Jeschke, Wolfgang

Tagged: Author

(1936-2015) Czech-born editor and writer, in Germany after 1945; winner of the 1987 Harrison Award for achievements in international sf. He began to publish sf with "Die Anderen" ["The Others"] in 1959, but first became strongly involved with the genre in 1969 when, while working as co-editor of Kinders Literaturlexikon he edited as a freelancer the Science Fiction fur Kenner ["Science Fiction for Connoisseurs"] series for Lichtenberg Verlag. In 1973 he took over Heyne Verlag's sf publishing line, a job he retained until his semi-retirement in 2002; and in which he was responsible for introducing many important works to the German market. He also edited more than 100 anthologies, from 1970 on, many containing material translated from the English. From 1986 for Heyne Verlag, he edited Das Science-Fiction Jahr, an extremely large anthology of fiction and nonfiction; after his partial retirement in 2003 until the series was transferred to another house in 2014, his co-editor was Sascha Mamczak (1970-    ). (This anthology series is not listed below, nor are any other anthologies published by Jeschke in German only.)

Jeschke's first novel was Der Letzte Tag der Schöpfung ["The Last Day of Creation"] (1981; trans Gertrud Mander as The Last Day of Creation 1982 UK), in which an American group uses Time Travel to acquire Middle Eastern oil, evading the problems posed by modern-day local governments; Time Paradoxes – as they do often in his work – ensue. Midas oder Die Auferstehung des Fleisches ["Midas; Or, the Rising of the Flesh"] (1987; trans Sally Schiller as Midas 1990) is set on a Near-Future Earth which has suffered severe Ecological damage; a primitive Matter Duplication technique has been discovered, but the copies of humans thus produced are crude and cannot live longer than a few months. Also set in a Near Future Earth wracked by Climate Change, Das Cusanus-Spiel oder Ein abendländisches Kaleidoskop ["The Cusanus Game; Or, an Occidental Kaleidoscope"] (2005; trans Ross Benjamin as The Cusanus Game 2013) postulates in great detail a form of Time Travel which might enable trained operatives to return to the fifteenth century in order to bring back genetically undamaged flora to restore fertility to the ravaged twenty-first century world; more intrusive uses of the procedure, including an attempt to persuade Nikolaus Cusanus (1401-1464) to begin to create a different future through the establishment of a scientific academy, prove helpless against the self-correcting temporal braid comprised of the many Alternate Worlds that make up the Multiverse. Jeschke's writing is humanist in orientation and strongly (on occasion overbearingly) ironic in tone, but is sometimes betrayed by a certain lack of subtlety and originality. [NT/JC]

see also: Clones; Germany; Power Sources.

Wolfgang Jeschke

born Tetschen [now Děčín], Czechoslovakia [now Czech Republic]: 19 November 1936

died Munich, Germany: 10 June 2015

works (selected)

  • Der Letzte Tag der Schöpfung ["The Last Day of Creation"] (Munich, Germany: Nymphenburger, 1981) [hb/R Susanne Berner]
  • Osiris Land ["Land of Osiris"] (Dusseldorf, Germany: Fantasy Productions, 1986) [chap: first appeared Arcane (anth 1982) edited by Wolfgang Jeschke and Helmut Wensk: illus/hb/Jörg Remé]
    • "The Land of Osiris" (March 1985 Asimov's) [trans by Sally Schiller of the above: mag/]
  • Midas oder Die Auferstehung des Fleisches ["Midas; Or, the Rising of the Flesh"] (Munich: Germany: Fantasy Productions, 1989) [pb/Klaus Holitzka]
    • Midas (London: New English Library, 1990) [trans by Sally Schiller of the above: pb/]
  • Das Cusanus-Spiel oder Ein abendländisches Kaleidoskop ["The Cusanus Game; Or, an Occidental Kaleidoscope"] (Munich, Germany: Droemer Verlag, 2005) [hb/FinePic]
    • The Cusanus Game (New York: Tor, 2013) [trans by Ross Benjamin of the above: hb/uncredited]

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