Generators are Buzzing in the Caves

The following is the conclusion of a special series of posts contributed to us by Montenegran writer and academic, Marija Nenezić. May these posts ignite in you the same thirst for Montenegran science fiction poetry that they have for us.

Part Three: Slobodan Vukanović – Deeper into the Verse

In the last segment of this series, we began to explore the work of Slobodan Vukanović, one of the most prolific and seminal voices in Montenegran science fiction poetry. In this article, we can rub our hands in delight and dig into more of text directly. We read lines from Vukanović’s poems about kindergartners living in Sagitarrius, and now return to Vukanović’s collection of poems titled “Confession of a Robot” in which the poet draws directly from the root meaning of the Czech word which means “forced labor.”

Oppression is a central theme, of both Earthlings and robots. A question is posed:

generators are buzzing in the caves
and prayers
who will overpower whom?

In the cave, an intentional image that hearkens back to the foundations of human civilization, two traditions are now being “surpassed,” the prayer one and the generator one. In the following lines, Vukanović’s use of past-tense tells us that earth no longer exists, at least not as we remember it:

Strange were the times
And she was weird
that planet Earth.

In the song “Palms Give Birth to Snowballs”, Vukanović problematizes nanotechnology but also the ends of technology in general, emphasizing that nanotechnology is the kitchen of another kind of transformation. In this poem, as well as his other poetic offerings, he visits the problems of power and the existence of other worlds:

Being between two worlds
and to have power in the third
is it a convenience
or punishment

Science fiction often asks questions about our idealism and reveals duality. The duality presented to us by Vukanović in “Non-Serious Functioning”, shows that the Earthling is not accurate, even by their standards. When they begin to disassemble the Earthling, to examine his functions, the dependability of the material, he delivers the sad truth: man is a flawed creature:

In Andromeda
they anatomically examine the Earthling
they dismantled it
and when they put it together
it did not work
strange some material
it doesn’t work seriously
concludes the council
and reproduces a new one with the same character
and a new function

The world that Vukanović built in his “Space Migration of Montenegro” has its history, so on Sagittarius, they are educated about the Earth, Earthlings, and all information about them can be found in the encyclopedia Solar System Fifth, volume 11,322. Again inversion, our earthly interest and it is concluded that:

Galileo the Sixteenth
He believes in the existence of living beings
on Earth.

This brief review of Montenegran science fiction poetry has shown poets stepping out of the familiar themes of poetry, processing emotion, and existentialism story, in this case about Earthlings and Sagittarius. The issues that plague homo sapiens also plague the inhabitants of Sagittarius. In the spirit of science fiction, one possible world in a possible future is shown, which is in coexistence with machines and science, even though it is machines that depict the human soul.

Montenegran Science fiction poetry, with, as some researchers say, enclosed signal poetry, was a rebellion against the then “higher” reality which in our area rested on socialist realist texts, patriotic songs dedicated to parties, system, order, but also to those writers who “deserved” “to be sung. The kind of rebellion that wanted to reduce everything to a sign, to computer poetry, to the emptiness and whiteness of paper, uttered a new language and new methods. We can look at science fiction poetry and scientific/signal poetry as two opposed directions in poetry, but their basis is the same.

It is not the creation of poetry for “new generations” who may not understand tradition: poetry uses a melody and language that is deep within us. It’s not a creation for another group of people who simply refuse to read the beaten tradition, it’s a need, a social need for change. In this case, when we talk about this poetry from the middle of the XX century, we can claim that it is a new direction, but if we look at all the elements, we will see that signalism / scientism is not only part of science fiction poetry but its continuation. So, it is a kind of coexistence. And that science fiction poetry is not a “novelty” of the modern age, Adam Roberts introduced us in his “History of Science Fiction”, through which he presents some of the writers, poets, and scientists who wrote science fiction poetry…

The thematic occupation of science fiction poetry is, as the name suggests – science. The poetry of science, as it is often called, uses scientific terms (scientific jargon), around which it builds a metaphor, and poetically represents that other world, another reality.


This has been Marija Nenezić’s Introduction to Montenegran Science Fiction poetry. Thank you for reading.

THE SPECk and the SFPA would like to thank Marija Nenezić for her contribution to our field. We look forward to much more in the future as she opens doors to new worlds in former Yugoslavia. This work was written by Marija Nenezić and edited for format.

Marija Nenezić is a professor of Serbian Language and South-East Literature. She holds a degree in Children’s & YA Literature with a focus on oral fairy tales. She is currently working on her Masters thesis on Harry Potter. She is the founder and editor at Zlatna Gora publishing and an editor, critic, and lecturer at the Association of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


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