As you may have already noticed, you are in Spekulatív Zóna. The title of this blog is spelled in Hungarian, but contains two internationally recognizable words. I will mostly write about speculative fiction, hence the first word. And just because you need a second word in order to make the name look cool, we introduced the word “Zone”, which has a tradition in SFF circles. I decided to stick with the Hungarian spelling of the title because it can be familiar internationally, while at the same time being exotic because of the acute accent on Hungarian vowels. And most importantly: because I simply like it!

I am Bence Pintér, currently a journalist of the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet. In the past two years I have been the editor-in-chief of Mandiner.sci-fi (mSF), Hungary’s first professional news site dedicated to speculative literature, comics, etc. After Mandiner’s owner changed in June, the new management proposed to merge mSF with Mandiner.digit, which was dealing with tech and futurology. After days of thinking I decided to close down the project instead. Before the buyout we had financial troubles for some months, and we could not pay our freelancers. So for six months I edited and wrote all of the articles myself, and read all of the new books myself to write reviews. It was clear that if I want to continue, this will be the standard. I’ve honestly had enough.

Although, we had a good run in the past two years. We wrote reviews about almost all the new SFF releases and new movies; conducted some good interviews with domestic and foreign authors; went to the Vienna Comic Con; shaped the conversation about multiple issues in Hungarian fandom. Last year I managed to uncover that the editors of Galaktika, the flagship magazine of Hungarian science fiction, have been stealing a considerable amount of short stories ever since the magazine’s relaunch in 2004. Surprisingly, my revelation of Galaktika’s plagiarism had some consequences, which is really rare in the life of a journalist in Hungary.

It was clear that in the future I will write about speculative fiction somewhere, and somehow. There are some really good SFF blogs in Hungary which I could join. Speculative fiction in Hungary is well and alive, but the market and the fandom is tiny, and the latter is also fragmented...

I want more.

The rise of speculative fiction is a global phenomenon, but all of the important stuff are happening in English. Dealing with this topic, as a news editor, I followed the news in English and provided the news in Hungarian to the readers of mSF. But this was a one way road. In this blog I am mostly planning to write about the new releases in US and UK in English, while I also feel the need to talk to you about good Hungarian speculative books in English, because nobody else seems to be doing that. I want to channel what is happening in this tiny part of Central European fandom.

I have been reading in English for exactly a decade now. The first English book I read was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, because I could not wait until the Hungarian translation’s publication in a few months (I bought the translated version as well, of course.) Ever since my fianceé at the time, now my wife, bought me a Kindle from the US in 2012, I have been reading methodically in English, eyeing for the new releases as well as genre classics which were not published in Hungary. (There are a lot of them.) Now, that mSF is gone and I can choose to read what I want, I plan to read even more in English. And to write about them. New releases, and also authors, sub-genres and the topics I have always wanted to examine more profoundly.

I wrote some articles in English in the last few years, aside from the ones mentioned above dealing with the Galaktikagate. Here you can read my article about alternate history in Hungary, in which I have also discussed in my own book, A szivarhajó utolsó útja (Agave Könyvek, 2012). Mike Glyer was kind to publish my status report about Hungarian SFF last year at File 770. This was a summary of thirty articles by Hungarian authors, publishing professionals, fans and bloggers about the topic.

So fasten your seatbelts! I hope it will be a fun ride.


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