Czech This Out ! Czech SF Magazine “XB-1” No.7/2014

    Even you didn’t ever heard of Karel Čapek, probably you’ve heard of  “robots” and this is the right time to find out that the word “robot” was not invented by Asimov or any other US “Grand Masters of Science Fiction” but by an intellectual european, the czech writer Karel Čapek (1890-1938), with the help of his brother, Josef.

    Karel Čapek’s play “R.U.R.” (“Rossum’s Universal Robots : Kolektivni Drama”, 1920; translated 1923) introduced the word “Robot” into the genre and into all languages.

    Robot” is is derived from the Czech word “robota” (statute labour/serf labour).

    Czechoslovakia’s „Ikarie” (published 1990-2010) science fiction magazine followed on from several fanzine/semi-samizdat science fiction almanacs published in the country in the late 1980s. These were titled “Ikarie XB-1” through to “Ikarie XB-4”, with changes apparently being the publisher’s attempt to circumvent restrictions on periodical press put in place by the country’s ruling regime. However, according to the magazine’s publishers the name was originally chosen in honour of the country’s classic science fiction film, “Ikarie XB-1”.

    Ikarie XB-1” (Icarus XB-1), the most distinctive Czech SF film of the period, (shown in the USA in a heavily cut version as „Voyage to the End of the Universe”), was shot in 1962 by Jindrich Polák in direct response to a demand from the Communist Party for a blockbuster about the conquest of space and was a hit at the 1963 Trieste Science Fiction Film Festival.

    First published in 1990, “Ikarie” went on to become one of the most important science fiction magazines in Europe. Published monthly with full-colour covers and black and white interiors, the magazine contained between five or six stories in each issue in addition to reviews and nonfiction articles. Over the years “Ikarie” published countless Czech authors along with translated stories from some of the best known contemporary science fiction writers from around the world.

    After 20 years of publishing and 247 issues, “Ikarie” closed down after the publication of its November 2010 issue. According to one of the editors, Martin Šust, the magazine’s unexpected demise was not due to poor sales but instead the publisher’s desire to focus on lifestyle magazines.

    When “Ikarie”’s publisher closed that magazine in late 2010, Ikarie’s editors immediately started  a new Czech SF magazine, “XB-1″ (also, a reference to the second part of the “Ikarie XB-1” film title). The new magazine comprises the same editorial board as “Ikarie”.

    Monthly “XB-1” is based print publication in December 2010.

    In June 2013 “XB-1” editors had announced that their June issue of the SF/F magazine “XB-1” will be their last due to  economic problems and a lack of advertisers. Luckily, it was a premature announcement and “XB-1” continues to be published.

    “XB-1” : SF, Fantasy and Horror Monthly Magazine

    Editor: Vlado Ríša, Deputy editor: Jaroslav Jiran, Editor: Martin Šust

    XB-1 no.7/2014 Table of Contents :

    Foreign SF

    Karen Joy Fowler (US): “Pelican Bar” (2009)

    Kenneth Schneyer (US): “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” (2013 ; finalist for the Sturgeon Memorial Award)

    Mercurio D. Rivera (US): “Missionaries” (2012)

    Garth Nix (Australia): “Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarsköe” ( 2008)

    Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards’ Nominations

    World Fantasy Award, Shirley Jackson Award

    Czech SF

    Jana Dvořáčková: “Three Jumps Closer and One Further”

    Petr Dolezal: “Sergey Popov”

    Linda Sigmundová: “The Smell of Old Age”

    Alex Koval :  “Františka Vrbenská : Manifest Small Cons”

    Julie Novak: “Interview with Garth Nix”

    Antonín Tesař : “Spanish Horror”

    Fantastic Science

    New Letters of the Genetic Code

    The Collapse of the Crater Lake on Mars

    Human Muscles From Pig Intestines;

    A Rotating Exoplanet


    Film Premieres : The Purge 2;  Godzilla;  The surgeon;  Amazing Spider-Man 2;  Transcendence;  Snowpiercer;


    Readers readers;

    Stephen King: Doctor Sleep;  Sally Green: Half Bad;  Samantha Shannon: The Bone Season ;

    Jaime Reed: The Cambion Chronicles ;

    Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson: Hellhole;

    Miroslav W. Štěpánek : LCF Company: Renegade;

    Andrew Fukuda: The Hunt ; Richelle Mead: Gameboard of Gods;

    Image cover’s author : Martin Zhouf

    Czech and Slovak Science Fiction :


    „Ikarie XB-1”,  1963

    86 min., black-and-white.

    Directed by Jindrich Polák

    Starring : Radovan Lukavský, Zdenek Stepánek, Frantisek Smolík, Otto Lackovic

    Cinematography : Jan Kalis, Sasa Rasilov

    Production Designer : Jan Zázvorka

    Special Effects : Jan Kalis

    Film Editor : Josef Dobrichovský

    Original Music : Zdenek Liska

    Written by Jindrich Polák and Pavel Jurácek

    Produced by Barrandov Film Studios, Czechoslovakia


    „Planeta Eden. The World of Tomorrow in the Socialist Czechoslovakia”, 2010


    P.S. Thank you, Mercurio Rivera for your pun !

    Pics© Ikarie & XB-1


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