A short story anthology
from the Golden Age of Czech
science fiction in English
Compiled by: Radek Dojiva, Cyril Simsa,
Jitka Skoupá, Petr Smolík and Dana Stračárová
There are two reasons which led to the birth of this book. The first is "The
Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction", an ancyclopedia by David Pringle containing
a survey of all the books which were published in the SF genre in English. It
is obvious that the English-speaking readers did not have many opportunities
to find SF work in other than English language. The second is our conviction
that the Golden Age of Czech SF is maybe also
worth a mention even in the international extent.
The title of the book is not only lifted from one of the short stories. It also symbolizes a fact that Ray Bradbury was one of the few Anglo-American SF authors who were published in Czechoslovakia even in the era of building the socialism. With a minor exaggeration it can be said that before the fall of the Iron Curtain he published as many titles in Czech language as did all the rest of Anglo-American writers. Those were not simple "rocket stories" but just the very opposite, the works which made the readers think. Especially publication of his novel Fahrenheit 451 proved obtuseness of the Communistic censorship and at the same time confirmed the fact that good SF may have considerable social importance reaching far beyond the borders of the genre. So I will not be off the mark, I hope, if I say that the majority of these Czech authors grew up in Bradbury's shadow.
At the end, let me mention the names of those people without whose unselfish help this project could not ever be carried out. They are Jeff Brown, Zdeněk Páral, Erik Piper, Zdeněk Rampas, Cyril Simsa, Jitka Skoupá, Petr Smolík and especially my wife Dana, to her belong my greatest thanks. The data for biographies of the authors and for this foreword were drawn mostly from the works of Ivan Adamovič, Ondřej Neff and Jindřich Smékal, and so I thank them too. At the same time I appologize to all the authors who have so importantly added their voices to the evolution of Czech SF in the mentioned period but who did not make it into this book.
Radek Dojiva, 27 July, 2003