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An Overview of Polish Science Fiction & Fantasy

by Justyna Rerak from Kraków - the winner of Imagine This Drawing Competition

Whilst internationally known authors are translated into Polish, many home grown authors abound. The Polish readership of this genre is increasing and there are many very good writers who can compete with their British and American counterparts. Recognised authors like Stanisław Lem or Janusz A. Zajdel, who represent Polish hard science-fiction, have inspired gifted followers such as Andrzej Sapkowski, Feliks W. Kres, Andrzej Ziemiański, Eugeniusz Dębski, Jacek Dukaj, Andrzej Pilipiuk or Maja Lidia Kossakowska. All of them display different writing styles, ways of expression and imagination, in addition to different interests.

At the moment the most popular fantasy author in Poland is, of course, Andrzej Sapkowski who introduced myths, fairy tales and contemporary stereotypical thinking into his novels about “Wiedźmin” and created beautiful epic stories about love, hatred, passion and betrayal. Feliks W. Kres, one of the first fantasy authors in Poland, writes novels of amoral and brutal nature and his characters are often ruled by basic instincts and desires. Eugeniusz Dębski and Andrzej Pilipiuk specialise in ironic and humorous fantasy stories whilst Andrzej Ziemiański writes almost pure science fiction.

Jacek Dukaj writes science fiction and fantasy stories and is most famous for being the author of ‘The Cathedral’ – this story was the basis for a short animation by Tomasz Bagiński, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2002.

 

by Karolina Syta from Warsaw - the winner of Imagine This Drawing Competition

Truly original is for  sure Maja Lidia Kossakowska who locates her fantasy stories in a very original setting, where angels, demons and other unworldly creatures live together and seem very human-like, full of weaknesses and passions. 

 

A common feature for British and Polish literature of this genre is that today they neither focus on reducing the human being to the role of a biological machine nor concentrate on materialism, atheism and rationalism, both of which were features of past authors. In Poland social and political fiction is not as popular as it was in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s under the communist regime. Currently, people are keener for metaphysical journeys and the penetration of the supernatural world. Fantasy now outsells sci-fi a significant change considering that this genre was not even recognised fifty years ago. Writers such as Rowling, Pratchett, and Gaiman in Britain and in Poland Sapkowski, Kres and Pilipiuk are increasingly popular. A tendency to mix various subcategories and to create new fantasy specific is the outstanding pattern to emerge in this field in the last half century.


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