Darko Ronald Suvin (born Darko Šlesinger; July 19, 1934) is a Croatian born academic and critic who became a Professor at McGill University in Montreal — now emeritus. He was born in Zagreb, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now capital of Croatia), and after teaching at the department for comparative literature at Zagreb University, moved to Canada in 1968.
He is best known for several major works of criticism and literary history devoted to science fiction. He was editor of Science-Fiction Studies (later respelled as Science Fiction Studies) from 1973 to 1980. After his retirement from McGill in 1999, he has lived in Lucca, Italy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences).
In 2009, he received Croatian SFera Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction. Also, he is member of both Croatia's writers association, Croatian Writers Society (HDP), and Croatian Writers' Association (DHK).
Recently, he published the series of his memoirs on his youth as member of the Young Communist League of Yugoslavia during the Nazi occupation of Croatia and Yugoslavia, and first years of Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia, in the Croatian cultural journal Gordogan. Suvin is a member of the Advisory Board of the left-wing journal Novi Plamen and Croatian science fiction journal Ubiq.
|Born||19 July 1934|
Suvin was born in Zagreb, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, on July 19, 1934 to a Croatian Jewish family of Miroslav and Truda (née Weiser) Šlesinger. In Zagreb he attended the Jewish elementary school in Palmotićeva street. In 1939 his family changed the surname from Šlesinger to Suvin due to political situation and antisemitism caused by Nazi propaganda. When Suvin was a young child, there was great political strife in Yugoslavia. Originally a monarchy, Yugoslavia quickly succumbed to the Fascist occupation, and then later various other types of government. In the early 1940s, before the end of World War Two, a Nazi controlled bomb exploded close to Suvin, an event that was ultimately responsible for piquing his interest in Science Fiction, not because of the technology behind the bomb, but because he realized in even a slightly alternative world, he may have been killed right then and there. Many members of his family have perished during the Holocaust, including his paternal grandparents Lavoslav and Josipa Šlesinger.
After World War Two, Suvin became even more infatuated with science fiction. He earned his PhD from Zagreb University, one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. Soon after, he published his first article, which was little more than a brief overview and survey of the SF genre. After getting his foot in the proverbial door, he continued making money by translating a wide variety of science fiction books into his native language. They included The Seedling Stars and Day of the Triffids. In general, the more fascinating he found a book, the more likely he was to translate it.
In Yugoslavia during the early 1960s, Suvin published his first book, a historical introduction to, or general overview of, science fiction as a whole. Authors like Asimov and Heinlein were discussed in great detail, and several individual SF books were analyzed. The book also included the results of his first article initially published in 1957.
In 1967, Suvin emigrated to North America to teach in universities. Shortly after arriving, college students in the United States were revolting. Students wanted many things, but among them were more courses, one of which was Science Fiction. At this point, Suvin's expertise was extremely desirable, and there were many educational institutions that were looking to hire him.
Suvin was hired as a Science Fiction professor at McGill University in Montreal in 1968. About five years later, the number of students signing up for SF courses dropped significantly, leaving him to teach English and Literature courses. Through his teaching career, he has published numerous works and contributed to the study of Science Fiction. In 1999, Suvin retired and moved to Italy, where he lives to this day.
Works of Science Fiction all begin with the idea of framing a hypothesis - a new thing or novum. The most common of these hypotheses is likely time travel, although there are many thousands of distinct alternate realities used in books and movies that do not utilize time travel as a hypothesis. It is Suvin's opinion that some of the most commercially successful works of SF have only used this idea of framing a hypothesis as an ornament. In other words, Suvin believes that the most popular mainstream SF works, like Star Wars, are not truly SF at heart—they simply utilize the genre as a way to take advantage of the special effects and uniqueness that go along with the genre.
In Suvin's opinion, the focus of the genre lies in encouraging new ways of thinking about human society, or to inspire those who are oppressed to resist. Suvin has labeled this idea of subversive thinking as cognitive estrangement. Those works of SF that could be characterized as using cognitive estrangement rely on no one particular hypothesis, but instead on the cognitive presentation of alternative realities that directly contradict the status quo.
Annals of the Twenty-Ninth Century: or, The Autobiography of the Tenth President of the World-Republic is a science fiction novel written by Andrew Blair, and published anonymously in 1874.Blair's work is one of a group of early science fiction novels that are now little known, but were influential in their own time—group that includes Edward Maitland's By and By (1873), Percy Greg's Across the Zodiac (1880), and John Jacob Astor IV's A Journey in Other Worlds (1894). Blair tells an extravagant tale of a future age in which the peoples of the Earth have been united in a Christian "Mundo-Lunar Republic", and other planets in the solar system have been reached and their native inhabitants encountered.
One modern critic has called Blair's book "a hodge-podge of interplanetary travel and super-scientific inventions" but also "a speculation of Stapledonian magnitude." In the view of another, Blair portrays "the union of science and religion...under the sign of a positivist Deism mixed up with various utopian socialisms, and progressing from one technological wonder to another."Darko (given name)
Darko (Serbian Cyrillic: Дарко, pronounced [dǎːrko]) is a common South Slavic masculine given name. It is derived from the Slavic root dar 'gift'. Its oldest mention is from the 14th century, included in the Dečani chrysobulls (1330).Definitions of science fiction
There have been many attempts at defining science fiction. This is a list of definitions that have been offered by authors, editors, critics and fans over the years since science fiction became a genre. Definitions of related terms such as "science fantasy", "speculative fiction", and "fabulation" are included where they are intended as definitions of aspects of science fiction or because they illuminate related definitions—see e.g. Robert Scholes's definitions of "fabulation" and "structural fabulation" below. Some definitions of sub-types of science fiction are included, too; for example see David Ketterer's definition of "philosophically-oriented science fiction". In addition, some definitions are included that define, for example, a science fiction story, rather than science fiction itself, since these also illuminate an underlying definition of science fiction.
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, contains an extensive discussion of the problem of definition, under the heading "Definitions of SF". The authors regard Darko Suvin's definition as having been most useful in catalysing academic debate, though they consider disagreements to be inevitable as science fiction is not homogeneous. Suvin's cited definition, dating from 1972, is: "a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author's empirical environment". The authors of the Encyclopedia article—Brian Stableford, Clute, and Nicholls—explain that, by "cognition", Suvin refers to the seeking of rational understanding, while his concept of estrangement is similar to the idea of alienation developed by Bertolt Brecht, that is, a means of making the subject matter recognizable while also seeming unfamiliar.
The order of the quotations is chronological; quotations without definite dates are listed last. The list below omits Hugo Gernsback's later redefining of the term "science fiction". According to anthologist, populist and historian of the genre Sam Moskowitz (1920–1997), Gernback's final words on the matter were: "Science fiction is a form of popular entertainment which contains elements of known, extrapolation of known or logical theoretical science". The list also omits John W. Campbell's infamous "Science fiction is what I say it is".Frona Eunice Wait
Frona Eunice Wait (1859–1946) was an American author and newspaper writer. From her beginning as a journalist, she rose to become an associate editor for the Overland Monthly.Hilary Evans
Hilary Agard Evans (6 March 1929 – 27 July 2011) was a British pictorial archivist, author, and researcher into UFOs and other paranormal phenomena.Karl Vossler
Karl Vossler (6 September 1872, in Hohenheim – 19 September 1949, in Munich) was a German linguist and scholar, and a leading Romanist. Vossler was known for his interest in Italian thought, and as a follower of Benedetto Croce. He declared his support of the German military by signing the Manifesto of the Ninety-Three in 1914. However, he opposed the Nazi government, and supported many Jewish intellectuals at that time.
In 1897 he received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg, and in 1909 was named a professor of Romance studies at the University of Wurzburg. From 1911 onward, he taught classes at the University of Munich.Nebula Award Stories 5
Nebula Award Stories 5 is an anthology of award-winning science fiction short works edited by James Blish. It was first published in the United Kingdom in hardcover by Gollancz in November 1970. The first American edition was published by Doubleday in December of the same year. Paperback editions followed from Pocket Books in the U.S. in January 1972, and Panther in the U.K. in December 1972. The American editions bore the variant title Nebula Award Stories Five. The book has also been published in German.Novi Plamen
Novi Plamen (English: New Flame) was a left-wing journal for political, social and cultural issues primarily aimed at intellectual audiences in the former Yugoslavia and the related diaspora. It was a leading publication of its kind in the region, published by the Demokratska misao (English: Democratic Thought) publishing company based in Zagreb and largely sold at kiosks. Its editors-in-chief were Mladen Jakopović (pseudonym Daniel Jakopovich), Ivica Mladenović and Professor Goran Marković.Novum
Novum (Latin for new thing) is a term used by science fiction scholar Darko Suvin and others to describe the scientifically plausible innovations used by science fiction narratives.
Suvin argues that the genre of Science Fiction is distinguished from Fantasy by the story being driven by a novum validated by logic he calls cognitive estrangement. This means that the hypothetical 'new thing' which the story is about can be imagined to exist by scientific means rather than by magic, i.e., by the factual reporting of fictions and by relating them in a plausible way to reality.Pilgrim Award
The Pilgrim Award is presented by the Science Fiction Research Association for Lifetime Achievement in the field of science fiction scholarship. It was created in 1970 and was named after J. O. Bailey’s pioneering book Pilgrims Through Space and Time. Fittingly, the first award was presented to Bailey.
1970 – J. O. Bailey (USA)
1971 – Marjorie Hope Nicolson (USA)
1972 – Julius Kagarlitski (USSR)
1973 – Jack Williamson (USA)
1974 – I. F. Clarke (UK)
1975 – Damon Knight (USA)
1976 – James E. Gunn (USA)
1977 – Thomas D. Clareson (USA)
1978 – Brian W. Aldiss (UK)
1979 – Darko Suvin (Canada)
1980 – Peter Nicholls (Australia)
1981 – Sam Moskowitz (USA)
1982 – Neil Barron (USA)
1983 – H. Bruce Franklin (USA)
1984 – Everett F. Bleiler (USA)
1985 – Samuel R. Delany (USA)
1986 – George E. Slusser (USA)
1987 – Gary K. Wolfe (USA)
1988 – Joanna Russ (USA)
1989 – Ursula K. Le Guin (USA)
1990 – Marshall Tymn (USA)
1991 – Pierre Versins (France)
1992 – Mark R. Hillegas (USA)
1993 – Robert Reginald (USA)
1994 – John Clute (UK)
1995 – Vivian Sobchack (USA)
1996 – David Ketterer (Canada)
1997 – Marleen Barr (USA)
1998 – L. Sprague de Camp (USA)
1999 – Brian Stableford (UK)
2000 – Hal W. Hall (USA)
2001 – David N. Samuelson (USA)
2002 – Mike Ashley (UK)
2003 – Gary Westfahl (USA)
2004 - Edward James (UK)
2005 - Gérard Klein (France)
2006 - Fredric Jameson (USA)
2007 - Algis Budrys (USA)
2008 - Gwyneth Jones (UK)
2009 - Brian Attebery (USA)
2010 - Eric Rabkin (USA)
2011 - Donna Haraway (USA)
2012 - Pamela Sargent (USA)
2013 - N. Katherine Hayles (USA)
2014 - Joan Gordon (USA)
2015 – Henry Jenkins (USA)
2016 – Mark Bould (UK)
2017 – Tom Moylan (Ireland)
2018 – Carl Freedman (USA)SFera
SFera is a science fiction society from Zagreb, Croatia. It was founded in 1976, thus marking the beginnings of organised science fiction fandom in the region.SFera is the official organiser of SFeraKon, the annual Croatian science fiction convention. Since 1995, it also publishes annual collections of science fiction stories of Croatian authors. The founder of the collection series and its first editor was Darko Macan. SFera's own fanzine, Parsek, has been published since 1977.Although Croatia today has number of science fictions societies and conventions, as well the annual short fiction anthologies, SFera remains the major national society. Since mid-1970s, its members and founders - among them Krsto A. Mažuranić, Damir Mikuličić, Neven Antičević, Ivica Posavec - were included in organisation of almost every major initiative in Croatian science fiction, including the Sirius monthly magazine (awarded two times as the best European science fiction magazine, in 1980 and 1984), which was founded and partially edited by SFera's members, then the Futura magazine, which was edited by Krsto A. Mažuranić, and also various attempts at local science fiction publishing, as well many fandom activities. Today, when it's not a publisher or an organiser, SFera remains the patron or initiator of various science fiction activities in Croatia, especially small press publishing as science fiction literary journal Ubiq, the series of books by winners of the SFERA Award (Biblioteka SFERA), or the anthology of the Croatian science fiction stories 1976-2006 Ad Astra. The major Croatian science fiction portal (and its online fanzine) NOSF is also run by the SFera members.Science fiction studies
Science fiction studies is the common name for the academic discipline that studies and researches the history, culture, and works of science fiction and, more broadly, speculative fiction.Society for Utopian Studies
The Society for Utopian Studies (founded 1975) is a North American interdisciplinary association devoted to the study of utopianism in all its forms, with a particular emphasis on literary and experimental utopias.Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein. Written in a few weeks in reaction to the U.S. suspending nuclear tests, the story was first published as a two-part serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as Starship Soldier, and published as a book by G. P. Putnam's Sons in December 1959.
The story is set in a future society ruled by a world government dominated by a military elite, referred to as the Terran Federation. The first-person narrative follows Juan "Johnny" Rico through his military service in the Mobile Infantry. Rico progresses from recruit to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between humans and an alien species known as "Arachnids" or "Bugs". Interspersed with the primary plot are classroom scenes in which Rico and others discuss philosophical and moral issues, including aspects of suffrage, civic virtue, juvenile delinquency, and war; these discussions have been described as expounding Heinlein's own political views. Starship Troopers has been identified with a tradition of militarism in U.S. science fiction, and draws parallels between the conflict between humans and the Bugs, and the Cold War. A coming-of-age novel, Starship Troopers also critiques U.S. society of the 1950s, argues that a lack of discipline had led to a moral decline, and advocates corporal and capital punishment.Starship Troopers brought to an end Heinlein's series of juvenile novels. It became one of his best-selling books, and is considered his most widely known work. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960, and garnered praise from reviewers for its scenes of training and combat and its visualization of a future military. It also became enormously controversial because of the political views it seemed to support. Reviewers were strongly critical of the book's intentional glorification of the military, an aspect described as propaganda and likened to recruitment. The ideology of militarism and the fact that only military veterans had the right to vote in the novel's fictional society led to it being frequently described as fascist. Others disagree, arguing that Heinlein was only exploring the idea of limiting the right to vote to a certain group of people. Heinlein's depiction of gender has also been questioned, while reviewers have said that the terms used to describe the aliens were akin to racial epithets.Despite the controversy, Starship Troopers had wide influence both within and outside science fiction. Ken MacLeod stated that "the political strand in [science fiction] can be described as a dialogue with Heinlein". Science fiction critic Darko Suvin wrote that Starship Troopers is the "ancestral text of U.S. science fiction militarism" and that it shaped the debate about the role of the military in society for many years. The novel has been credited with popularizing the idea of powered armor, which has since become a recurring feature in science fiction books and films, as well as an object of scientific research. Heinlein's depiction of a futuristic military was also influential. Later science fiction books such as Joe Haldeman's anti-war novel The Forever War have been described as reactions to Starship Troopers. The story has been adapted several times, including in a 1997 film version directed by Paul Verhoeven that sought to satirize what the director saw as the fascist aspects of the novel.Storming the Reality Studio
Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction, edited by Larry McCaffery, was published by Duke University Press in 1992, though most of its contents had been featured in Mississippi Review in 1988.
This collection of fictions by well-known contemporary writers and critical commentary by postmodern theorists addresses issues concerning how cyberpunk functions within postmodern culture. This casebook became the criterion for promoting the interaction between the genre of science fiction and the literary avant-garde.
In his review of the book in "Science Fiction Studies", John Fekete writes, "McCaffery likes to read good books; and his role, as in this text, in introducing interesting and off-beat literary artifacts to readers who might otherwise miss them, is to provide a laudable service with an infectious enthusiasm."Lance Olsen says in his review: "We're talking Zeitgeist here. Nothing more, nothing less. That's what Larry McCaffery's onto in this brilliant new compilation he's edited that you've just got to read.... You can't help getting excited about this collection. You just can't. It does nothing less than assemble a 1990s canon of postmodernity."Takayuki Tatsumi
Takayuki Tatsumi (巽 孝之, Tatsumi Takayuki, born May 15, 1955) is a Japanese scholar. He is a Professor at Keio University, where he has taught literary theory and American literature since 1989.As an avid science fiction fan, he authored many books and essays on science fiction. He received Nihon SF Taisho prize in 2000 for Nihon SF ronsōshi.Utopian studies
Utopian studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that researches utopianism in all its forms, including utopian politics, utopian literature and art, utopian theory, and intentional communities. The term utopia was created by Thomas More in a book with the same name in 1516.War with the Newts
War with the Newts (Válka s mloky in the original Czech), also translated as War with the Salamanders, is a 1936 satirical science fiction novel by Czech author Karel Čapek. It concerns the discovery in the Pacific of a sea-dwelling race, an intelligent breed of newts, who are initially enslaved and exploited. They acquire human knowledge and rebel, leading to a global war for supremacy. There are obvious similarities to Čapek's earlier R.U.R., but also some original themes.
War with the Newts was described as a "classic work" of science fiction by science fiction author and critic Damon Knight.
War With The Newts is acclaimed by many as the first dystopian novel, and is today still considered by many as the best book of science fiction ever written. For many years the novel was hard to obtain, and earlier copies have been known to sell for over one hundred dollars.Who, whom?
Who, whom? (Russian: кто кого?, Kto kogo?) is a Bolshevist principle or slogan which was formulated by Lenin in 1921.
Lenin is supposed to have stated at the second All-Russian Congress of Political Education Departments, on 17 October 1921,
Весь вопрос—кто кого опередит?
"The whole question is—who will overtake whom?"Leon Trotsky used the shortened "who whom" formulation in his 1925 article, "Towards Capitalism or Towards Socialism?"The shortened form was invoked by Joseph Stalin in 1929, in a speech to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which also gave the formula its "aura of hard-line coercion" (while Lenin's phrase indicated a willingness to embrace economic competition)
"The fact is, we live according to Lenin's formula: Kto–Kovo?: will we knock them, the capitalists, flat and give them (as Lenin expresses it) the final, decisive battle, or will they knock us flat?"It came to be used as a formula describing the inevitability of class struggle, i.e. who (which of two antagonists) will dominate the other.
In this view, all compromises and promises between enemies are just expedients–tactical manoeuvres in the struggle for mastery.