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Basques in Science Fiction

This annotated bibliography list, a subset derived from the Religion in Literature database, is intended as a resource for literary research. It lists mainstream science fiction novels or short stories which contain references to the Basque people or language. It is not necessarily a comprehensive list of such literature, but all Hugo-, Nebula- and Locus-winning novels have been indexed, as have many other major works. The Basque were the oldest people in Europe, and proud of their heritage. Some said their language came from the Neolithic hunters who first claimed this land from the retreating ice. In a Bilbao museum, Logan had seen replicas of tiny boats Basque sailors used long ago, to hunt whales out on the rude Atlantic. They must have been very brave or suicidal, he thought

- from Earth
by David Brin

Current number of novels, movies and stories in list: 14.

Author Title Approx.
Sample Quote and/or Description
Piers AnthonyBeing a Green Mother. New York: Ballantine (1987) 1987Pg. 35:
This was Basque country. The Pyrenees marched to the water of the Bay of Biscay, and the Basques were on either side of the border between Spain and France, speaking their own language...
Isaac AsimovThe Gods Themselves. Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett Crest (1973; © 1972) 2100Pg. 31:
What of the Basque language? Bronowski wondered. And he used Basque as his guide [to studying Etruscan]. Others had tried this before him and given up. Bronowski did not.

It was hard work, for Basque, an extraordinarily difficult language in itself, was only the loosest of helps. Bronowski found more and more reason, as he went on, to suspect some cultural connection between the inhabitants of early northern Italy and early northern Spain. He could even make out a strong case for a broad swatch of pre-Celts filling western Europe with a language of which Etruscan and Basque were dimly-related survivors. In two thousand years, however, Basque had evolved and had become more than a little contaminated with Spanish. To try, first, to reason out its structure in Roman times and then relate it to Etruscan was an intellectual feat of surpassing difficulty...

David BrinEarth. New York: Bantam (1990) 2038Pg. 80:
The Basque were the oldest people in Europe, and proud of their heritage. Some said their language came from the Neolithic hunters who first claimed this land from the retreating ice. In a Bilbao museum, Logan had seen replicas of tiny boats Basque sailors used long ago, to hunt whales out on the rude Atlantic. They must have been very brave or suicidal, he thought, then and now.
Samuel R. DelanyBabel-17. Boston: Gregg Press (1976; © 1966) 2071Pg. 92 must take fifty discorporate souls to do all the sensory reading for Tarik and its spider-boats--in Basque again...

"Am I glad to see you!" she said. "I didn't know whether Tarik had discorporate facilities!"

"Does it!" Came the Basque response.

Philip K. DickFlow My Tears, the Policeman Said. New York: Doubleday (1974) 1974Pg. 153:
"Felix especially likes Basque cuisine, but they cook with so much butter that it gives him pyloric spasms..."
Philip K. Dick & Roger ZelaznyDeus Irae. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (1976) 2020Pg. 160:
Rain . . . A gray world, a chill world: Idaho. Basque country. Sheep. Jai alai. A language they say the Devil himself could not master . . .
Thomas M. DischOn Wings of Song. New York: St. Martin's Press (1978) 2015Pg. 46:
It was for this reason that Drs. Pole and Williams were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Only gradually, and never in the U.S., was its use extended to so-called "hostage populations" of potentially dissident civilians--the Basques of Spain, Jews in Russia, the Irish in England, and so on.
R. A. Lafferty"Groaning Hinges of the World" in The Ruins of Earth: An Anthology of Stories of the Immediate Future. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons (1971) 1971
Kim Stanley RobinsonThe Gold Coast. New York: Tor (1995; © 1988) 2027Pg. 64:
While he eats his cereal and milk he thinks about Arthur Bastanchury. Good old Basque name, from shepherds who came to OC when James Irvine used his land to raise sheep. Arthur still looks a little Basque: dark complexion, light eyes, square jaw. And they have a good long tradition of active resistance back home in Spain. Not to mention terrorism. Jim doesn't want to have anything to do with terrorism. But if there's something else that can be done--some other way...
At least one of the characters has Basque heritage. But Basques aren't mentioned by name elsewhere.
Robert SilverbergDying Inside. New York: Ballantine (1976; © 1972) 1976Pg. 19:
But if I were to get into the depths of her soul I'd have complete comprehension of anything I picked up. The mind may think in Spanish or Basque or Hungarian or Finnish, but the soul thinks in a languageless language accessible to any prying sneaking freak...
Clifford D. Simak"The Grotto of the Dancing Deer" in Immortals (Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, eds.) New York: Ace Books (1998; c. 1980) 1980Pg. 132:
"I told you it is a long story. I'll try to make it short. There's this man--a Basque. He came to me ten years ago when I was doing the rock shelter... He wanted work and I gave him work. He broke in fast, caught onto the techniques immediately. Became a valuable man. That often happens with native laborers. They seem to have a feel for their own antiquity. And then when we started work on the cave he showed up again..."
Pg. 133:
"Tom, you said he is a Basque."

"That's right."

"Isn't there some belief that the Basques may have descended from the Cro-Magnons?"

"There is such a theory. I have thought of it."

"Could this man of yours be a Cro-Magnon?"

"I'm beginning to think he is."

"But think of it--twenty thousand years!"

"Yes, I know," said Boyd.

[Other references.]
Dan SimmonsThe Crook Factory. New York: Avon Books (1999) 1943Frontispiece: Lengthy passage from Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, by Carlos Baker. Pg. v:
Ernest immediately assembled a crew of eight from among his most trusted confederates... The others were all non-Americans: Juan Dunabeitia, a tall, thin, merry-eyed Basque who knew the sea so well that he was called Sinbad the Sailor...
Pg. 87:
"Hell, no. The best thing here is the twenty-five-cent blue-plate special. We'll go back to the Basque Center for supper. . . . Marty's got friends coming to the finca tonight and it'd be better if we don't get back until later..."

With that our tour of the Crook Factory personnel was essentially over, except for one busboy at the Basque Club whom Hemingway introduced as "our finest . . . and our only . . . courier"...

Pg. 88:
I identified the Ibarlucia brothers as well as half a dozen other jai alai players, several expatriate Basques, Winston Guest, other wealthy athletes...
[Other references. One of novel's main character is Basque.]
S. M. SterlingIsland in the Sea of Time. New York: Penguin (1998) 1250
Pg. 281:
"We've finally figured out something about the Earth Folk language--it's very distantly related to Basque."

"Ah, that's interesting," Cofflin said. "Should we try to find someone who speaks Basque?"

"Very distantly," Doreen said...

[There is a little bit more about the Basque language.]
S. M. Sterling"Introduction" in Drakas! (S. M. Sterling, ed.) New York: Baen (2000) 2000Pg. 2:
There are broad, impersonal forces at work in history; if Christopher Columbus had died as a child--most children did, in his age--someone else would have discovered the Atlantic crossing soon enough. Basque fishermen may well have crossed to Newfoundland before him...

  • Center for Basque Studies mentions: "Linda White presented a paper entitled 'Wildmen, Witches and Wanderlust: No Basque Science Fiction?' at the Science Fiction Research Association Conference held in Reno, Nevada June 17-20, 1993."
Page created 21 September 2000. Last modified 15 April 2005.
Research supported by East Haven University.
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