Today I’ll review a Polish book that is a mix of science fiction and urban fantasy with vampires. It’s really good, but unfortunately in Polish only. The books is read for the following challenges: Polacy nie gęsi II, A to Z 2014 World Books (January) and The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience.
Ladies and Gentlemen, “Dzieci Nocy” by Witold Jabłoński.
Dzieci Nocy – Witold Jabłoński
Language: Polish (no English translation)
Published: 2001 by superNowa
About the author
Witold Jabłoński was born in Łódź in 1957. A journalist, a Russian literature translator, a writer. In the past also a civil worker.
About the book
25th century, vampires are ruling over the world. The world is genetically divided into those crawling the night, and those living during the day. Those who walk in between those two worlds (called szaraki – greys) are slowly dying out. One of the vampire VIPs from Russia is looking for his daughter, lost somewhere in Poland. He hires Azimow, Russian private eye (and one of the greys) and tells him to go to Poland… after (illegally) making him a vampire. There Azimow gets involved in assassination scheme on the Pope John Paul VIII.
Tho it might be also viewed as urban fantasy, this is definitely science fiction. Bit mixed, but science fiction. And political fiction.
– Może się mylę – mówiła z namysłem Selene. – Może nie strach, tylko nie dokończony jeszcze proces duchowego dojrzewania. Jest jak dziki owies. Wciąż sieje i trwoni energię na prawo i lewo. Czuję, że jeszcze do niedawna byłeś kimś innym, dlatego wciąż do nas nie pasujesz. Idziesz własną drogą, pragniesz robić coś niezwykłego, niewyobrażalnego nawet dla nas. Nie zawsze jednak trzeba postępować niezwykle – ciągnęła w dziwnym natchnieniu. – Nawet mniej ważne działanie stanowi cząstkę postępu…
– Maybe I’m wrong – said thoughtfully Selene. – Maybe it’s not fear, but still uncompleted process of spiritual growth. He’s like wild oat. Still sow and waste energy around. I feel, until recently you’ve been somebody else, that’s why you still don’t fit in with us. You follow your own path, wanting to do something unusual, unimaginable even for us. You don’t need always to act unusually – she continued in a strange inspiration. – Even less important action is a part of progress.
This is a fast-paced book. Maybe too fast paced. And too short. I was disappointed that it ended so soon. I There is obviously happy ending. Everything ends well easily. Kinda disappointing.
The value of this book lies somewhere else. The political fiction (world of the future) and changes of powers in the world. The usage of (mainly) European cultural references in interesting and unusual ways. Pope John Paul VIII’s real name is Dracula Ionescu, and he’s from Transilvania. And he’s a vampire. There is Boruta Twardowski, Hekate, Selene, Rockefeller Sacharow and other characters whose names should ring a bell for Polish readers. The song with verses “jak dobrze wstać skoro świt” (how good to get up at daybreak) which should be very well known among Polish, is made an ancient hymn of people living under the sun.
Why I wrote about Polish readers? Because it’s packed with references to Polish culture and history. And Russian’s, but being neighbours and sharing history is enough to get those references. Boruta, Twardowski, references to Rome, Moon and a mirror are just simple references to Polish culture. References, which English readers wouldn’t get. Maybe unless explaining all the references beforehand and then reading a book. Still, I think it’d be something different from getting a song you know well, heard a lot of times, used in new context and with new meaning.
I applaud the world creation. This is something that can outweigh all the defects. I’ll read that in the future again.
If somebody has something against homo-, bisexuals, I advise not reading this book.
My opinion: 7.5/10
Did you read “Dzieci Nocy”? What’s your opinion of it?