Some Croatian Science Fiction and Fantasy authors have already gained international recognition. But, if you still haven’t heard of Milena Benini, Tatjana Jambrišak, Zoran Krušvar, Darko Macan or Aleksandar Žiljak, these are couple of things you need to know …
Milena Benini (Zagreb, 1966) graduated in comparative literature at the University of St. George in Oxford. She started to write back in elementary school, and published her first story when she was 14 years old. She published works in English, in magazines Neverworlds, Eternity, 69 Flavor of Paranoia, etc. In 1999 she was among the finalists for the best selection of stories published on the Internet (Best of the Rest) with a story Without the Middle.
She co-authored the book The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy Vol 1 (ed. Darin Park and Tom Dullemond, Dragon Moon Press, Calgary, 2003), now already in the second edition, where she wrote the chapter Fantasy Without Clichés – Writing Effectively, and The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction Vol 1: First Contact (ed. Dave E. Law, Dragon Moon Press, Calgary, 2007), with the chapters Attack of the Monster Plot: Ideas, Settings and Plots and I Don’t Know That Bug-Eyed Monster from Adam: Clichés in SF. This book won the Eppie Award as the best electronic book of the year.
She won 3 SFERA Awards, wrote 2 novels (Kaos (Chaos) in 1998 and Svećenica Mjeseca (Priestess of the Moon) in 2008) and published a short story collection Jednorog i djevica (The Unicorn And The Virgin) in 2005.
Tatjana Jambrišak (Zagreb, 1965) is an SF editor, writer and poet. She graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb with the masters degree in English and German Language and Literature and has been working as an educator, editor and translator ever since. She has been editing various collections of stories by Croatian authors.
She is a member of the Croatian Writers Society and Croatian Literary Translators’ Association. She translates Croatian literature, and SF into English, as well as comic scripts, published in the USA, Britain and several European anthologies and magazines. She also translates short stories into English for various international literary festivals in Croatia. Among her numerous literary translations there are five literary works by Pulizer prize winners so far: The Road and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy,Olive Kitteridge, Amy and Isabelle and Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout, From Hell by Alan Moore and Maus by Art Spiegelman.
Her 3D computer art illustrations, available at www.tatjana.ws, accompanied by short SF, Fantasy and Horror texts were also awarded the SFERA Award in 2001. She participated in several international competitions and exhibitions, like at several SFeraKon conventions, libraries and at premises of Zagreb Photo and Cinema Association in 2009.
She has been publishing her own SF stories since 1898 in various Croatian anthologies, competitions, literary blogs and various literary magazines. Three of them (Spirit of the New World, Red and Black and No Greater Fun, Ladies) were awarded the annual national SF award SFERA. Her SF stories were collected and published in 2003, while the “tribloglogy”, a collections of poems (Dream Letters, awarded by her fifth SFERA award), short stories (Never an Ex) and squabbles on gender chitchat (Blog Given) was published in 2007, as well as the collection of verse and tales Shine in 2009. The comic, drawn by Branka Nikolić, has been published monthly in a children magazine for two years now. Her SFERA awarded short story Red and Black was published in Ad Astra, the anthology of Croatian SF stories.
The stories Awake Among the Stars and Bella Proxima were published in the European literary magazine Transcript 34 in English, German and French, and Despierta entre las estrellas on the Argentinian SF portal Axxon (Cuentos de Ciencia Ficción de Axxón 167), accompanied with her own original illustration. The short story Sandra was published in the anthology Grageas, cuentos breves de todo el mundo. A miniature story Repetitio of 7 words was accepted and published on the Belgrade competition “357″ by the literary portal ArtAnima. Her stories was also published in the Bulgarian almanach Irin Pirin and the Belgrade online literary magazine Helly Cherry. Her stories are currently being translated into Polish language.
Zoran Krušvar (Rijeka, 1977) is a psychologist and Science Fiction and Fantasy writer who won 4 SFERA Awards so far. He is best known to his native Croatian public for his stories that either have a lot of humor or a lot of vampires in them, or both.
So far he’s published 3 books: a story collection Najbolji na svijetu (The Best In The World), a vampire novel Izvršitelji nauma Gospodnjeg (The Executioners of Lord’s Intention), and YA novel Zvijeri plišane (Plush Beasts). The first two books were also translated and published in Poland (Najlepszy na świecie and Wykonawcy Bożego Zamysłu).
Darko Macan (Zagreb, 1966) is an author, editor and illustrator. He has a degree in history and archeology from the University of Zagreb. He has drawn and written many comic books, mostly in Croatian, but in 1993 he broke into the American comics industry when he and fellow Croatian artist Edvin Biuković submitted their work to Dark Horse Comics. He has also done Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse for Disney comics. He was nominated for the Eisner Award twice (Grendel Tales: Devils and Deaths and Prayer to Sun).
As a writer, he has sold more than 40 Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories (they are included in 2 short story collections: Teksas Kid i još neka moja braća (Texas Kid, and some other brothers of mine) in 2003 and 42/Pročitaj i daj dalje (42/Read it and pass it on) in 2009), 2 Science Fiction novels (Ona koju vole bogovi (She who is beloved by Gods) with Tatjana Jambrišak, Goran Konvični, Damir Starešinić and Berislav Lopac, in 1998, and Koža boje masline (Olive tanned skin) in 2000) and 3 children’s books. He has won 4 SFERA Awards and 2 Grigor Vitez Awards. Under the pseudonym Cecile Quintal he has written essays about comics. He was editor of nine Annual Collections of Croatian SF and is currently editor-in-chief of the Q strip comics magazine.
Aleksandar Žiljak (Zagreb, 1963) graduated at the Electrotechnical Faculty in Zagreb in 1987, and got his Master of Computer Sciences degree in 1990. He is a freelance illustrating artist, working mostly for children’s magazines, newspapers, school text-books, and also producing book-cover art. He specializes in wildlife illustration, but also does Science Fiction, mystery and similar subjects.
He also publishes Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror stories, starting with short horror stories in 1991. Some of his stories were collected in 2003 in the book Slijepe ptice (Blind Birds). In the same year, he published a popular science book Cryptozoology: The World of Mysterious Animals, using a pseudonym Karl S. McEwan.
Together with Tomislav Šakić, he edited Ad Astra, an anthology of Croatian Science Fiction stories, published in 2006. So far, he has published some of his stories and texts in Germany (Internova, Nova), Denmark (Phantazm webzine), Serbia (Politikin zabavnik youth magazine, Ars-Anima webzine), Argentina (Axxon webzine), Greece (9, weekly comics and SF supplement of the Eleftherotypia newspapers) and Italy (Futuro Europa). Recently he’s published a story in Lavie Tidhar’s The Apex Book of World SF, an “extraordinary anthology of 16 tales” that “introduces English-speaking readers to some of the world’s best writers of SF, horror, fantasy, and metafiction”.
Aleksandar Žiljak won 3 SFERA Awards for best SF stories (in 1996, 1998 and 2000), 2 for best SF art (in 1993 and 1995), and one – with Tomislav Šakić – for editing the Ad Astra anthology (2006). Currently, he and Tomislav Šakić are editors of Ubiq, Croatian literary magazine for Science Fiction.