Levent Şenyürek (1975-)

Turkish science-fiction author Levent Şenyürek is a systems & control engineer who has worked in various fields like automation, sales support, product development and training simulators.

His first book of short stories, Çıldırtan Kitap (2007, Çitlembik) was also published in English with the title The Book of Madness (2009, Çitlembik) and has gained international attention. His first novel Alacagöl Efsanesi (The Legend of the Alaca Lake, 2008, Çitlembik) was recognized as one of the most noteworthy books of the year in Turkey. Şenyürek’s second novel, Cennetin Kalıntıları (Paradise in Ruins, 2011, Citlembik) was included in the “Best 100 Novels of the Year” list published by the Sabitfikir literary magazine.

Both Cennetin Kalıntıları and Şenyürek’s latest novel İsa’yı Beklemek (Waiting for Jesus, 2013, Çitlembik) were listed as finalists in the Gio Awards organized by FABİSAD (Fantasy and Science Fiction Arts Association) in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Çıldırtan Kitap (The Book Of Madness) (2007)

This reply had thrown the old healer. It contained a cynicism unexpected of party officials. Pulling out one of the stools by the table, he sat down, and leaning on the table, asked, “Why? I didn’t know Comrade Stalin cared for such things.”

It’s not curiosity,” replied Boris, “To be honest, personally I don’t believe you, but I have to follow orders.”

What are these orders then?”

We’ve been ordered to gather everyone in Russia with extraordinary powers.”

The old man laughed.

Why? Are you going to send us all to concentration camps?…”

Parascience had remained outside the Party policy up to now, but the force we’re now facing compels us to try it.”

The healer grumbled, his smile unbroken, “So Germany got that powerful then?”

Germany is powerful enough, but our enemy is not of this world!”

Sf is often set elsewhere than in its writer’s homeland and time, so the fact that stories in this Turkish newcomer’s first collection play out in Stalinist Siberia, ancient Persia, and Puerto Rico in 1493 and 1974 isn’t surprising. Nor, given the phenomenal spread of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, is the title story’s invocation of the Necronomicon, the unholy bible of Lovecraft’s universe. What’s impressive about these entirely this-world, mostly this-time tales is their mainstream feel, more like Bradbury’s and Vonnegut’s mid-twentieth-century work than most current sf hands essay. Every one of them could have run in the same venues (Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, etc.) and been adapted comfortably for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, let alone The Twilight Zone. Sound old hat? They are, thematically, being mostly drily paranoiac alien-invasion and apocalypse-mongering affairs, some of which employ pulpmeister Jim Thompson’s jape of killing the narrator at the end (in the postapocalyptic “The Last Battle,” a page before the end). Despite idiomatic glitches in the translation (e.g., “a large applause” rather than “a big hand”), excellent, intelligent entertainment.” Ray Olson

Cennetin Kalıntıları (Paradise in Ruins) (2011)

Each city…” answered Cheshminaz, “has been restored to its grandest time in history.”

Hurriedly swallowing the humus with pastrami in my mouth, “Are you serious?” I asked. “That’s lovely!”

Sitting on my right, Kasım intervened, “Actually, not only have the cities been restored to their past grandeur, but they’re also as they figured in the imagination… In the West, the Greek Islands are re-living their mythology for example… Mount Olympus now hosts all the pagan Gods. One day we can climb up and see. The port is full of ships that sail off to the seven seas. But one must be careful! Each island has a different story; along with its delights, there lurks various dangers as well. Monsters, humans with animal bodies, animals with human bodies, and also evil, enslaved demi-gods. Nice, eh?”

Yeah, nice,” I murmured.

Alacagöl Efsanesi (The Legend Of The Alaca Lake)

Run, I said, Osman!” he cried; “Something is coming towards you! Run! Tell everyone, run up to the hill! That’s an order!”

Gendarmerie lieutenant Haluk Günay is ordered to investigate mysterious deaths in a small lake village. During his investigation, unexplained deaths continue in the tense athmosphere of southeastern Turkey in 1992 and the victims are just added to the casualties of war.

İsa’yı Beklemek (Waiting for Jesus) (2013)

The application was not programmed for responding to extraordinary findings. Such an outcome was not even imagined before. So, a miracle was occuring silently in front of them.

Mutation number is too low,” said Melike, fascinated by what she was witnessing. “Where did you come from?”

While analysing DNA samples sent from all around the World, two research assistants encounter a DNA which in fact must belong to the Antiquity.

Saklı Cehennem (Hidden Hell) 

In a few seconds, the sphere cabin was brightened and Mavi found herself in a 20th Century Istanbul house. In front of her, author Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar –this was written on his virtual label– was sitting on a big, wooden armchair in a light gray suit in harmony with his sparse hair. There was a cigarette in his left hand covering him in smoke. Tanpınar smiled cynically with his sad, childish eyes. “In a place where even only one man suffers,” he said in a convincing tone. “There is enough word to tell to anybody.”

Mavi Elmas, a citizen of Hope City which appears to be a post-apocalyptic utopia, decides to travel outside the city and faces the truth about their very existence: Hope City is exploiting a large society of blind people who pedal to generate the electricity it needs.