at GFTW!


Marian Coman (www.mariancoman.com) is a Romanian journalist and writer of fantastic literature, winner of a EuroCon award in 2006. He published two volumes of prose in Romania („Nopţi albe, zile negre” and „Testamentul de ciocolată”) and a publishing one („Teoria flegmei. Apel la mitocănie”), all of them at the Tritonic publishing house (www.tritonic.ro). Moreover, he published short prose in several magazines and anthologies in Romania. He is the chief editor of the newspaper Obiectiv – Vocea Brăilei (www.obiectivbr.ro) and of the Obiectiv Cultural magazine (www.obiectivcultural.ro). Marian Coman is now available in English, in the short prose volume ”Fingers and other fantastic stories”, available in kindle format on Amazon.com.