Science Fiction In Latvian Literature

Bārbala Simsone

Abstract


The present paper is devoted to the overview of the beginnings and development of the genre of science fiction in Latvian literature. Similarly to other popular fiction genres, science fiction in Latvian literature has not been very popular due to social and historical reasons; however, during the course of the 20th century several authors have at least partially approached the genre and created either fully fledged science fiction works or literary works with science fiction elements in them. The paper looks at the first attempts to create science fiction-related works during the beginning of the 20th century; it then provides an insight into three epochs when the genre received comparatively wider attention: 1) the 1930s produced mainly adventure novels with elements of science fiction mirroring the correspondent world tendencies of that time period; 2) the period between the 1960s and 80s saw authors who had the courage to leave the strict platform of Soviet Social Realism, experimenting with a variety of science fiction elements in the postmodern literary context which allowed for a wide metaphoric interpretation. This epoch also saw the emergence of a specific phenomenon – humorous / satiric science fiction which the authors employed in order to offer social criticism of the Soviet lifestyle; 3) the beginning of the 21st century saw the emergence of several science fiction works by a new generation of writers: these works presently comprise the majority of newly published science fiction. The paper outlines the main tendencies of the newest Latvian science fiction such as authors experimenting with a variety of themes, the preference for dystopian future scenarios and humour. The paper offers brief conclusions as to the possible future of Latvian science fiction in context of the current developments in the genre.

Keywords


dystopia; forecasting the future; genre; science fiction; technologies

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2017.22.2.16

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ISSN 1406-0701 (print)
ISSN 2228-4729 (online)