1st Meeting on Science Fiction in Catalan Language: is there a Catalan Science Fiction?

Munné Jordà, Antoni
Quaderns Divulgatius, 11 1999

One might ask whether, now that science fiction is present everywhere, it is necessary to identify a special pigeonhole for it. I believe that it is, and thus shall give an account of what we have, what we are lacking and, finally, shall make a few proposals.
The literary precedents of science fiction dating from before the civil war are a dozen curious texts, from Rusiñol to Ruyra, from Folch i Torres to Pere Calders. Nowadays, apart from Calders, they are all history. In the case of North America, the entire production of the first third of the century constituted the basic reading of children born around 1920 who would then give rise to the so-called "golden age" of science fiction: Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury... authors who have set down the common places of the genre, who are starting to be appreciated here, after thirty years of being considered questionable. The first generation of Catalan authors after 1939 had to start from zero. Antoni Ribera, Sebastià Estradé, Pedrolo, Perucho, Calders and Pere Verdaguer had to find their own individual references. In 1970, with the premiere of La nau (The Ship) of Josep M. Benet i Jornet, we would have the second generation of science fiction. The generation of the seventies set out with the aim of literary standardisation and began to reassert the existence of genres. Again, the appearance of the "2001" collection, and the focus on Orwell's book identify a third generation with the year 1984. This was the year that Montserrat Galícia began to publish, along with other writers who started out with a knowledge of contemporary science fiction.
If we look into what is lacking from science fiction written in Catalan, we become aware that the literary culture prevails over the scientific aspects, that our science fiction has to make an effort to acquire a balance. Again, we have been gaining access to the great classics and there is a danger of wanting to continue what is no longer done.
My proposal for Catalan science fiction creators would be that they read the contemporary writers, those of the 1984 cyberpunk generation, and those coming before the new wave, and to take them as their model. They should also systematically read what Ballard called invisible literature: scientific reports, educational articles, government documents and specialised catalogues, besides scientific books. I believe that publishers should produce contemporary science fiction in translation, that critics should recognise it and that it is studied in universities.