Sunday, July 8, 2012

To begin with

Although I published 50 novels over the last 25 years, I guess you've never heard about me if you don't read French. Never mind. This blog isn't—well, I should say ‘isn't only’—about me, myself and I, but more generally about French science fiction, and especially untranslated French science fiction, by which I mean novels, novellas, short stories, articles, essays, everything concerning sf never published in another language.

When Hugo Gernsback coined the term ‘scientifiction’, then ‘science fiction’, in the late 20's, he payed tribute to the writers who had invented the kind of stories on which he was putting a name. As he wrote in the first issue of Amazing Stories: ‘By ‘scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story’. As Gary Westfahl pointed it in his enlightening essay Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction, Gernsback was the first person who tried to write down a history of the genre he was creating.

So, deep in the 19th century,, the roots of science fiction are French, and English, and American. But, while UK and US sf know each other well enough, as they are written in the same language, French science fiction was left apart somewhere on the road. Well, there was clearly a gap in its history, perhaps because of WWII, and it had to rebuild itself after 1945, but we're now in the 21st century, and since the 50's several bunches of talented French science fiction writers did create their own ways of writing sf, some very similar to what you can read in English, other very—and when I say very, I mean very—different of anything ever published in English speaking countries or elsewhere.

Diversity is the key word. Or variety. Or oddness.

The point isn't that these writers are French, or writing in French. The point is that they are science fiction writers. And that science fiction is one of the first global subcultures that appeared in the modern world: it was born in several countries on both sides of the Atlantic, and it has spread all over the Earth, never mind the borders, never mind the language. Science fiction has become an international language, and more than a French writer, I feel I am a science fiction writer, who wishes to write for people who like reading science fiction, never mind the borders, never mind the language.

Who wishes to feed the Megatext.

No comments:

Post a Comment