Carola Biedermannová   František Novotný
  Eva Hauserová   Zdeněk Páv
  Petr Heteša   Josef Pecinovský
  Jan Hlavička   Ludvík Souček
  Vilma Kadlečková   Ladislav Szalai
  Ivan Kmínek   Jaroslav Veis
  Ondřej Neff   Jaroslav Velinský
  Josef Nesvadba   Karel Veverka
  Jiří Netrval  








  Carola Biedermannová(1947)

Doctor of Laws and one of the most known leaders of Czech feministic movement. She started to write in 1987, being stimulated by Ondřej Neff. Readers of SF were captured by feministic topics of her short stories which were published mostly in magazines and fanzines. Her first book Mstivá kantiléna (Vengeful Cantilena /a title of a poem by a Czech fin-de-siecle poet Karel Hlaváček/, 1992) was a feministic essay proclaiming that men are brutal beings of extraterrestrial origin. In the same year was published also her steampunk SF novel Ti, kteří létají (Those Who Fly).
      She likes to write for a commission; besides other feministic reflections, which are often more likely sociological studies of Czech situation and are not written within the aggresive views of American feminism, she published many books from other adventure genres.
    She lives and works in Prague, has a family, and her free time devotes to hobbies which is, besides writing, also horse riding.

 


  Eva Hauserová
(1954)

She finished her study of biology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University in Prague then worked at the Institute of Molecular Genetics at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences where she was doing a research on genetic engineering. Then she worked as a stock keeper, librarian, copywriter and an editor of several magazines. Since 1994 she is a freelance translator. She is one of the most known exponents of Czech feministic movement, and is also not indifferent to ecology issues. She entered the Czech SF fandom in the half of the 80s and began writing short stories. Her stories were published at first in fanzines and magazines, and were successful in the Karel Čapek Award literary contest. She won this contest in 1988 with her short story U nás v Agónii (Here in Agonia). The story is a deterrent vision of coexistence of housing project inhabitants in the near future and is based on her own experience.
      The short stories by Eva Hauserová slowly began to appear also in book anthologies, and her solo effort, a short story collection Hostina mutagenů (The Mutagens' Banquet) was published in 1992. In the same year appeared also her feministic SF novella Cvokyně (Nutcase Woman) and her activity in the SF field culminated. She also co-authored the fantasy novel Gooka a dračí lidé (Gooka and the Dragon People), and was also an editor of Ikarie magazine where she published many other short stories.
      The ecology topics and elements of feminism were the permanent part of her SF output but from the middle of the 90s she started to dedicate herself to these themes fully. In 1995-7 she was an ecology activist at Klub žen Zeleného kruhu (The Green Circle Women's Club) and began co-operate with the Prague Centrum pro gender studie (Center for Gender Studies) and organize feministically aimed lectures and workshops. She published many books popularizing feminism, e. g. Na koštěti se dá i lítat (You Can Fly on the Broom Too, 1995) or Příručka militantního feminismu (The Handbook of Militant Feminism, 1999) using the pseudonym Johana Suková. Although she almost stopped writing fiction, a collection of her short stories with fantastic themes entitled Když se sudičky spletou (When the Good Fairies Get It Wrong) was published in 2000.
      She belongs to the accepted and medially renowned celebrities, and her work is published also abroad. She is divorced, has two grown-up sons, and one of her hobbies is cat breeding. Further information about Eva Hauserová including her complete bibliography can be found in the pages of her internet site.

 


  Petr Heteša (1959)

Completed the study of architecture at the VUT (Technological College) in Brno. Even during his studies he wrote poems and short stories which he published at the school samizdat, played in amateur music groups for which he composed both music and lyrics, exhibited his drawings, graphics and paintings. After finishing the university study, Petr Heteša managed to find a job as an architect at České Budějovice. Here he met Karel Veverka, and that was the beginning of their authorial co-operation. Their works began to appear at top places at the Karel Čapek Award - in 1987 it was a short story about a simulated computer game Nečistá hra (A Foul Game), in 1988 an expansive short story on the similar topic Těšíme se na vás (We Are Looking Forward to You) which can be found at this anthology. The peak effort of their successful co-operation was, a year later, a samizdat novel Sítě, kanály a stoky (Nets, Canals and Gutters).
      The Heteša-Veverka twosome became a great discovery of the second half of the 80s. As one of the first writers,they let themselves be influenced by cyberpunk, and from today's point of view they can be regarded as enlightened visionaries of information technologies. Their most successful work was officially published only after 1989.
      Petr Heteša published also several solo short stories which differ considerably from those written together with Karel Veverka. The most known short story Quag (Quag) was published in 1990 and its action takes place at an isolated world of a palace in France where children uninfected by the lethal extraterrestrial epidemy are educated. The story is effectively narrated from the point of view of the eleven-years-old boy who while finding out true information about the outside world comes through his transition into adulthood.
      Since 1991 Petr Heteša works in his own firm which deals with not only architecture projects but also with advertising design. He stopped writing, but he made the great comeback after ten years - he won the Karel Čapek Award in 2001 and 2002.

 


  Jan Hlavička
(1951)

Graduate of the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague, translator from German and French, a long-standing member of the Foreign Section of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. He started writing SF in 1979 and published several dozens of short stories during the 80s. They appered in magazines and SF anthologies. His best work is an extensive short story Hlavou proti vzduchu (Using the Head Against the Air) with which he won the Karel Čapek Award contest. It tells the story of an isolated division of soldiers guarding a group of children endowed with strange parapsychic abilities. The children are grown as secret weapons to be used in case of the war and are kept by fictitious film documents to believe that the war is just being fought.
      Bitter and ironic stories by Hlavička were typical for its time, and collected a lot of other appraisal. After 1989, they were published in two separate collections Hurá, hřbitov jede (Hurrah, the Graveyard´s Coming!) from which comes also a story translated here, and Panelfixn (Panelfixion).
      Jan Hlavička also translated from German Poslední den stvoření (Der Letzte Tag Der Schopfung), a SF novel by Wolfgang Jeschke, and from French Ňork (Niourk), a novel by Stefan Wul. Since 1992 works as an editor in the Ivo Železný Publishing House and as an author became silent. By this he definitively confirmed his role as one of the authors of the Golden Age of Czech SF.

 


  Vilma Kadlečková
(1971)

Graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. She worked as an editor for the Harlequin Publishers and up to 1992 was also a co-owner of the Altar Publishing House. She took part in creation and publishing of the first Czech D&D game Dračí doupě (Dragon's Lair). She started writing at an early age of nine. In 1986 she heard about the Karel Čapek Award contest and though being just fifteen her work was instantaneously recognized. Since 1987 she published her short stories in fanzines, and successfully took part in many literary contests. Short story Rosa Mathiella (Rosa Mathiella), found in this anthology, comes from this period.
      In 1990 her work won the Karel Čapek Award contest in two categories, short story with Růžová krychle (The Rose Cube), and novel with Na pomezí Eternaalu (On the Borderland of Eternaal) for which she received several other literary awards. The story of the novel takes place in the far future when Earth is only one of many worlds of the Eternaal Empire and where three adventurers come to the distant planet to look for the remains of the old nontechnical civilization. The novel, besides its literary qualities, caught the readers also by creating a whole fictitious world with its own vocabulary and history which was not a very usual feat in Czech SF. It does reflect her interest in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin. The complete short stories of Vilma Kadečková were published in the collection Jednou bude tma (Once There Will Be Dark) in 1991, and since then started her affinity to longer literary forms. In the period before the creation of the Eternaal Empire belongs the novel trilogy about the planet called Fomalhiwa. The first part, Meče Lorgan (The Lorgan Swords) was published in 1992 and won again the Karel Čapek Award contest, the same success followed with the second part entitled Stavitelé věží (The Tower Builders) in 1994.
      She got married in 1994 and reduced her writing. After more than five-year silence she published a fantasy novel Pán všech krůpějí (The Lord of All Dewdrops) in 2002; this novel though is not a part of a former cycle.
      Vilma Kadlečková, now married Klímová, dedicates herself also to painting, psychotronics and, above all, to her two children. Her stories are written in a cultivated epic style and very often oscillate between SF and fantasy. They do not contain provocative or ironic subtext which makes them quite different from the work of other Czech writers of that period.

 


  Ivan Kmínek (1953)

Comes from Brno. He ended his study at VŠCHT (Chemical Technological College) in Prague in 1976 and since then works as an research scientist interested in polymers at the Macromolecular Chemistry Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Author of many scientific publications from this field. He started writing SF in 1982 and his work was at once appreciated. He won twice the coveted Karel Čapek Award contest and his short stories were often published in magazines, club fanzines and also in book-form anthologies. Stories are mostly dealing with the problems of a common human being in totalitarian society, and combine the ironic view of bureaucracy with philosophical reflections.
      He finished his novel Utopie, nejlepší verze (Utopia, the Best Version) in 1987 but he managed to publish it later, in 1991, although it belongs to the best writing in Czech SF. Up to that time it circulated among the fans at least in its manuscript form. Novel tells an ironic story about a distressful search for the laws of the panoptical world in which live its heroes - a melancholic narrator Viktor and a superman Martin. Step by step they find out that the mankind was used for a monstrous and perverted experiment in which life should get "a better quality". Author, using parody and black humour, asks himself a question what shout man strive for, where lie the real qualities and how dangerous it is to try to reach them by other ways than by natural evolution.
      Although the novel had considerable success, the author, paradoxically, and for the Golden Age of Czech SF typically, stopped writing in the beginning of the 90s. He lives in Prague, is married and has three children.

 


  Ondřej Neff
(1945)

Comes from writer's family, his father Vladimír Neff was a known author of novels, some of them were even made into film. Son Ondřej after finishing study of social sciences at Charles University in Prague started his career as an editor in the radio but after the Soviet invasion in 1968 lost his job and for several years worked as a fashion photographer. Photography brought him back to writing and editorial work - he wrote about photography, lead a photo column in the papers and published several books for young readers.
      In 1978 appeared his lavishly illustrated monography Podivuhodný svět Julese Verna (The Wonderful World of Jules Verne), a detailed study of life and works of this classic writer of fantastic literature. Ondřej Neff wrote about SF literature also theoretically. His findings in the field of Czech fantastic literature were summed up in the long study Něco je jinak (Something Is Different) in 1981, showing chronologically the evolution of Czech fantastic literature from J. A. Komenský (Comenius) up to this day. Then followed a cycle of lectures about history of American SF which was made into a book about history of world SF Všechno je jinak (Everything Is Different) in 1986, a monumental work which is exceptional even in comparison with similar works published abroad. To be publishable, this book had to contain, besides the history of American SF which was relatively well known, also informed view on SF literature in the countries of the Eastern bloc. As it showed later, this book was also partly written by a forbidden writer Alexandr Kramer and his co-authorship had to be till November 1989 made secret. After the success of his theoretical work, Ondřej Neff started publishing his own short stories. In 1984 published his first SF novel Jádro pudla (The Heart of the Matter) and a year later a short story collection Vejce naruby (An Inside-Out Egg) which is considered a real breakthrough in his writing. Since the half of the 80s he became the most distinct and influential name of Czech SF. Then followed many other novels and short story collections, e. g. a collection Čtvrtý den až navěky (Fourth Day Forever), 1987, from which comes also a short story published in this anthology. Besides the official books he did not hesitate to publish in samizdat. Shortly before the fall of the Iron Curtain, he wrote, drew and at his own expense published a strongly anti-regime comics Pérák (The Springing Man) which did not cause him any more serious problems only for the fact that the criticized regime shortly afterwards collapsed.
      Ondřej Neff is not only a writer but also an occasional translator, e. g. he is the author of Czech translation of Neuromancer. In 1990 he was appointed a job of an editor-in-chief of the first and most known Czech SF magazine Ikarie which he then led for several years. In this period also appeared a successful novel trilogy Milénium (Millenium). His other texts and writings were published each year in a form of an annual entitled Klon (Clone), 1995-98. They consisted of very miscellaneous but nevertheless most interesting matter - essays, reflections, memoirs, lectures, criticism, short stories. One of the stories became the basis for the hard-boiled catastrophic novel Tma (Darkness), 1988, depicting the world where electricity stopped functioning.
      Ondřej Neff does not dedicate himself so much to writing SF these days. He is the creator of the most renowned Czech one-man internet newspaper Neviditelný pes (The Invisible Dog), owner of the firm Ondřej Neff s. r. o. (Ondřej Neff Ltd) and devotes his time to business. He is a medially known and appreciated expert on the IT technologies, communications and digital photography

 


  Josef Nesvadba (1926)

NesvatbaDuring the German occupation studied at the English High School and five years later graduated from the Medical Faculty in Prague specializing in psychiatry. He carried out his psychiatry praxis up to his retirement in 1992. He also occasionally travelled abroad (Vietnam, USA, China) and these journeys had an influence on his work. He is considered as one of the most important (if not absolutely the most important) Czech writers of SF. To the wider public is known as a father of a popular writer and anchorwoman Bára Nesvadbová.
      By the end of the 40s he began as a translator of English poetry and a playwright, and then slowly started writing his short stories. His first short story collection was Tarzanova smrt (The Death of Tarzan) in 1958, which was extremelly successful. Some of the stories were in fact originally meant as theatre plays. Collection Einsteinův mozek (Einstein's Brain) followed in 1960 and two years later Výprava opačným směrem (An Expedition in the Opposite Direction).
      Nesvadba's short stories were at its time exceptional not only in the SF field but also from the point of view of mainstream fiction. In the focus of his interest here is not technology but mostly ethical, historical and philosophical questions. The stories themselves do not excel in suspenseful action but in strong themes. Many of them were made into films and some of them became the basis from which following generations of SF writers could draw their inspiration.
      Among short stories made into film are Tarzanova smrt (The Death of Tarzan), Blbec z Xeenemünde (The Idiot of Xeenemünde) or Ztracená tvář (The Lost Face) in which the criminal gets, after a surgery, a face of a priest. As result his behaviour changes, and vice versa, the surgeon with a face of a criminal starts to live a criminal's life. Perhaps the most known film based on Nesvadba's short story is Upír z Feratu (The Vampire from Ferat) which while showing the attractive background of car races plays with the idea of a motor fuelled by human blood, a vampire car. Dagmar Veškrnová, later a wife of Czech president Václav Havel, appears here in one of her most striking film roles.
      Josef Nesvadba also participated as an author on the films based only on topics of his short stories. The films are unforgetable comedies Zabil jsem Einsteina, pánové (I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen!), Slečna Golem (Miss Golem) or Zítra vstanu a opařím se čajem (Tomorrow I'll Wake up and Scald Myself with Tea). He also co-operated on the script of TV mini-series Bambinot (Bambinot) and is also author of several radio plays and series. He also published several mystery novels in book form.
      In the middle of the 70s he was more interested in the form of novella and novel. At the same time he diverted from classical SF and his later fiction writings hover over the borderland between fantastic and mainstream fiction. He publishes even now, though with relatively long intervals, last time, in 2002, it was a novel Peklo Beneš (Hell Beneš), a political fiction questioning what would happen if Czechoslovakia remained neutral country in the World War II and president Beneš became a world statesman. The book kindled unusual interest, and according to some critics it is the best work by Nesvadba ever. At present he writes his memoirs.
      Josef Nesvadba played an important role in promoting Czech SF abroad. His short stories were translated into many languages, appeared in many world anthologies and some novels were also published abroad (e. g. in USA, Great Britain and Germany). From the 60s on, he was representing Czechoslovakia at many SF worldcons, he is a president of Czech section of World SF. Josef Nesvadba and Karel Čapek are the only Czech writers who appeared in the first edition of Nicholls' SF Encyclopedia.
      Einsteinův mozek (Einstein's Brain), the short story shown in our anthology, was the only one written in totally different times than all the rest of stories. In spite of this fact, we took the liberty of putting it here because the representative anthology of Czech SF would be unthinkable without Josef Nesvadba. Further information and short stories can be found at his personal internet site.

 


  Jiří Netrval
(1945)

NetrvalStudied microbiology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University and works at the Antibiotics and biotransformations Research Institute at Roztoky u Prahy specializing in microbiology used for production of medications. He is an author of several patents and scientific publications in this field. He started writing at about 15, and from the beginning mostly SF. His short story Styx (Styx) brought him a rightful interest of the reading public. The story was published in a representative anthology Pozemšťané a mimozemšťané (Terrestrials and Extraterrestrials) in 1981, together with short stories by the top world writers, and its high quality level proved that it did not fall behind any other stories in the anthology. Also his other published short stories Deset tisíc tun chrómu (Ten Thousand Tons of Chrome) and Cizí způsob myšlení (A Strange Way of Thinking) showed very high quality of writing.
      Jiří Netrval admires the classical hard SF, to his favourite authors belong Lem, Simak, Aldiss, the Strugatsky brothers or Bradbury. He writes very slowly, carries the idea in his head for years, and it shows in the resulting fiction. He has published just these three mentioned short stories so far.

 


   František Novotný
(1944)

Graduated after studying electric engineering in Brno, and because of his disagreement with the Soviet occupation of this country was fired from work in 1971. With a help from his friends got a job of a technician at a mainframe computer. Besides ardent reading SF books, he dedicated himself from his early childhood to yachting (his father was a founding member of the Brno Yacht Club), later even on the salt water, and reached the qualification degree of the Yachtmaster Ocean.
      He decided to write relatively late, he wrote his first short story for the Karel Čapek Award contest in 1983. He won the winner's trophy, Mlok (The Newt), two times, in 1985 and 1991. In the meantime his first book Nešťastné přistání (The Unlucky Landing) appeared in 1988 and although the Communistic censor threw out a third of the stories out of the book, it won the Ludvík Award.
      Another short story collection Bradburyho stín (Bradbury's Shadow), from which the title short story was used as a title for this anthology), followed in 1991 and a year later appeared two novelas in one volume under the title Ramax (Ramax). From an idea to write a parody in a fantasy style then emerged so far the most ambitious project of this author - a trilogy about an alternative world where the Nazi rule with a help of underworld gods and demons. The first part Dlouhý den Valhaly (The Long Day of Valhalla) was published in 1994 and won the annual Award of the Academy of SF, Fantasy and Horror, the second part Další den Valhaly (Another Day of Valhalla) appeared by the end of 2002, and the third Konečný den Valhaly (The Final Day of Valhalla) will close the whole cycle in 2003.
      In1994 he started his free-lance author career, took also some jobs as a yacht skipper in the Mediterranean and in Florida. Besides writing SF he also contributes articles for an internet newspaper Neviditelný pes (The Invisible Dog) run by Ondřej Neff and edits books with nautical and military themes. Since 1998 lives in Prague and shares a household with Linda Bartošková - it is she who translates Stephen King into Czech language.

 


  Zdeněk Páv (1959)

Graduated from Engineering and Electric Technology College in Plzeň (Pilsen) and works as a programmer. He is the only one, among the writers collected in this anthology, who is not mentioned in Slovník české literární fantastiky and SF (The Dictionary of Czech Literary Fantasy and SF) because he never published a book, and even none of his short stories were for many years published in a book. He published for a long time only in magazines and in samizdat but in spite of all this he was well known by the readers of SF at the 80s, and he was quite favourite author. In the whole, he published more than thirty short stories. Besides writing he was also an active organizer of cons and contests.
      Since 1982 he was a regular and maybe even the most original participant of the Karel Čapek Award contest in which he won six nominations. He called his style of writing, often described as gonzo or a literary experiment, "literary subjectivism and schizophrenic realism". The stories are mostly totally nontechnical absurdist tales which are closer to surrealism than to SF. From some stories can be felt author's ironic view on the socialistic reality, as in the longer story Věže Guruů (The Towers of the Gurus) which was published separately in samizdat in 1989.
      His short story Cesta mou láskou (The Jouney Through My Love) appeared in fanzine Poslední dávka (Last Dose) in 1991 and was one of his last published stories. Zdeněk Páv stopped writing because of great work overload. This anthology is paradoxically one of the first books where he appears as an author.

 


  Josef Pecinovský
(1946)

In 1964 finished study at SPŠCh (Industrial Chemistry High School) in Ostrava. Since then he works in the Štětí paper mill first as a worker, later as a operations foreman, chief of specialist education and a teacher of technical subjects at a higher technical training school. His first short story Signály zmlkly (The Signals Fell Silent) was published in a magazine already in 1962. Then he fell silent and again started publishing in the 80s where slowly became one of the most fertile writers of SF short stories. He is especially famed for his humorous stories, the most known being a cycle about Václav Novák, a weird breeder of even weirder birds.
      The first published story from this cycle Jak nakrmit ptáčátko (Feeding a Baby Bird) appeared in the anthology Návrat na planetu Zemi (Return to Planet Earth) in 1985.
      By the end of the 80s the nature of his output was dramatically changed, and humour was replaced by bleak antiutopical visions. In that time he won two of his greatest literary awards. In 1986 he won the Karel Čapek Award for a short story Její Veličenstvo (Her Majesty), which we have put into this anthology,and in 1987 he repeated his success with a short story Nos to závaží (Carry That Weight). He began to publish regularly later, in a more favourable social climate after 1989. Mostly in Ikarie magazine, some two dozen stories were broadcast by the Czech Radio at Ústí nad Labem. In 1990 he published two independent items, a novel Plástev medu (A Honeycomb) and a novella Tři zákony odlidštění (Three Laws of Dehumanization). Since then he published three to five titles a year. Among the best are a short story collection Abbey Road (1991), written on the topics of the LP record by the Beatles, a collection Házím ti laso, kamaráde (Throwing You a Lasso, Buddy) in 1999, which collects the best stories of the author from the 90s, a long novel Juta (Jute) in 1991, about a world where being intelligent means a crime, and a novel Sinusoida 26 (Sinusoid 26) in 1999, depicting the dramatic situation at a deep space expedition.
      Pecinovský writes not only SF but also westerns which are published by Ivo Železný Publishing using pseudonyms Joe Townway and Mike Williamson, in the same publishing house appeared several action SF stories using the pseudonyms Bernard Ant and Bruce Newman.
      In 1995 he met his namesake Rudolf Pecinovský, a director of Grada Publishing. The result of this cooperation was a novel V zajetí počítače (Captured by the Computer) in 1995 where the authors tried to blend a dramatic story with an educational publication.
      Since then Josef Pecinovský cooperates with Grada Publishing regularly, here he published some two dozen computer manuals which also has something to do with his job as a teacher. More information about the author, including many short stories can be found here…

 


  Ludvík Souček
(1927-1978)

SoučekAfter graduation from the Medical Faculty at Charles University in Prague, he began his work as a dental assistant. In 1954 he joined the Army, spent two years as an army doctor in Korea and after his return worked as a dentist in the Central Army Hospital in Prague. In1969 entered the army editorial staff of Czechoslovak Television and then worked in Albatros Publishing House, and in 1976 retired as a disabled person. Two years later he died prematurely after a heart attack.
      He had a wide radius of interests and almost encyclopedic knowledge from the most diverse disciplines. At he beginning he was interested especially in photography to which he dedicated more than ten books of which at least two are of a decisive importance. Its history was captured in an unusual children encyclopedia Jak se světlo naučilo kreslit (How the Light Learned to Draw) from 1963, and to serious photographers he spoke seriously in his book Cesty k moderní fotografii (The Roads to Modern Photography) in 1966.       
      His greatest and lifelong interest were unexplained phenomena and mysteries of our past. For these reasons he kept for years an archive of newspaper clippings and put together an extraordinary library. As a means of presentation of his mindboggling knowledge and hypotheses was used, among other ways, also science fiction.
     In 1964 was published the first part of his SF trilogy Cesta slepých ptáků (Voyage of the Blind Birds), its story is very freely linked to Jules Verne's novel Cesta do středu Země (Voyage to the Middle of the Earth). It is a refined combination of reality and fiction accompanied by "documentary" photos, and so even many adult readers were misguided and deceited. Although it was Souček's first novel, it was full of action, very readable and humorous, so it rightly won the best children's book of the year award. Moreover, the whole trilogy was in 1990 evaluated by the readers' poll as the all-time best Czech SF. In the following years he then published many excellent adventure novels and short story collections, more books on photography and several books from totally disparate areas by which he confirmed astonishing width of his interests. As an example can be used his children's encyclopedia about writing and printing Co zavinil Gutenberg (What is Gutenberg Blamed For) from 1975 or a book Rakve útočí (Coffins Are Attacking) from 1976, depicting the key naval battle of the war between the North and the South.
      From his SF let us mention a collection Bratři Černé planety (Brethren of the Black Planet) from 1969, or a copiously illustrated novel Případ jantarové komnaty (The Case of the Amber Chamber) where he speculates about a secret hiding place of the Nazis after a lost war and about the substance of flying saucers. The novel is written in the first person and so its feeling is very authentic, and the reader cannot say where reality ends and fantasy steps in.
      But the most popular work by Ludvík Souček appreciated by his Czech readers are his non-fiction books Tušení stínu (A Foreboding of the Shadow) from 1974 and Tušení souvislosti (A Foreboding of the Connection) from 1978 which became genuine bestsellers. They were the result of many years of research and belong to the highest peaks of his works. Although Souček was a Communist and a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia he had problems with publishing them. Even now it is quite unclear to his contemporaries where did he get his information in that period of socialist information vacuum. Both books are still relevant and their quality in many instances makes them stand higher than more known Vzpomínky na budoucnost (REMEMBERING THE FUTURE) by Erich von Däniken - which were translated by Souček himself for its Czech edition. He did not manage to publish a prepared third book Tušení světla (A Foreboding of the Light) and its manuscript got lost after his death following some odd and unusual circumstances.
       Continuing popularity of Souček's work is evident in the fact that his books are up to now published again and again and still liked by the reading public. This anthology shows a torso of his novel which was found in author's estate and published posthumously in 1983.

 


  Ladislav Szalai
(1951)

Born in Bratislava (in Slovakia) but since his childhood lives in Bohemia. He got a training as a repairman of agricultural machines and then worked at the railway. He started with song lyrics and poetry which led him to other literary forms.
      His short stories began to appear in magazines by the end of the 70s. The first SF short stories which saw print in a book form were published in a collection Dvojnásobný dvojník (A Double Double) in 1983.
      Already this book showed his attitude towards crazy ideas, unexpected punch lines and unbound fantasy. These qualities expressed themselves even more in his first solo collection Cesta do bláznovy zahrady (A Journey to the Fool's Garden) which was published in 1984, consisted of some three dozen short stories and duly brought its author popularity of his readers. In its time it was an above-average contribution to Czech SF, a part of the stories served as an example of a Czech concept of style used in action stories with a point, another distinctive part were space slapsticks to which belongs also the short story in this anthology. In the following year he published another good collection Zapomenutý vesmír (Forgotten Space). In the years that followed he contributed to several anthologies, many short stories were also published in magazines.
      In 1990 be co-founded the Orfeus Publishing aiming at text-books and non-fiction. It published also fiction and also Szalai's own books which did not reach such popularity as his older work. He dedicated himself almost exclusively to writing short stories, his last collection was published in 1992.

 


  Jaroslav Veis
(1946)

Comes from Prague where he graduated from the Faculty of the Social Sciences and Journalism of Charles University in 1970. At first he worked as an editor in the children's weekly Sedmička pionýrů, then he was a free-lance journalist. Later he worked as an editor in the Mladá fronta Publishing House. In the second half of the 70s he made himself visible by two short story collections Experiment pro třetí planetu (Experiment for a Third Planet) in 1976 and Pandořina skříňka (Pandora's Box) in 1979 which put him immediately at the top of modern Czech SF. His merit was not reduced not even by a later statement (1990) that several of the stories were in fact written by Alexandr Kramer, a writer who during totalitarian regime could not publish under his own name. In 1982 Veis published a SF mystery novel Zemřeš podruhé (You'll Die a Second Time) and during the 80s regularly submitted short stories to magazines and book anthologies. His third solo short story collection Moře času (A Sea of Time) from 1986 was written without any co-authorship and contains also a short story Šest měsíců in ulna (Six Months In Ulna) which is generally considered as one of his best stories ever. He also dedicated himself to translations from English - e.g. he translated Aldiss' novel Nonstop, a novel The Word for World Is Forest (Svět je les, les je svět) by Ursula K. Le Guin, participated on a translation of the encyclopedia Words of Science (Slova vědy) by I. Asimov.
      After 1989 he started as a publicist and later on as an editor-in-chief of Lidové noviny daily (which stepped out of illegality and now belongs to the most widely read nationwide daily newspapers) and his activities in the SF field were considerably limited. Since 1985 he works for Centrum nezávislé žurnalistiky (Center for Independent Journalism) where he publishes a magazine called Kmit (Cycle). As a journalist he aims at popularizing science and for this activity he was even awarded a prize by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

 


  Jaroslav Velinský
(1932)

Comes from Prague but in 1959 moved to the Northbohemian town of Liberec, from that place to Ústí nad Labem in 1968 where as a musician and song writer co-founded Porta, the nationwide country, folk and tramp song festival. He released several authorial musical albums with the leading gramophone companies, some of his songs became traditionals. In spite of all that he considers himself more a writer than a musician. Since 1985 lives in a small town Libouchec in the North Bohemia.
      He tried lots of most diverse jobs, earned a living as a turner, a zoo stoker, a window dresser, a graphic artist, a typographer etc. From 1983 on he devotes himself entirely to writing and music. He started publishing in the 60s - SF and horror stories in regional dailies. His first novel was an accomplished SF novel Zápisky z Garthu (Jottings from Garth) published in 1969. It deals with a transcription from an exercise book, found during excavations at an archeological site in 2059, which describes a group of people striving to avert a worldwide catastrophy caused by a mysterious "hjeld". The explosion of hjeld results in time shifts and formation of parallel worlds.
      Velinský as a writer did not limit himself to only one genre, in the 70s published several mystery novels, historical novels and westerns. He returned to SF again in the 80s and the hight point of his writing at that period was a novella Den a noc (The Day and the Night) which won the Golem SF Award in 1985 and which we also put in this anthology. It is a dramatic story of Christy Bigs, a journalist in an antarctic town in the future, written in the hardboiled style of Raymond Chandler.
      Jaroslav Velinský is one of the few writers mentioned here who did not stop writing after the fall of the Iron Curtain. He tried as the first ever Czech author to create an original magazine series of space operas S. I. Man Dan Young, and not unsuccessfully. In 1995 was finally published his longest alternative SF novel Engerlingové (The Engerlings) which in the time of its origin did not make it through the sieve of censorship (it was finished in 1984). The novel duly won the annual Academy of SF,Fantasy and Horror Award. The novel describes a history of a group of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy celebrities who during the last days of World War I hid themselves in the underground where they had made for themselves a new, "better" world. In the same year saw the print also a sequel to a successful novel Zápisky z Garthu (Jottings from Garth) entitled Leonora (Leonora). Besides the suspenseful story there is also a place for thoughts about human fate and possibilities of changing the striving of human beings. In 1997 his vast allegoric novel Dzwille aroused excitement of Czech SF readers and literally shocked them by its exceptionality.
      Velinský tried the field of non-fiction and in 2001 published his own addition to speculations about the lost continent Případ Atlantis (The Atlantis Case). Recently he devotes himself to detective or mystery stories, especially to the private eye Oto Fink series which he publishes in his own Kapitán Kid Publishing House. He also won many times the Jiří Marek Award for the best Czech detective novel of the year. The last time he managed to surprise Czech readers it was in 2003 when he "finished" the final part of the cult novels series for young adults written by the late author Jaroslav Foglar.

 


  Karel Veverka (1959)

VeverkaAfter graduating from the Faculty of Civil Engineering of ČVUT (Technical College) he started working as a statics specialist and a head of the computing centre in České Budějovice where he met his contemporary and co-author Petr Heteša.
      He was attracted by computers which reflected also in his literary output. As one of the first Czech authors tried to write in the cyberpunk style. In the 80s wrote together with Heteša several successful short stories for the Karel Čapek Award contest. In 1987 it was a short story about a simulated computer game Nečistá hra (A Foul Game), in 1988 a longish short story on a similar topic Těšíme se na vás (We Are Looking Forward to You) which also brings this anthology.
      In 1989 they published in samizdat a novel Sítě, kanály a stoky (Nets, Canals and Gutters). In 1990 published in Ikarie magazine his solo short story Adapt (Adapt) which won the Karel Čapek Award. It depicts destruction of the worldwide net (it was in 1990!) caused by a dangerous virus which by using the biological computers finally enters even the computer users and changes them into killing madmen. In the following year appeared another successful short story Bruster (Bruster) in which data from a brain of a genius programmer are copied into a computer and used for computer crime. His time and energy previously used for writing has step by step consumed his family and business. Today he is a director of an important Czech IT company and does not devote himself to writing.