The introduction to Zoran Živković's
by Tatsumi Takayuki (巽孝之)
Professor of American Literature, Faculty of Letters, Keio University
English translation by Edward Lipsett
Zoran Živković—I first encountered the unique works of this totally unknown Yugoslavian author about thirty years ago, when I read the translation of his first-contact short story "Project Lyra" (original publication Sirius, Sept. 1979 issue) by Namizu Hiroaki in the April 1982 issue of SF Magazine from Hayakawa Shobō. The whole world was being swept by an unprecedented SF boom following the release of Star Wars in 1977, and SF fans around the world were excited about the possibilities of first contact, especially by Hollywood's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T., for example. Živković's work, an ironical look at how the long-awaited first contact would be lost due to the political infighting of the superpowers (or, if you will, to human intellectual immaturity), with the United States and the Soviet Union at the peak of the Cold War, was quite unusual. American and British SF were generally optimistic, with an alien transmission picked up to lead to first contact, ending either with actual contact or a certainty that it would soon occur.