Some Remarks on Current German Science Fiction by Michael K. Iwoleit

Michael Iwoleit is the brain behind Internova, the online magazine for International Science Fiction, and an inspiration to us here at the World SF Blog. He offers Some Remarks on Current German Science Fiction:

German science fiction has had a rough ride of it since the boom time of the early eighties, when at one time no less than seven sf paperback and two sf hardcover serials were published in Germany, and Heyne Science Fiction was known as one of the largest sf publishers in the world. Unsurprisingly, most of the books published around this hey-day period were by Anglo-American writers, but this didn’t prevent German publishers from showcasing a remarkably rich and diverse selection of science fiction from all over the world. Even German language science fiction – which has rarely enjoyed commercial success and traditionally suffers from a lack of readership – went through a short-time boom.

One of the trail-blazers of the time was the extraordinarily talented young writer Rainer Zubeil – aka Thomas Ziegler from Cologne – who acted as a kind of primer for the development of a new movement in German science fiction. Ziegler’s work, which was predominantly set in a new or alternative future Germany, fore-grounded characterisation, political commentary and stylistic experimentation, marrying these with a preference for satire and irony (including ironic self-reflections on the business of sf writing). Writers such as Ronald M. Hahn, Horst Pukallus, Reinmar Cunis and Thomas Mielke were among the most prominent representatives of this trend.

Sadly, it is generally accepted that few of the German SF novels published during these boom years stands the test of time. Only a handful of its writers are still active today, and several have died (Thomas Ziegler/Rainer Zubeil died at the depressingly young age of 48). – continue reading.


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