Czech monthly sci-fi magazine XB-1, founded in 1985 by newly appointed Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles Jaroslav Olša, Jr. XB-1 celebrates California’s contribution to science fiction with a special issue dedicated to the Sunshine State.
XB-1 (www.casopisxb1.cz, previously known as Ikarie) is the longest-running monthly publication in the Czech Republic devoted to science fiction, fantasy and horror. The magazine recently devoted its December issue to one of the historical centers of American science fiction – the state of California.
A significant part of its 64 pages are dedicated to three short stories from the West Coast. Alongside these works by Robert Silverberg, Kim Stanley Robinson and Gregory Benford, XB-1 also features an article examining California’s global contribution to science fiction, primarily through the medium of film.
The magazine also includes a number of other articles spotlighting the Golden State’s association with the genre. In that vein, XB-1’s cover presents original artwork depicting an alien spacecraft destroying the iconic Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, as featured in the 1996 movie Independence Day – the state flag of California proudly enduring the attack.
The spotlighting of California by XB-1 is far from a flight of fancy. The magazine was founded in 1985 by twenty-year-old science fiction fan Jaroslav Olša, Jr., and was named after the ship in the famous 1963 Czech science fiction film Ikarie XB 1 – also known to US audiences as Voyage to the End of the Universe. Following the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, the fanzine morphed into a professionally published monthly known as Ikarie, renamed after 2010 to XB-1.
The publication of a Californian-themed edition was the brainchild of Jaroslav Olša, Jr. After more than twenty-five years working in the Czech diplomatic corps, serving, for example, as the Czech Ambassador to Zimbabwe, South Korea, and the Philippines, Olša recently assumed a new post, serving as the Czech General Consul in Los Angeles. In the introduction to the December issue, Olša reflects on his relationship to the state of California and to the late Californian sci-fi fan Forrest J. Ackerman. Olša collaborated with Ackerman on various projects over the years, benefiting greatly from the US magazine editor (and science fiction fan No. 1) personal assistance during the earliest years of XB1’s history.
[Based on a press release.]