Science Fiction in Belgrade in the 1920s: A Possible Contribution to the Development of Metropolitan Belgrade
Historian Jovana Babović claims that post-World War I Belgrade residents embraced different foreign cultural influences in an attempt to become citizens of western type metropolis. Various examples that support her claim were discovered through analysing a specific area of popular culture — science fiction — and enriched with interesting findings about surprisingly fast translations of certain stories, at the very beginning of the establishment of science fiction as an independent genre by Hugo Gernsback, publisher of the world’s first SF magazine Amazing Stories (1926). Several stories from its first issues appeared after only a few months in the Belgrade magazine Reč i slika [Words and Images], with faithful copies by domestic illustrators of original drawings by the leading US genre illustrator of that time, Frank R. Paul.
Despite the relatively small number of translated stories, influence on domestic writers and illustrators of popular fiction was significant. The importance of these stories is reflected in the growing penetration of Serbian popular culture by US influences, which began to gain signifi cance in relation to the hitherto dominant French, German and Russian influences.
Unfortunately, considering that most of the people involved in these activities died during World War II, and that there is no archived documentation, the pathways by which these stories reached readers in Serbia have yet to be uncovered.