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Rottensteiner, Franz

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor, Fan.

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(1942-    ) Austrian sf critic, editor and literary agent; he has a PhD from the University of Vienna. He has edited the SF of the World series for Insel Verlag, the Fantastic Novels series for Paul Zsolnay Verlag, and the Fantastic Library series – now over 250 volumes – for Suhrkamp Verlag. He writes in English as well as in German, his critical articles having appeared in Science Fiction Studies and elsewhere. He is particularly well known for his spirited promotion of the work of Stanisław Lem, for whom he long served as literary agent, and for the contempt he has often expressed for much Genre SF. His criticism is intelligent, polemical and left-wing, and best expressed in fairly academic formats; his popular illustrated history of sf, The Science Fiction Book: An Illustrated History (1975), is generally felt to be sketchy. In the same vein, but perhaps better, is The Fantasy Book: The Ghostly, the Gothic, the Magical, the Unreal (1978; vt The Fantasy Book: An Illustrated History from Dracula to Tolkien 1978).

In English he is also known for his collection of European sf, View from Another Shore: European Science Fiction (anth 1973); for his collection of "literary" fantasies by Jorge Luis Borges and others, The Slaying of the Dragon: Modern Tales of the Playful Imagination (anth 1984); and for Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction (coll 1984) by Lem, edited and introduced by Rottensteiner. Many of his critical writings in German first appeared in his own high-quality Fanzine, Quarber Merkur, from which the book Quarber Merkur (anth 1979) was collected. Two books of essays edited by Rottensteiner are Über H.P. Lovecraft ["On H.P. Lovecraft"] (anth 1984), and Die dunkle Seite der Wirklichkeit ["The Dark Side of Reality"] (anth 1987). From 1989 he edited a serial guide in loose-leaf form in binders, which had reached 1250pp by February 1991: "Werkführer durch die utopisch-phantastiche Literatur" ["Work Guide to Utopian and Fantastic Literature"]. More recently he has published two useful fiction anthologies: The Best of Austrian Science Fiction (anth 2001) and The Black Mirror and Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Germany and Austria (anth 2008).

In German he has edited many anthologies of stories and essays about sf, including: Die Ratte im Labyrinth ["Rats in the Maze"] (anth 1971); the Polaris series, Polaris 1 (anth 1973), Polaris 2 (anth 1974), a special Soviet sf issue, Polaris 3 (anth 1975), Polaris 4 (anth 1978), a French sf issue, Polaris 5 (anth 1981), Polaris 6 (anth 1982), a Herbert W Franke issue, Polaris 7 (anth 1983), Polaris 8 (anth 1985), Polaris 9 (anth 1985), old German sf, and Polaris 10 (anth 1986), an Strugatski issue; Phantastiche Träume ["Fantastic Dreams"] (anth 1983); Phantastiche Welten ["Fantastic Worlds"] (anth 1984); Phantastiche Aussichten ["Fantastic Sights"] (anth 1985); Phantastiche Zeiten ["Fantastic Times"] (anth 1986); Lovecraft Lesebuch ["Lovecraft Reader"] (anth 1987); Seltsame Labyrinthe ["Strange Labyrinths"] (anth 1987); Der Eingang ins Paradies ["The Door into Paradise"] (anth 1988); Arche Noah ["Noah's Ark"] (anth 1989); Die Sirene ["The Siren"] (anth 1990); Phantastiche Begegnungen ["Fantastic Encounters"] (anth 1990). [PN/DRL]

see also: Critical and Historical Works About SF; Germany.

Franz Rottensteiner

born Waidmannsfeld, Austria: 18 January 1942

works (in English only)

works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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