In the 1990s his works were not published in Slovak. Today he sells more than in the Czech Republic.
The last years of the Comics Salon show that topics such as anime, manga, sci-fi or fantasy are no longer a marginal affair for enthusiasts in Slovakia, but are moving more and more into the mainstream.
We talked about how we were interested in these genres, but especially sci-fi and fantasy literature, with one of her best-selling authors in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Juraj Červenák and Jan Kotouč.
15 years only in Czech
Today, probably the most popular Slovak fantasy author, Juraj Červenák, who has more than 30 books and a lot of short stories on record, has begun writing this kind of literature professionally in the 1990s.
According to him, publishing fantasy and sci-fi now looks completely different than when he started. “I have only published fifteen years in Czech,” says Červenák for Živé.sk. “The first Slovak book was published in 2009, when I already had some 15 books in Czech,” he adds.
In Slovakia, there was so little interest in these genres until the relatively recent period that publishers preferred to translate Slovak works into Czech to publish them simultaneously in Slovakia and in the larger Czech market.
“In the Czech Republic, the market for sci-fi, horror and fiction started just after 1990, but Tolkien was released in the Czech Republic sometime after 2000,” says Červenák. “Basically, in the 1990s, this genre didn’t come out at all.”
Several Slovak publishing houses have tried to release some foreign fantasy, but it quickly turned out that it was not profitable for them. “In the past, we were considering publishing that we will make a current issue in Czech and Slovak, but when it came down, he saw that it would not be worth it,” recalls the Slovak author.
Before 1989: Sci-fi yes, fantasy no
While fantasy began to appear in Czech only in the 1990s and later, sci-fi was popular a long time ago. “The Communists preferred that genre, because it was futurological, it wasn’t turning to some pagan, magical, or ancient things that seemed to be reversible to them,” Redk said.
However, as far as international publicity and popularity of this genre are concerned, it was not a big difference compared to fantasy even in the 90s. “If someone came to science fiction in 1994 and today, they would see a big difference in the number of visitors as well as how they live. At that time, we were people who read sci-fi or fantasy books here, nowadays they are very intensely involved. ”
Today it is exactly the opposite
However, after the year 2000 the situation started to change. Several successful fantasy films have been released at the cinemas, followed by the first Slovak releases of several famous world fantastic literature titles. Subsequently, the publishing houses began to look after the local work.
“Today, I have Slovak book costs and sales significantly higher than Czech ones,” says Červenák. There are several reasons for this. In addition to the worldwide rise in the popularity of sci-fi or fantasy genres, it is, according to him, a better availability of foreign production in our country.
At the same time, a sci-fi fan community has also formed. The series as Star Trek began to broadcast first to commercial TV Markiza. Following the expansion of the Internet, fans can now get to most of the news almost immediately.
These factors together led to the fact that today’s genres such as sci-fi and fantasy in Slovak can not only be published, but their publishing can also feed. “We tried it, it started slowly, but today, for example, the Bohatieri (a multi-part historical fantasy, editorial note) is costing me nearly 5,000, which I never dreamed of,” says the author.
According to Červenák, it is still not much against the more mainstream production, such as Dominic Dan’s criminals. However, today’s Slovak book market is such that when a thousand pieces are sold, the publisher calls for a second episode because it is worth building.
Jan Kotouč, the Czech sci-fi and alternative history, has the same impression from today’s scene. “Fantastic is no longer for the few nerds, but it is increasingly heading to the mainstream. Those who go to marvelous today can also buy Jan Kotouč, Juraj Červenák or František Kotlet, because this is something they enjoy, ”he says.
“Today it is much easier for the author to release something and earn something fantastic in the Czech and Slovak Republics than ever before,” adds Kotouč.
Fantastic in third place
Both Červenák and Kotouč agree that fiction and sci-fi literature could be in the third place after detective and so-called “female genres”.
“As far as genres are concerned, trillers and detective who are the first to share romantic literature are very popular. Then there is nothing long and there is a fantasy that is still dividing, with more people buying genres like fantasy or alternative history, and then sci-fi, ”says Kotouč.