Science Fiction Outside the Book

Fuster, Jaume
Quaderns Divulgatius, 11 1999

Frequently, when we talk about literature, we limit ourselves to discussing the product which is manifested in the form of a book, while we systematically overlook the literature of scriptwriting, the aim of which is to become a product in the audio-visual, radio or drawing domains. And in there fields there is really very little presence of science fiction written in Catalan. The Catalan, Mallorcan and Valencian school of comic strip artists is known around the world, in other languages. We have some scriptwriters like Víctor Mora, who has also written scripts in French, but we don't have an established tradition in Catalan. Despite various attempts, we do not have an autochthonous tradition in comics. The small samples there are come from the children's and young people's magazines Cavall Fort (Strong Horse) and Tretzevents (Thirteenwinds), or from the periodical publications Tele-estel (Tele-star), Oriflama (Streamer) or newspapers, without continuity. "Fanzins" (a kind of comic book) are produced in Catalan-speaking territory, but not in Catalan.
In the field of radio, there is very little representation of science fiction. In 1988, an adaptation was made of H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and this was broadcast by one or two stations. Again we must have in mind the talks given by Sebastià Estradé on popular science.
In the case of television, in the early days of the Catalan channel, some productions were done with minimal budgets: Mecanoscrit del segon origen (The Second Origin Typescript), and Kiu i els seus amics (Kiu and his Friends). Some big series were also dubbed: Muck Rogers and Star Trek.
As for cinema, although we have some significant precedents of experimentation with scientific fantasy, as in the case of Chomon, there is no real presence of Catalan science fiction. We do not have a cinema industry, and so there is scant chance that any such creation will appear, or if it did, it would not be in the mother tongue.
However, in theatre we do find a continuous presence, from Santiago Rusiñol through to the most recent production of Toni Albà, by way of works by Els Joglars and La Fura dels Baus. In this case, science fiction is used as a moral resource to tell particular stories from different points of view.
On internet, the most "science-fiction" of all the means of communication now existing, the material does not arrive through Castilian, and not even through French, but comes directly from English. I believe that the future of any genre is linked to the sociological evolution of the language of its expression. In this I do not wish to be pessimistic: I just want to be realistic.